For whatever reasons in recent history, we here in the United States are hearing more about hurricanes and massacres and scandals. That can be understandable weighty. And this is added on top of the human condition, where occasionally people get diseases, like nobody wants to hear the words, “You have cancer.” Some people lose loved ones to whatever causes of death, that is, the sting of death is still a painful loss.
When people experience pain and suffering, it provokes 2 reactions about the existence of God. For some it drives them to anger and bitterness against God, because if he was powerful he could have stopped the bad thing from happening. For others, it drives them to God for comfort, help, and strength, because the pain is too much to bear alone.
Every one of us experience the same human conditions. We see pain, suffering, and death all around us, along with the good things in life like happiness, freedom, and friendships. Yet we see that some have faith; some don’t have faith.
As I continue on this prayer journaling experiment, I had this thought. For people that don’t know whether there is a God or not, what can they do to find out?
Imagining that God Exists
I think it could be as simple as this: imagine having a conversation with God. Yes, een talking with God requires a smidgen of faith, especially if someone doesn’t know whether God exists or not. That’s what the typical agnostic’s faith position is—they don’t know for sure.
But if there was a God, wouldn’t it be worth finding out? Yes, it may well be that faith is believing something that is unproven. But the experience of discovering faith can be life-empowering and life-transforming. Sure, if things are going well in life, people typically will not have a need for faith. But, when things are hard, and people are experiencing suffering, some will turn to God and reach out in faith. If God can make a difference in the worst of times, couldn’t this same God make the best of times even better? I believe so.
Here’s what I’m thinking. The step of faith, or leap of faith, is to imagine that there is a God. Assuming there was a God, how would you talk to him? Where could that conversation lead?
Who is God anyways?
It’s hard to talk to God just as a generic higher power. I’ve found it helpful to learn about who God is and what He is like by reading the Bible. My assumption was that since it’s helped a lot of people, maybe it could help me too. (Yes, there are people that misuse the Bible and use it to abuse other people, but I put the fault of those bad things on the bad people, and not on the Bible itself.)
When I was going through a hard time this year, a lot of what I read in the Bible honestly didn’t make sense. I didn’t understand what I was reading. Nevertheless, I believed and put my faith in those words as being good and helpful in some way.
The questions to frame your spiritual experiment like this: what would you do if the Bible was true? What if there was a God that wanted to improve your quality of life? What if there was a God that did create the entire world with a plan and a purpose for everything that happens? What if there was a God that can strengthen the weak, comfort the brokenhearted, and has the power to overcome evil and good?
I would suggest the person to start with the one that the Bible describes. And then experiment to experience if what the Bible says was true or not. This isn’t to prove the existence of God by tangible evidence or using the five senses; so the scientific method wouldn’t apply here. This is to experience the existence of God through personal imagination and discern how it can improve a person’s quality of life.
I read a tweet the other day, that if someone read the New Testament of the Bible twice, they’d come to believe in God. I’m not as certain about that.
What I believe to be more clear is what the Bible has to say about discovering God. These are 3 of the most persuasive Bible verses that explains how to find God by faith:
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
I would suggest that seeking God is starting that conversation with God as the Bible describes Him to be. It’s a good place to start with. It’s much easier to imagine what God is like when there’s a book like the Bible, instead of coming up with a God of your own imagination with a blank slate. Right?
As you seek God and find Him, you’ll have a faith experience that is meaningful to you and you’ll have a faith that can get you through conflicts, crisis, and catastrophe. You’ll also have a faith that celebrates life, filled with joy, and grounded in hope.
Dear God, I write all this to say to you, that if this is a good approach for people to discover who you are, that by talking to you while reading the Bible and going through every day life, then please bring the right people to this blog post and motivate them to talk with you.
This journey of faith is low-risk and high-reward. That’s a great deal. Thank you for making your Word come alive for me and helping me through the hard times.