Why I Believe

There are times when I wish my faith in God was perfectly box-shaped, with the corners tucked in neatly, and the whole thing tied up with a big, red bow.

There are times I wish I had bite-sized answers for the hard questions.  Answers that make easy sense within the framework of my humanity.  Answers that don’t stretch me too much. 

But it doesn’t work that way.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  And that can get messy.  Young mothers get sick.  Husbands leave.  Terrorists fly planes into buildings.  I follow a God who has promised me peace and comfort and joy, but on His terms, not mine. 

And I know–I really do know–that this is a tough thing for some people to swallow.  From the outside looking in, it looks like a blind faith, or a crutch.  I’ve traveled that road of skepticism more times than I can count.  I wrestled until my soul was bruised.  There were times, when I was younger, that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to believe again. 

But I do believe now.  I do, with all my heart.  Even when it’s messy.  But how?  How can I follow a God who doesn’t always stop suffering? 

I don’t have a theologian’s answer to that question, because I’m not a theologian.  There was I time when I needed that kind of answer–the facts, the explanations, the persuasion.  I’ve heard them all, and those answers are all an important part of my faith journey.

Now, all I really need to see is His track record in my life.  I believe because I’ve seen what He’s done, in my own life–my peace in the storms, my journeys out of the wildnerness.  I don’t doubt His goodness, simply because He’s proven it to me so many times, through my own circumstances, through Scripture, and most of all, on the cross.

My daughter hates it when I make her hold my hand to cross a parking lot.  She hates it when I have to tug a little to get the tangles out of her hair.  She hates it when I say "no" to snacks right before dinner. 

I do all this because I see the big picture.  She doesn’t.

Yet in all of this, she still loves me and prefers me.  Why?  Because she knows that the same momma who says "no" to snacks is the same momma who makes sure she’s always well-fed.  The same momma who grabs her hand in the parking lot is the same momma who kisses her scraped-up knee.  I have a track record of proving my love for her.  When I do something that makes her angry, she ultimately accepts it as coming from the hand of a mother who always acts with her best interests at heart. 

Is that too simple an analogy?  Maybe.  But faith is simple.  It’s taking a leap and suspending disbelief just long enough to see if God is who He says He is.  If He is, He can handle the tough questions.  If He is, He’ll meet us on our journey, taking a thousand steps toward us when we take just one toward Him.

From the bottom of my heart, I’ll tell you–He’s worth the risk.

add to sk*rt

123 thoughts on “Why I Believe

  1. diana says:

    this is beautifully written. faith is such a hard thing for outsiders to understand, and yet, for a believer, it’s very simple. thank you and i pray this touches many hearts.

  2. Michelle says:

    He IS worth the risk! And, like you, it’s His track record in my life that convinces me more each day that no one should live without knowing Him. Thanks for a gorgeous post!

  3. Mercy says:

    Yes! He IS. And, I loved the way you expressed it. That was an excellent example for WHY. Why do we trust God when He doesn’t seem to be doing us any good – Because He knows better than we do. Why do we believe in Him, because He has shown Himself to us in so many ways.
    Thank you for your testimony.
    ~Mercy~

  4. Mary says:

    Thank you for stating this so simply. My husband is an information seeker. He must have all the facts, scripture references to document his beliefs. I on the other hand place all my faith in God “just because”. He’s there and He’s in control. He listens when I call out to Him and He loves me because I am His child. That’s enough for me.

  5. Niki says:

    I too, find assurance in my faith, not by looking ahead, but by looking back at my life. While in the present,especially during trying times, He can be hard to find sometimes, but looking back His Hand, His Love, His Mastery is so evident, so obvious, I must ask myself…How did I miss it…How did I miss Him??? And in that knowledge, I know He Is There as I look ahead into the future.
    Blessings Shannon for wording this so well.

  6. Melissa says:

    Wow! Well-said…and exactly what I needed to explain why I believe to a 17 year-old who is questioning everything.

