A joyous New Year to everyone. My wife and I were having a discussion about being busy and the frustrations of getting sidetracked with distractions while trying to stay on schedule (rather ironic, considering we’re both retired). It reminded me of an article I read on the Desiring God website, which can be found here. The title caught my eye: How Not to Read Next Year. When I read the article it made sense and was actually good advice.
One suggestion stood out: Do not read things that make you feel hopeless. It stimulated a whole line of thought, and hence, this blog post. Almost everything you read today leads to hopelessness. Fiction writers, movie and television producers, and newscasters everywhere thrive on it. Sellers of information and the thousands of dollars of associated weapons, food, and supplies needed in anticipation of the total breakdown of society count on it.
The world likes to think humans have all the answers, or will when we eventually become intelligent enough to find them. On that premise, it continues to look in all the wrong places and draw all the wrong conclusions. We seek enlightenment in every place except the right one because we don’t like the implications of what we might find there. We consider religion to be superstitions of our ancestors, mythical fairy tales, and simplistic explanations that are beneath us. We have “outgrown” them. Science is our religion and we intend to prove our godhood by creating life in our own image.
We are constantly bombarded with hunger, poverty, shattered lives, and hate. We are kept in a constant state of anxiety over what might happen: wars, climate change, supervolcanoes that might blow up the earth, rogue asteroids that could wipe out life as we know it. We’re aware of the problems, but the world has no answers, only solutions that seem to enrich someone but provide no real comfort for millions who are desperate and hopeless.
Let me issue a challenge for this year: make a concerted effort to find God this year. Dig deep; don’t settle for the superficial “fluff” that passes for faith offered by the world, or rationalizations for denial of faith in Him. Make your own investigation, and be intellectually honest. If you need some help I’d suggest The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, or Why I Left Atheism by John Clayton (which can be found here). Both began as atheists out to prove the Bible is false and ended up being converted to faith in Christ.
The Bible is the only place where God can be found; the rest of us simply point the way. It is his testimony about Himself, given through men by inspiration of His spirit. If you find it intimidating or choose to approach it with preconceived notions, consider these verses:
“Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Luke 18;16,17
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent.’ ” -I Corinthians 1:18,19
“God has chosen the foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world- what is viewed as nothing- to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one may boast in his presence.” -I Corinthians 1:27-29
Nothing but an open mind and a seeking (often desperate) heart will lead you to God. Think of how a child responds to a loving parent. There is an unquestioning trust in the parent (at least until about two years of age!). I recall when my daughter was just old enough to walk on her own. We were at a swimming pool, and I taught her to walk to the edge and jump in because I was right there to catch her. After playing this game for a while, I turned away momentarily. Thankfully I turned back just in time to catch her as she jumped into the pool. She had no doubt in her mind that Daddy would be there to catch her; she trusted me unquestioningly.
That’s what it means to have simple childlike faith. It doesn’t mean we park our brains on the shelf. What it does mean is that when we find the truth of scripture we accept it. It is a trust we place in God because He shows us what the Bible says is true and He is worthy of it. It means I no longer have to experience doubt or anxiety over not knowing the answers because He has already provided them. And the next time the world tells you how foolish you are, smile, knowing that God has chosen you.