Do you believe? I do. Or at least I am trying to.
I nearly lost my faith almost ten years ago and I have been rediscovering what it means to believe in Jesus since then. Back then before I nearly lost my faith, I had been a follower of Jesus for about five years. I was finishing my undergraduate degree in Bible and I had been to Brazil twice. I was sure God was calling me to live as a foreign missionary and prayed what I believe was a dangerous prayer. My prayer was the surrendering of myself to Jesus and asking God to make me who he wants me to be and lead me where he wants me to go.
Then my first son died in 2002. A year later my younger brother died. And along with their deaths, my faith appeared to have died as well…or so it seemed. It wasn’t that I intellectually stopped believing in God, I just couldn’t reconcile what had happened with the mighty and powerful God I believed in. So my faith seemed torn to pieces…pieces I wasn’t sure could be repaired at the time.
As I said, intellectually I never stopped believing. Although there is a mighty wide gulf between intellectual belief and living faith. Nevertheless, the basic story of the gospel still offered a better alternative than a story in which their is no resurrection, no hope for new life, no salvation from the sin and darkness of this life…including my own life. Eventually God spoke into my life in a way that allowed a new faith to begin emerging (you can read about that moment here). Looking back, I can see that even in my darkest hour that God was there with me suffering and hoping.
♱ Believe ♱ Follow ♱
Since that time God has been restoring my faith. I have had my moments where I have raised my objections to God but… By the grace of God, I want to believe and I do. I believe in God the Father, Son, and Spirit. I believe as the Apostle’s Creed professes. I believe Jesus and want to follow him, living in the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised for all believers. I want to live as a sold out living witness to Jesus and his kingdom, living as he teaches — loving God, loving my neighbors, and even loving my enemies — knowing that I have eternal life in him and have nothing to fear…not even death. I want to live as a believer and follower of my Lord, Jesus Christ!
I hope you do too. It’s not easy. It never has been and never will be. But together we are part of a movement that has lived on since Jesus called his first disciples to follow him. So let’s live a courageous and risky life as living witnesses of Jesus, with a reckless abandonment that’s fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit for God’s glory and mission. Let’s be the church Jesus called us to be, passionate and faithful followers gathered together in communities across this world who are attractive enough to invite others into our way of life and faithful enough to challenge them to follow in our way of life…the way of Jesus Christ. Let’s join God in his creative-redemptive work of restoring life, living as that the everlasting kingdom of God!
Do you believe?