  7. Activities Coordinator for The Planet says:

    When you are sitting in a room with medical professionals, receiving a life altering diagnosis regarding your two year old child, your faith (the deep down stuff) can take a beating. Yet I believe. Now, six years later, my child is so way beyond all predicitions made for him by those well meaning professionals. I do not know that he has done what was not expected of him because of my beliefs. I know, however, that God gave me a acceptance of my child that enabled me to keep going for him when my child needed me to keep going. He gave me a peace that enabled me to have the patience to be a good parent to this child when I could have been overwhelmed.
    Someone asked me not long after we received the diagnosis, “Why aren’t you crying?”
    My answer, “It’s all gonna be all right. God is good,” would still be the same today. As I watch my little buddy reading on grade level, whizzing through math problems and interacting with his friends in scouts I know that God IS good. He stayed with me when I doubted much in the same way I cared for my kiddo on the days when he tried me in everyway he knew how. On those tough days (and long nights) God whispered in my ear, “It’s gonna be all right.” Go figure, he was right.

  8. Princess Leia says:

    Another good book on the subject is C.S. Lewis’ “The Problem of Pain.” Basic premise: how can a good God allow bad things to happen?
    Thanks for sharing your heart!

  9. Susanne says:

    Beautiful. It’s amazing to look back on our lives and see that even when God didn’t answer every prayer the way we thought He should, He was still there working things out for good. He’s a truly amazing God. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  10. Heather says:

    This is a wonderful post. I heard something this weekend at a retreat that said that Adversity is telling. It shows us what we have built our lives on…a firm foundation or sand. So many times God uses those things we find extremely difficult to build us up and make us stronger even when we don’t see it. Thanks for this beautifully written post. I hope it touches many people.

  11. Jean Stockdale says:

    Outstanding post! God is faithful and He is good. He is carefully working all things together for our good and His glory. Thanks for the great illustration and good word! Blessings.

  12. Lynnae @ From Under the Clutter says:

    Well said.
    One thing that helps me with my faith when things seem to be terribly wrong in my life is to remember that God’s ultimate purpose for me is not to make me comfortable. It’s to draw me closer to Him and increase my faith. I wish I could say my faith grows the most in the good times, but it’s usually the bad times that stretch me and ultimately make me rely on God more.

  13. Melanie says:

    If we only have the faith of a child…
    Faith really is simple. We make it so complicated. God, in His Wisdom and Grace, made it simple for us to understand. Praying this post will touch a doubting heart today. :>)
    Thanks, Shannon.

  14. SingForHim @ Real Life says:

    Beautifully shared, Shannon! This is why I believe as well. God has been so good to me, even when I resented His teaching. I think it’s important for us to record what God does, so that we will have something to look back on when our faith wavers. One reason I love blogging.

  15. Kasi @ ReynoldsRap says:

    WOW, I’ve had FAITH on the brain the past few weeks. My DH wasn’t raised in a church. As a child the only time he went to church was when it was his Dad’s weekend, and then, it was only his Step-Mom that took him. He doesn’t understand FAITH. That makes for a rough marriage.

  16. peppylady says:

    I find this quite interesting writing and you put in a lot of thought to it. But I’m coming in at a different view of things and I hope you don’t mind.
    Some says it important to have an individual loving relationship with “God” in my own words he/she made us all different so are relationship would be unique and loving..
    But I found out there some out in world who may have a different relationship with god/dess then what they may have it wrong.
    Sure at time I wonder why my life goes as it goes and may faith does wonder at times.
    At later time when I have more time…I may write in more detail about individual faith and a personal relationship with the almighty.

  17. rebekah says:

    That is right along the lines of what I posted yesterday. If you read the post, I am refering to closer to the bottom. God doesnt let bad things happen any more than I let bad things happen to my own children. But He will be there to support me just like I will be there to care for my kids
    Very good post

  18. Sandy Feekes says:

    How wonderful. I am convinced this is because of how God changes us! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
    II Cor. 5:17
    TRAVELING LIGHT

  19. Shalee says:

    Amen. Amen. Amen. And that is why we are to have faith like a child. We just know that he’ll take care of everything, even though we don’t have the big picture.

  20. Tamara says:

    So beautifully written, Shannon. I know I will come back and read this post again and again. Faith is indeed simple; but simple doesn’t mean easy and I think that is what trips me up!. Thank you for your thoughts. They start my week off on the right foot!

  21. Bri says:

    wow what a beautiful post. Thank you for writing this… it was a wonderful way for me to start a Monday morning. So eloquently written. You took what is a complicated subject for some people and reminded them how simple and true God’s love is. I will read it again and again, Beautiful!

