how to believe in God

there have been various times in my life where I’ve doubted God. I doubted the existence of God, but more often, I doubted that he saw me or cared or that he would intervene in my life and actually ACT.  I doubted there was any connection between us. Yes, he may exist, but it didn’t affect me.

when things did happen, where I did have thoughts that perhaps “that was God,” I would (and yes, still do) look for ways the event in my life could be explained by anything other than God.  coincidence. hallucination. inaccurate memories. luck. or – my favorite – I give credit to my own self and my own brain. I experience “blessings,” and I want to tell myself, “I earned that. I deserve it.”

And I feel, for a variable amount of time, that I do deserve it. Until something else in my life occurs, and I realize how much I come up short. That consistent visitation of fragility, incompetence, imperfection, ugliness of character — those things I don’t want anyone to know about me. But I know them, and I’m reminded of them often.

So, I get to believe I am indestructible for a short time — but always the truth resurfaces. I am less than.  God is merciful. I am a collection of broken pieces that somehow occasionally work together in harmony by God’s grace.

enough of these instances occur, and I feel a faith emerging. my subconscious is aware of a Divine Presence. I’m driving fast down a steep windy road in the dark, thick snow falling, and my car slides out of control for several seconds, my hands are turning the wheel the opposite direction and I can feel that it doesn’t matter, there is no traction, I’m sliding, sliding, towards the ledge, sliding, my heart is gasping for divine intervention, I feel suspended in space, helpless, time is racing and yet stopped. for this tiny moment, my entire being is 100% convinced of God, I am offering myself to him helplessly, beggingly, I fall into instant submission. and faith.

I am never more alive than in moments like this. I experience the frailty of life.

the moment passes. the wheels finally engage. I swerve back just in time. I scold myself for driving too fast. I swear to myself I will never do such a thing again, I will take measures to prevent this. I will control this. I’m not sure what was more frightening. the closeness of losing my life, or my automatic submission to God.

this involuntary, immediate, and undivided submission to God.  a total mind, body, heart surrender.  that’s what I experienced.

every knee will bow and every tongue will give praise to God. It’s interesting that verse is written in both the new and old testament. romans 14:11 & isaiah 45:23.  I believe what I experienced on the road that night was a glimpse of this. my knee will bow whether or not I believe right now or not.

but what if, I still have doubts now. what if I want to believe, but I can’t bring myself to that complete submission?  that’s what I’m trying to figure out now, still.  how does one attain faith? is faith a blessing in itself? does God distribute it, or do we have to muster it?

I don’t know. the mustering approach hasn’t worked for me in the past. if God distributes it, I believe we can ask for it, and he will give it to us. I must want to want to have faith. ask God for the desire to have faith and then pray that God will give it.

I will include this to, as it’s the only verse I know on the subject of attaining faith:

“so then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” romans 10:17

 

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