This is the fourth Odyssey article written by Elkhorn Hills UMC member Karissa Heckens. In it, she talks about how she holds onto her faith through the doubt. Enjoy!
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Why I Believe
Holding Onto My Faith Through the Doubt
I grew up in a Christian family and cannot remember a time when I did not believe in God. However, this does not mean that holding onto my faith has been easy throughout the years. In fact, it has been one of the most challenging pursuits of my life. You see, I am a very deep, reflective person, and I want to understand everything. On top of that, I worry a lot. Thus, when I have questions about my faith that can’t be answered, I start to doubt, and then, I keep worrying about my doubts, circulating them in my head like a broken record until they are blown way out of proportion. Many times in my life, I have felt as if I was hanging onto my faith by mere threads. I have questioned God’s existence and goodness, and unfortunately, I have even wondered whether my life would be better without my faith. Still, through all of this doubt, I have kept believing. God has never let go of me, and I have never let go of Him. Since I don’t think that I am the only one who has ever struggled with my faith or doubted, I have decided to share some of my reasons, both personal and logical, for believing in God no matter what. Hopefully, this will help others who are struggling.
- Something cannot come from nothing. While I believe in both the Big Bang theory and evolution, I cannot accept that these processes just started on their own. As far as scientists know, before the universe, there was nothing. It’s hard to imagine the concept of nothing because on Earth, we are always surrounded by something. I mean, even in a dark, empty room, there is something: space, time, air, and silence. But, just try to wrap your head around the concept of absolute nothingness for a moment. Is it even remotely logical to believe that out of this nothingness came something, something as complex and beautiful as the universe? I strongly believe that this is not logical! There had to be a spark that ignited the universe and life, and I can find no better explanation for such a powerful spark than my God.
- The beauty of creation. I kind of mentioned this in the explanation of my last reason, but since it is a constant reminder of why I believe, I feel compelled to describe it more. Whenever I see a beautiful sunset, hear the rumble of thunder, feel the cool breeze, learn about the complexity of the human body, or witness a starry night, I know that God has to be real. The ocean, the mountains, the rain, the birds, my family, the sky, the trees, the rolling plains, music. I could go on and on! The beauty of creation points directly to an ingenious and artistic creator. It is a masterpiece that only a mastermind, not merely random chances, could have formed.
- I have felt the Spirit of God. There have been many instances in my life when I have felt the presence of God flood my soul. This sensation is inexplicable. It involves a sense of peace, love, understanding, humility, empowerment, and excitement that cannot be captured with words. Whenever I have experienced it – whether while worshipping, laughing with my family, praying, dancing, reflecting on life, listening to music, volunteering, or simply sitting outside – I have felt absolutely certain that God is real and that He is good.
- I have seen God in action. The Lord works in a variety of ways in our world, and we witness His works everyday. I have heard countless testimonies of God transforming entire communities, changing lives, healing people, and answering prayers; in fact, I have even watched some of these miracles happen with my own eyes, especially while on mission trips. In addition, I can look back on my own life and see God moving throughout it, bringing certain people and struggles into it in order to set me on the right path and turning my messes into messages. Whenever God is involved, there is an unusual amount of hope and determination, and the results glorify Him. I challenge you to look for places in your life where God is moving! You might be surprised about how present He is!
- Jesus had a huge impact on the world. In my opinion, Jesus has affected the world and its inhabitants more than any other person in history. People were so committed to this man of love that they were willing to die because of their belief in Him and for the expansion of His kingdom. In addition, people everywhere were so moved by His good news that they dropped their previous beliefs in order to follow Him; thus Christianity became and stayed the biggest religion in the world. In fact, Jesus was actually so influential that He started a new age for humanity! Anything that happened before Him we label with B.C (before Christ) or B.C.E (before common era), and anything that has happened after Him we label with A.D (anno domini – in the year of our Lord) or C.E (common era). Someone really special had to do something really big in order for history to be so altered, but sometimes, I don’t think we actually realize just how powerful Jesus and His actions must have been in order to make such an impact. You see, it is hard enough to convince human beings, who are naturally skeptical, of anything that seems far fetched. But Jesus had to convince the Jews, who were expecting the Messiah to be a mighty military leader and King, that He, a humble man who ate with tax collectors and sinners, was the true Messiah. He was the exact opposite of their expectations, and thus, they were most likely beyond skeptical of Him. Still, Jesus achieved the impossible by changing the hearts of many Jews and impacting the world so greatly. He only could have done this by truly performing miracles, showing unconditional love, and resurrecting from the dead. He only could have done it by being the Son of God.
- Jesus was either the biggest liar in history or who He claimed to be! Many people claim that Jesus was simply a great prophet and teacher instead of the Son of God. However, when Peter calls Him “the Son of the living God” in Matthew 16:16, Jesus praises Him. He claims to be God, the Savior, a King, the Messiah, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, and a Judge. Thus, He clearly presented Himself as much more than a prophet or a teacher. This is why I state that Jesus was either the biggest liar in history or who He claimed to be. There is no middle ground! And looking at the character and life of Jesus, it is quite ridiculous to claim that Jesus was a deceptive liar. He humbly served others (even washing the feet of His own disciples), ate with tax collectors and sinners, broke down social barriers with unconditional love, lived a hard life of traveling without a home or family to call His own, and allowed Himself to be crucified in the end. Why would anybody lie in order to have a life like His? The majority of people would wish to gain riches and power by lying, but in a worldly sense, Jesus had none of those things in His lifetime. Furthermore, can you even fathom a man like Jesus being a liar in the midst of His love, generosity, wisdom, and humility? I know that I cannot, and thus, I believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be: the Messiah.
- I cannot imagine my life without my faith. If I didn’t have my faith in God, I honestly don’t know who I would be or what I would do. My relationship with Him is at the very core of my identity. I am first and foremost a child of God, and no matter how confused I am about anything else, I know that this will be forever true! In fact, God is a constant in every part of my life, not just in my identity. Everything else will fade away and change, but He will remain. He is the only solid foundation on which I can stand, and He faithfully provides me with the deepest desires of my soul: love, hope, joy, security, and meaning. Without Him, I would feel unimportant, empty, lost, and purposeless. I desperately need the Lord in my life, and therefore, I will always believe.
I hope that this list of my reasons for believing in God has given you encouragement and reassurance. We all doubt sometimes or feel that our faith is weak, but what matters is that we keep coming back, bowing our heads, and proclaiming that Jesus is Lord!