Friday, May 17, 2013

In Defense of My Personal God and Savior

I've written about why I believe that God exists - because I believe that an intelligent being created our universe and all forms of life. They say that Albert Einstein believed that God exists but did not believe that God is personal. What does it mean to say that God is a personal God anyway? What I mean when I say that I believe in a personal God is that I believe that God interacts with people, that he cares about what happens to individuals, that he listens when you pray to him, and that he has a plan for his people.
I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it. - Albert Einstein
I imagine that many people can't imagine a personal God because they can't understand how a good God could let bad things happen. I believe as the apostle Paul said, that God reveals himself to those of us that have his Spirit in us. God's Spirit searches "even the hidden depths of God's purposes."
The Spirit Sent by God 1 Corinthians 2:9-14 (Good News Translation)
9 However, as the scripture says, "What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him." 10 But it was to us that God made known his secret by means of his Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, even the hidden depths of God's purposes. 11 It is only our own spirit within us that knows all about us; in the same way, only God's Spirit knows all about God. 12 We have not received this world's spirit; instead, we have received the Spirit sent by God, so that we may know all that God has given us13 So then, we do not speak in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual truths to those who have the Spirit. 14 Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God's Spirit. Such a person really does not understand them, and they seem to be nonsense, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis. 
When my Sunday school teacher, the grandmother of a boy in my sister's class, told me about Jesus, I made a personal decision to accept him as my savior. My faith carried me through a childhood of poverty and the turmoil of my parent's difficult divorce. However, when I was a teenager I began to stray, not from my faith but from God's path. I even stopped going to church for several years.

I remember during those years, my drifting years, that I used to pray before I fell asleep that God would help me to be a good person, a nice person. Even though I still prayed, I didn't feel connected to God because I wasn't investing a whole lot in the relationship. That all changed when Columbine happened. I remember sitting in front of the TV watching the news coverage, absolutely horrified that two teenagers chose to massacre other children. Klebold and Harris made a choice to walk in the darkness. I made a choice to walk with God, to seek to know him more fully.
Light and Darkness 1 John 1:5-7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
I still struggle to be the person God wants me to be but God has changed me so much since I recommitted my life to him. Several years ago I had a job I really enjoyed but I was not happy with a couple of people I worked with. My boss was a nice guy but passive and afraid to tell anyone what to do. My coworker was a slacker, though he was very good at pretending to be ambitious and eager to please. His behavior really pushed my buttons because I'm very responsible and conscientious. I became untrusting, angry, and resentful because his work wasn't getting done. That negative attitude was reflected in the way I treated him. At one point, I felt so bad about myself, that I wanted to hurt myself physically. I eventually reached my breaking point and quit.

When I quit my job, I prayed daily about finding a new one. I had four or five interviews but no job offers and was getting discouraged. Then one day a recruiter called and told me about a temp-to-hire position with an insurance company. The hourly pay was well below what I had been making at the job I left. I was desperate and ready to consider it. I remember sitting on the floor in the kitchen crying and begging God to help me. I asked for forgiveness. I knew I had screwed things up. Suddenly the words of scripture about a broken and contrite heart popped into my head. A short time later, I got a call from another firm describing the same job at a much more reasonable hourly pay. I got the job.

Yes, God is very personal to me. He never left me even when I left him. I talk to him everyday and I don't care what other people think about that. But my hope is that the people I love the most, my husband and my family, will not forfeit the grace that could be theirs (Jonah 2:8).

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