  22. April says:

    Just yesterday my pastor equated the walk of a Christian to the walk of Dora (yes, the Exlorer). God will be with you when you go to the Desert and face temptations. Temptasions are of Satan and meant to harm. God will be with you in the Garden when you face Trials. Trials are of God and meant to draw you near. God will be with you at the Cross, when you face Tribulations. You will walk these three spaces just as Christ did, and with HIM, you will arrive at your destination with a jubilant shouting and a “job well done, my Good and Faithful Servant.”

  23. April says:

    Oh yeah – and Romans 8:28.
    And we know that in ALL (not some, not most, but ALL) things, God works for good of those that love him.

  24. Courtney says:

    Thank you Shannon. Very timely.
    “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
    All we do, say and are, all we encounter and struggle against, may it all be for the glory and reknown of Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Amen.

  25. Seized by Hope says:

    Spectacularly brave and invitingly messy. I loved reading the comments from all your readers who also agreed with this humble post about real faith.
    Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts.

  26. dcrmom says:

    Yep. LOL.
    But what I want to know is, how did you make this so succinct? It would have taken me 5,000 words to try to explain what you just did in 500 or less.
    Thanks for taking the time to share this.

  27. Vail says:

    Beautifully put! Putting my faith in Christ has been the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s led to countless blessings, and it’s gotten me out of horrible messes.

  28. Jesse says:

    I think what you said was beautiful.
    But it should also be said that I am Agnostic, and yet I can see the beauty in what you have said….not because I agree with your religion (Christianity is not my path), but because I agree with your SPIRITUAL message.
    I believe in something beyond death, and the “concept” of God. I have experienced moments of such beauty and clarity that, for me, there is no denial that there is. But what keeps me going through the bad times is the idea (in my mind) that God is ALL, and IN all (note I didn’t say we were all gods, I don’t believe that), and present, and so I figure there has to be a reason, a lesson learned, from everything that we perceive as “bad”. Hitler wasn’t born as the Hitler we knew, he BECAME that monster, and yet, had he been killed before he brought his terror to the world, would we have learned the lessons we did? Yes, not everyone learned the lesson – not everyone was meant to – but I feel that it was key that SOME of us learned it and now fear that it will ever happen again. We are the ones who – even if we AREN’T Jews – can also stand and say “never again” because we have taken something away from that moment that leads us to try and preserve the piece of God that resides in us all, because we are all born as children, and all loved (even if not by our parents), and all cherished as part of the whole.
    In the Gospel of Thomas (and yes, I know not all Christians accept it as a Gospel, but if not, it’s still enlightened), it is said that Jesus said that “The kingdom of God is inside you and all around you”. This is what I believe of God. I believe that God transcends our feeble ideas of “good” and “evil”, of “light” and “dark”, that God just IS.
    You don’t have to believe that, it may not be your path. But know that THIS is how I reconcile the bad that may happen and how my own ‘faith’ (if you will) is not challenged.

  29. Suzanne says:

    Um, it appears that you have found at least ONE answer to a deep question that many people struggle with. And you will probably benefit from coming back again and again to read this post….thinking, YES, I need to hear this over and over. Because when God reveals answers to deep questions, stuff comes in and tries to cloud the issue and we need to constantly come back to the answer again and again. At least I DO……thanks for sharing from your heart!!!

  30. Checkers says:

    Beautiful. We just had a Sunday School lesson on Suffering. What, Why, etc. This puts it perfectly. Thank you.

  31. Amy says:

    What a great explanation of faith. Parenthood can teach us so much about God’s love and the ways he ‘parents’ us. Great post. Thanks for the reminder of God’s love and His view of the big picture!!

  32. Kilikina says:

    I always enjoy reading your blog. I love this post. It’s even better than the ones that make me laugh very hard, and make me smile. HE IS WORTH IT!

  33. Jennifer says:

    Shannon,
    What a beautifully written post. It was just what I needed to be reminded of today. We have a Father who is most DEFINITELY worth the risk!
    Thank you for sharing! Have a great week!
    Jennifer

  34. Susie says:

    After talking with a fellow blogger today about a post I wrote 2 days ago, she sent me over here to read yours for inspiration. I’m so glad I did. Just a beautiful post!

