I believe in God.
While it would be impossible for me to attempt to share all that I believe in this post, almost every belief that I hold stems from this primary belief: I believe that there is a higher power whom I refer to as God. For me, this is not simply one belief among many. No, this is the foundational belief on which I base my entire life.
Remember, I am not attempting to convince the reader that my beliefs are valid. I am merely explaining what I believe.
When I say that I believe in God, that does not mean metaphorically speaking or wishfully speaking. No, I believe in a literal higher power who set the universe in motion and interacts with humankind in many ways — though not in a controlling way. Yet, I believe God is so much more than the unmoved mover.
Let me explain, as fully yet briefly as possible.
I believe that God is love. Love is the very nature and essence of who God is; there is nothing in God that is contrary to love. From birth, God lovingly pursues every individual because He desires relationship with every person. Because God desires to love and be loved by people, He does not manipulate or control individuals to do His bidding. Rather, people can willingly choose to reject God (this does not mean that God’s love stops pursuing).
I believe that sin occurs when individuals act in ways that hinder relationship with others or with God. Sins are not arbitrary laws set up by God because He wants to control us; rather, they are actions that are inherently harmful to us (whether we realize the consequences of such actions or not). Much of the pain and suffering in this world is the result of the sins of individuals.
Sin has a way of entrapping us in death. I am not speaking here of some future Hell — I am speaking of a very real and present death. An individual who is “living in sin” may appear to be alive but is in reality dead and in complete bondage to self-destructive lifestyle’s and addictions.
A man who has allowed his drinking to turn to alcoholism that has in turn caused him to lose his family is, in many ways, dead.
Others find themselves entrapped due to the sins of others and due to no fault of their own. Because of this, some sins are significantly worse than others. While many actions can be labeled as sinful, there are some that are so damaging that they bring death to others.
A woman who can no longer step outside of her home because of the man that raped her is, in many ways, dead.
Yet, I believe in grace and the freedom that it brings.
We experience grace and freedom through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The interesting thing about Jesus is that He is fully God and fully human — He is God incarnate in human flesh. We cannot turn to God and accuse Him of not understanding what the human experience is. God has experienced the human experience first hand. He knows what it is like to be tempted. He knows what it is like to be abandoned. He knows what it is like to be godforsaken. He knows what it is like to feel pain (emotional and physical). He knows what it is like to die.
Yet, He conquered each of those things and lives today — Jesus is alive! We know that our painful circumstances do not have to define us, we know that death does not have to hold us — because God is greater than those things! We can be freed from bondage because Jesus is alive!
Because God is love, He does not desire to send those entrapped in suffering to some place of eternal punishment but rather desires to free such individuals through His grace. God’s grace can be understood as the healing that the undeserved presence of God brings. There is no place that one can go to escape His grace. When I allow God into my life, I am “saved” because I am no longer enslaved to my own sinful desires and I can live differently — I can be truly free.
God can change who I am.
Because I know that sin, suffering, and death cannot hold or define me, I am capable of living a life of radical love that cannot be accomplished without God’s grace. I can be a different person who can love in ways before unknown! I can love my enemy. I can lay down the sword because I do not fear for my own self preservation. I can be transparent, vulnerable, and broken because I am a part of a body of people (the Church) who will love me the way that God does. I can find joy in my sorrow because I know that the creator of the universe is suffering beside me. I can have hope when life is hopeless because I know that I will live eternally with my savior.
God can bring the love and freedom that we are all starving for.
So, yes, I believe in God. And because of this, I believe that there is hope for the hopeless. I believe that there is redemption for the broken. I believe that there is life for the dead. I believe that there is peace for the restless. I believe that there is God for the godforsaken.
That’s what I mean when I say that I believe in God.
An Apology began with “Introduction” and “Apologizing” and will continue next week with “What I Don’t Believe” followed by “Why I believe”, “Why I don’t believe”, and “Conclusion: Why I Still Believe”.