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.

This post was originally published on September 24, 2007.

61 thoughts on “Why I Believe

  1. TransitionGirl says:

    AMEN!
    I’ve questioned by faith countless times, it’s a wonder the Lord didn’t just knock me over my head and make me see “the light” each time. Instead, He allowed me to search and question, and boy did I question. I still do. I guess why its called faith, we have to trust, not based on our whim, but on the faithfulness He has shown to us many times.

  2. Emily says:

    I loved it. From a girl who sometimes gets mad at Jesus, but loves her Momma even when she says no. Thank you for a not-too-simplistic-at-all analogy.

  3. Sherri E. says:

    I don’t think it’s too simple at all; it’s just what the Psalmists do time and again: in the midst of suffering, recount the epic story of God’s faithfulness, of God’s kept promises, of God’s proven love.
    Nice post.

  4. Stephanie says:

    That speaks to the heart of faith! My husband and I have had conversations recently along these lines, so your words really resonate with me. What a great way to start a Wednesday… Thank you.

  5. Buzzings of a Queen Bee says:

    Shannon,
    I just read a wonderful book called “Grace Based Parenting” and it speaks to your thoughts above very well. Loving your kids, having a track record of choosing what’s best for them, to help them see how much God loves them too. It has utterly defined how I want to be as a parent, and also reminded me how often I fall short (I guess that’s why I need grace too!). Thanks for such a wonderful post!
    -Carrie

  6. Genny says:

    I love your analogy. What a beautiful way of explaining it. I went out to dinner once with a friend who was struggling with whether or not to believe in God. When she asked me, “but how do you know for sure it’s all TRUE?”, all I could tell her is that I’ve seen His power and love in my own life so much over the years, that there’s no other way I can explain it…I just know. Thank you for the reminder of what God has done in my life. Have a great day. Enjoyed your article at Parenting, by the way.
    Best,
    Genny

  7. Beth says:

    Gracefully said. (Pun entirely intended.) As the mother of a daughter who also hates the no’s and the tangles, this really struck home for me. Thanks!

  8. April says:

    I believe God sends us his messages through others(his words our mouths). You were His words to my ear today and you didn’t even know it and you don’t even know me. With one sentence – ‘I follow a God who has promised me peace and comfort and joy, but on His terms, not mine.’ I follow this same God and I was reminded today by that sentence that he hasn’t forgotten me and he is hearing my prayers for my son. Thank you.

  9. Mrs. H says:

    Beautiful post. Well captured. WE don’t need to know big picture, we just need to know the ONE who knows it.
    “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26: 3-4 (ESV)

  10. Christa @ No End in Site says:

    Thanks for this reminder. I’ve always been amazed at God’s simple plan for salvation. “Really?! That’s all I have to do?” My five-year-old accepted Jesus last night at VBS, so we’re beyond ecstatic around here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Truly Blessed says:

    I just posted something about Psalm 34 on my blog and found this from you.
    Great post, even if its a repeat. Sometimes it takes more than once to learn a simple thing as faith.

  12. MM says:

    Perhaps I am too obtuse. Perhaps I’m too stubborn. Perhaps I just lack what it takes to be a good Christian. But I don’t find faith easy at all. And I have to disagree with the commenter above about you making faith logical. There is absolutely, positively nothing logical about faith to me. It is completely illogical. Believing in something that a human brain has no ability to comprehend? ILLOGICAL!
    And that is where I struggle. Maybe I’m meant to struggle. Perhaps it is just this point and time in my life where I struggle. I don’t know.
    Don’t get me wrong, my own life is good. Yes, I’ve lost family due to my religious choices. I’ve lost a marriage due to bad choices. I’ve lost babies due to infertility issues. I’ve lost friends because of my sinful humanity. But all in all, my life is pretty darn good. I have an amazing husband, beautiful baby boy, a house, a working car, food on my table, clothing on my back, and friends that love me like their own family.
    Where I have a hard time is those that DON’T have what I have. Those that lose babies to cancer, lose husbands to infidelity, lose jobs, good health, family, their homes, their loved ones, on and on. I see THOSE stories and wonder, “How can You be good? You have the power to fix and mend and kiss those broken hearts, but You choose not to. How can that be Good?”
    Strange as it sounds, I have a harder time with God right now because of what I see around me…not what I lack in my own life.

  13. Kritter Krit says:

    Holy smokes – what a great post. Seriously. I’m still just sitting here – staring blankly.
    Exactly. Beautifully put. And Amen.
    …Oh, and thank you. I’m one of those young moms you mentioned. And I needed to hear exactly this today.

  14. Mo says:

    Beautifully written! And so true. One of my greatest struggles is remembering that He’s big enough to handle my struggles and questions and doubts. While I feel ashamed to admit to even myself that I’m doubting, He’s begging me to get it off my shoulders and just talk to Him about it.
    Great post, and wonderful analogy. You really put something so complex into a very tangible light for us.

  15. Anissa@Hope4Peyton says:

    That’s perfectly put. I feel for the people who have no faith, it must feel like the ground is constantly shifting under them. When I was so angry with God this year…which is to say often…I had a moment at a funeral when the preacher said “Don’t think God doesn’t get the loss of a child. He lost one too.” And it hit me that he is exactly that, the great parent and rebel and pull at the restraints though we might, he loves regardless. Thanks for this beautiful post.

  16. Staci Medendorp says:

    Sweet sister, this just blessed me beyond words. Your description/definition was so spot on. Thank you for re-posting this! I hope you’re enjoying your break….
    Blessings,
    Staci

  17. Vicki says:

    From someone who also has strong faith but struggles with it sometimes, this made me cry and hit home more than you can imagine. Your analogy is not simplistic at all – it’s RIGHT ON!!! Thank you for helping me see it that way!
    God bless you!

  18. happyvalleygirl says:

    Wonderful, wonderful illustration! You make faith sound so simple. And, in reality, I guessit is. God remembers that we are dust, so He can’t make things too complicated or we couldn’t get it.

  19. Sandi says:

    thank you for this blog entry! what an encouragement and so well written! i added it to one of my blog entries…..feel free to hop on over and look! i have seen your blog name in some of the little contests going around……..love the name…..may God richly bless you and your sweet little family!

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