It sounds great for a bedtime story because that’s when we hear about things we have never seen in real life. Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. His body is nowhere to be found because He lives. Therefore, He is indeed who He said He was.
But it is true, even if we did not see, or cannot believe. It is true.
I remember the first time God made Himself real to me. I was pretty young, and I found myself at a church crying in front of everybody without being able to pinpoint the reason. It was not the music, because it was rather boring. It was not the teaching because, I barely understood it. In fact, I wanted to be with my friend and where the other 10-year-olds were and that was the whole reason for why I was there. But, all of a sudden I found myself feeling this urge to cry, along with this overwhelming sensation of being so completely loved that I wish I could hide. It’s hard to explain. It’s like in a split second I had my eyes opened and I could see into the matter that we’re made of, which rendered me the awareness of my finitude and my desperate need for Him and his love. I couldn’t quite make sense of it and I had no vocabulary to explain what I was experiencing. I just knew at that moment, somehow, that God was real and that He had gotten a hold of me.
My parents did not worry much about that event and my newfound faith in a God they did not know because both of them thought it was a phase. And I didn’t worry much about their disbelief of my belief because I was indeed quite busy trying to learn more about Him. What I did worry about was my own internal questions and doubts. Ever since tasting the meaning that the revelation of His truth had brought to my life I knew that losing it would be the worst tragedy that could ever happen to me. And as a good anxious and controlling little person I wrote about it and thought of a million different reasons that would cause me to “un-believe”. You know, the usual problems 10-year-olds are faced with; missing favorite shows, fights with best friends, parents’ divorce… Or in other words, disappointments, loneliness, suffering.
So one day, when I was just too scared and exhausted to handle the possibility of everything being nothing but wishful thinking, I prayed. Amidst silent tears I prayed hoping that if God was listening, He’d grant me that one thing, that even if I told Him to leave me alone and even if I lived as if I did not believe, or worse, if life went on to be so hard that not believing was the only logical option I had left, that even then, He’d not take me seriously and never let me go.
This is a prayer He has answered and I’m grateful for that. However, He has not answered all my questions and prayers, at least not in a way I’d have liked. I have struggled with his logic and I struggled with the unknowns of this life. I would greatly enjoy being the one person on Earth capable of proving his existence, and of figuring out his mysteries. But, to me, that would only mean I’d no longer need to rely on Him and could escape the ego-crushing reality that I am not god. I’m not the one who calls the shots and who gets to decide what is right or wrong, good or bad, fair or unjust. This dream of mine to become the one unbeatable advocate of God is, in many ways, a product of my own pride and arrogance and my inability to accept that there will be things I do not need or will not know. You see, eliminating his mysteries eliminates my necessity to trust, submit, and believe. And anytime I am tempted to prove to someone else that He is real, to impose the revelation of the reality of his resurrection and to feel like I make sense, He kindly reminds me that dwelling on the intimate and fulfilling relationship we have and living my life as if that’s enough speaks louder than words, apologetics, or arguments. The reality of this, while it may not be helpful from an argumentative standpoint is that, as much as I love learning about historical facts, and arguments that prove my faith is sane and real, that is not the reason for why I believe. I know He is real and I know He is alive because He changed me.
Lici is a graduate student from Brazil. She is essentially an extrovert who's really bad at small talk. She serves at Skyline and loves all things blue, tasty and insightful.
If you missed this week's sermon, you can check it out here.