Saturday, June 11, 2016

When You No Longer Experience God...

"Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."
The Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis

In case you are not familiar with The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, the important thing to note is that CS Lewis was writing from the view of a demon working for Satan. When you read the above quote you have to switch sides around, in order to truly understand. The "our" is referring to the demonic forces and the "Enemy" is referring to God. 

In our early Christian years there are often moments in which we truly experience God. Moments in which we feel His presence and we see him in everything around us. However as we continue with God we come to a point in which that experience doesn't seem as real. In the beginning, we follow God because we desire to, because there is truly nothing that we want more than to do His will, but there comes a time in which that desire is less prevalent. 

It is in these times that our true nature is revealed and our true power is possible!

When we come to those points where God seems far and we still follow Him, we still look for His will, these are the moments where we can solidify our relationship with Him. These are the moments where we can do the most damage against the enemy's kingdom! 

There is nothing more powerful on this Earth than when a Christian, who does not feel like following God, who even finds him or herself doubting God's very existence at times, makes the choice to seek after His will anyway!

CS Lewis's quote inspired me to write this but I write it from my own experience. I have been in that place the last year or so, and off and on for the last few years. When I was in school I was the student who was always praying for God's calling in my life. I had many times in which I truly experienced God in my life. I had many services in which I experienced being "drunk" in the Spirit and times in which God spoke to me. I remember hearing teacher's talk about what to do when God is silent, or why God is sometimes silent and I never truly understood what they were talking about because since I was twelve years old I heard Him speak to me fairly regularly. I even remember talking to Him when I was as young as six. 

These last few years I have learned why so many teachers talked about this topic. I have had long periods of time in which I felt like God was nowhere to be found. There were even times where I secretly asked myself why I was still following Him, why was I still looking for His will? Then something would happen, something small but just enough to show me that He is still there. Something that would show me that He is still watching out for me and my family. Something just enough to keep me going. 

Now I feel that I am slowly getting out of this cycle. I am finding that I am able to experience Him more often, I am able to find that desire again and be more sure about His presence, but it has been a long uphill battle to get here. I have written before about passing through the storm and Jesus' promise that we are going to "the other side". 

If you feel you are going through the storm now and you find yourself in a place in which you no longer experience God's presence know that you will get to the other side!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Do You Believe?

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?
John 11:25-26

In January I started school again and I am now about to complete my second semester since then. In two semesters I have had the opportunity to take courses in Biology, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Astronomy. In each of these courses there have been descriptions of ideas and theories perpetuated by science which I have always heard downgraded and discarded in church as being against the Bible. These are ideas of the Big Bang, Macroevolution, the universe being billions of years old, as well as others. In the face of these "scientific" ideas I have been forced to rethink some of what I have been taught and reconsider my understanding about the Creation, the existence of God, and more specifically the evidence that I have for and against these things. More specifically I had to rethink: 

How can I present the idea of God in a convincing manner to unbelievers?

Often we hear about scientists who attempt to prove God through science or attempting to disprove theories like the Big Bang or evolution. The famous philosopher Rene Descartes attempted to prove rationally the existence of God but was criticized by other philosophers for "circular thinking". With full recognition that I have only taken introductory courses I have come to one conclusion that I wish both sides would admit:

We will never, on this Earth, be able to scientifically or rationally prove how the world came to be, how humans came to be, or the existence of God.

The biggest thing I have learned in my Astronomy class especially is that no matter how much scientists attempt to use known science to predict how something will be, we will never know how it is until we can observe it directly. Over and over again there were statements in my textbook stating something similar too, "According to everything scientists knew about [some planet, moon, etc.] they would predicted it would be this way but when we flew a probe by it we found out it was completely different" In other words, regardless of how advanced our science is it has been proven over and over again that we have to observe it directly to truly know how something is or how it happened. The only way to know how the world came to be is to get a time machine and go back and observe the beginning of the world. The only way to know how the first humans came to be is to go back and see the first human coming to be. The only way to know God exists is experience God on a personal level.

Even with all of this I can say more confidently than ever:

There is a God!

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is God!

Jesus died for your sins and rose again to conquer death, hell, and the grave!

How can I be confident about these statements? Because I have experienced God on a personal level, I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and I have experienced the evidence of the victory that came from his death and resurrection. 

I will never be able to convince you that God is real. I will never be able to show you enough proof to believe that He created the world and formed humans by His own hand. I will never be able to show the evidence of Jesus's death and resurrection. 

All I can do is attempt to give you enough hope in His existence that you choose to seek Him with an open heart. 

I pray that you will do that. I pray that you will let go of your skepticism and your bitterness against religion. I pray that you will take some time now to take a break from your busy life and seek God with an open heart. Forget about scientific proof and socially acceptable theories and take a moment to truly consider for yourself and yourself alone:

Do you believe this?