  35. Cahleen says:

    Thank you for this post! I love this line:
    “I follow a God who has promised me peace and comfort and joy, but on His terms, not mine.”
    How true, and how easy it is to become angry at God for this. As if my wisdom were equal to his, I often think that my terms are best. Let’s pray that God gives us more faith to trust in His terms.
    Cahleen

  36. groovyoldlady says:

    God is good, ALL the time! How quickly we forget what He has already done for us. The times we start to panic or question are the times we need to start counting those blessings and fall on our knees in amazement.
    Our God is AWESOME!

  37. becky says:

    Shannon, I’ve really been struggling with pregnancy issues recently (gestational diabetes) and shaking my fist at everything and everyone. I know I wasn’t promised a smooth ride, but it’s just been so hard and seemingly so unfair. And then I read your post yesterday. I really, truly needed to hear this. It helped me put things back into perspective. Thank you so much for posting it.

  38. Sharon says:

    I know you’ve got a lot of comments already, but I wanted to tell you that I’m just another somebody that you touched with that post. Thanks so much!

  39. Aj says:

    How beautifully your words are put, how simple and yet effective. Touching right into the heart of me. How difficuilt it sure is to explain God’s love and care to those who do not believe. Even to those who do believe in God but do not have a personal relationship with Him. How sad it makes my heart to think of how much they are missing out on. Thank you for your wonderful words. It sure is a masterpeace from the heart worth sharing. God bless you in all you do.

  40. Kendra says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. My husband and I are going through a difficult time right now. For the first time I am truly relying on Him for strength, and He has been faithful. My husband on the other hand is feeling abandoned. I will print this for him to bolster his faith and remind him that we all waiver sometimes but all it takes is one step toward the Righteous One, and he will carry us for the rest of the journey.

  41. Trina says:

    Personally I could NOT survive otherwise.
    A lesson I did from Lisas online I AM Bible Study probably says it best….
    Quoting me:
    “God promises us in Isaiah 43:2 that “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I WILL be with you.”
    “I have to stand on this promise and KNOW its true. I have to believe it will all my being. There is no room for doubt. I always picture Peter when he’s walking on the water towards Jesus. As Peter looked down and saw the scary waves he began to doubt and what did he do? He started to sink.
    I can NOT afford to look down at the waves lest I sink and surely drown. I MUST keep my eyes focused on Jesus. It’s the only way I’ve been able to continue putting one foot in front of the other.”
    I often wonder how I’ve managed to continue on all these years. 14 years to be exact. It doesn’t take long for me to realize that its not I but rather we…..
    Jesus and I
    He is my strength. His grace is sufficient and when I think my feet will not move one more step I just look upward. The SON shines brightly down on me.
    Little Ole’ me…….
    The keeper of this gate.
    YES…His grace is amazing.
    Beautiful post Shannon :0)
    Trina

  42. TaunaLen says:

    Shannon,
    Thank you so very much. This beautiful post brought me to tears. It speaks exactly what is in my heart of hearts where my faith is concerned. I watch my twenty year old daughter struggling with her own faith. A faith she held onto for dear life only a couple of years ago, and my heart breaks. I fear for her, that she will be swayed. I know the promises about raising her in the Way, I pray for her, that she will know the truth for herself, and find what her heart longs for. But my mama-heart breaks as I watch her go through struggles so like the ones I went through at her age. The Gentle Great Shepherd drew me back to the fold. His faithfulness and love rescued me. I know He’s chasing after her, wooing her. I just hope she responds to the truth and doesn’t get distracted in this time of wavering. It’s good to be reminded that I was once where she is. And in my heart, I believe. I just do. It is my response to His track record in my life. Being reminded of that today gives me peace, and I appreciate it more than I can tell you.
    ~TaunaLen

  43. Brenda says:

    This post is so beautiful and well written -I have had the same thoughts, but could never write them so well! Bless you for writing it 🙂

  44. childlife says:

    Found you over at Blog In My Eye’s “God Posts” post from October 7th…
    Beautiful post… you are so right about faith being simple! My favorite definition of faith comes from Max Lucado: “Faith is simply believing God can do something and hoping that He will…” Doesn’t get more simple than that. And yes, He is most definitely worth the risk!

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