It seemed so simple to me for so long. I was raised in church and so I believed in God and in the Bible. I never questioned if He existed or if the Bible was true. It just made sense to me that He was real and that His Book is true—that He lives and speaks.
Some people would say that I’m naïve or that I’ve “drunk the Kool Aid.” I just know that in the hardest times of my life, when I have needed Him to be there, He has been. Those long nights, when I’ve begged for peace or comfort, it has come. And when I’ve asked Him for answers, they’ve always come. They didn’t always look or sound how I expected, but they came. I’ve always gotten what I needed. For 34 years, I’ve talked to Him and He’s talked back. I’ve learned His character. And knowing that and seeing that reflected in the Bible is just more evidence for me that the Bible is true.
One of the things I know about God—from personal experience—is that He protects me. That doesn’t mean that nothing bad ever happens. But it means that even when something does happen, I never go through it alone. And something good always comes of it.
Several years ago, I was in a wreck that was bad enough to do physical damage to me. Honestly, right after it happened, I was angry at God. I yelled at Him for letting it happen. But in the series of talks we had after that, I realized that bad things are going to happen. It’s the way of the world. But I wasn’t alone that night. And I learned a lot from the situation.
Another example is my proclivity for getting hit. So often, I have felt as though I have a target painted on me that only people who hit can see. Because if someone snaps and loses their cool, I guarantee you that I’m going to be the one that gets the brunt of it. For so many years, I just took it and took it, as though I deserved it as a punishment for some unrealized deficiency. And then, after years of these experiences, I said, “God, this keeps happening to me. Why? Do I deserve it?” And He responded to me, in no uncertain terms, that I do not deserve it. These people are making bad decisions based on something going on inside of themselves that has nothing to do with me, at all. Because God gives us free will, they can choose to treat me this way. But I don’t go through it alone. God is there, helping me to bear it. In fact, He has also given me a voice (I’m coming to think of it as “the voice of the lion inside of me”) to use to defend myself against it. And because I’ve been through these things, I’m stronger and wiser than before. And because I speak out about them, I give other people permission to speak about the things they have been through. God takes these things that are initially hurtful and scary and ugly, and He turns them into something with the power to heal—not just me, but others, too.
Could a non-existent entity do that? I say no.
Recently, I sat in a church and listened to the pastor say that the Bible is only a collection of nice—even meaningful—stories. He said that the promises and the power contained in it are pleasant myths and wishful thinking. He said that God doesn’t protect us, but that He is merely “positive energy” meant to encourage us. To me, this is slander. The “God” that pastor was talking about isn’t the same God I know. The God I know is with me all of the time, even though I don’t always realize it. And when I stop focusing on myself and call out to Him, He’s there. I don’t just think this or perceive it, for 34 years, I have experienced it over and over again. On days when I look in the mirror and cringe at overweight and crows’ feet and rosacea, the God I know speaks to me and says, “Stop it! I say you’re beautiful!” The God I know isn’t a myth, but a living being. He is here and He speaks to me. He is real and He loves me. And that’s what keeps me waking up and getting up and putting one foot in front of the other.
A.W. Tozer said, “That God is here and that He is speaking—these truths are back of all other Bible truths; without them there could be no revelation at all. God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years.” (Tozer, 43)
Today’s post is part of a series of discussions on A.W. Tozer’s classic, “The Pursuit of God.” You don’t have to read the book to come by and chat with us. But if you did write a response to this week’s post, please feel free to link it up at the widget below. Next week, we’ll be right here discussing, but the widget will be at my co-facilitator Jason’s place. Thanks for coming by!