March 9, 2010

The Hard Facts About God: Understanding What We Believe

Hello my sisters and brothers! Thanks be to God for a wonderful trip to Haiti. I have more to say than words can express and have struggled to write a cohesive story. Hopefully by tomorrow clarity will come. I have a feeling you'll be hearing about Haiti and its people for a while to come. 

Thanks for your wonderful comments and prayers while I was away. And thanks for your support of Dan's takeover of the blog. He's a far better writer than I and I, for one, was thrilled to read his writings. Although he got bit by the stats monster and swears his life can't handle the stress of a blog!

As a saving grace for my lack of writing, I have a devotional running over at Exemplify Online.Here's an excerpt. I hope you click over to read it in its entirety. 

The Hard Facts About God...

“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

“Mom, did ya know no one’s ever seen a black hole?”

“Really? I had no idea,” I said.

My son is learning about space at school. He comes home excitedly talking about never-ending black holes and nebulas shaped like butterflies and gases that travel 4,000 feet per second. His enthusiasm is contagious and I find myself pondering the wonders and vastness of space with him.

He is, and always has been, an asker of “why?” and “how come?” But when he asks me the hows and whys of the heavens, my non-Nova watching, Stephen Hawking-reading self weakly replies, “Go ask your father.” The quest for the understanding of space, and the search for its beginnings and endings makes my head hurt. It’s too big.

My son’s also of an age where he’s looking into the expanse of the Godly realms, measuring his Sunday School education against his sixth grade learning. In the process science and religion, faith and intellect are colliding. He’s at a crossroads. I can see in his head it’s not adding up—heaven, hell, creation, eternal life.

He’s thirsty for answers. For the hard facts about God.

Recently we drove in the car and he talked again about some amazing space thing he’d just learned about. I sensed an opening and said, “Think about how big space is. The smartest scientists in the entire world can’t know a fraction of what they want to know. Space is just too vast. Now imagine if God created all of space how big He must be. We can try to understand God, but it’s just not possible for our minds to comprehend all of Him. But, just like we know things in space are real, but can't completely explain them, God is real even though we can't completely understand Him.” I said.

We talked about heaven and hell. And dying and Jesus. And faith. I saw a small light go on in his mind.
“Wow!” he said with new-found understanding, “Talking about heaven makes me want to die.”
“I know. But I want you stick around here for a while,” I chuckled.

God created us with intelligence, personalities and passions. Some folks trust and never waver in their faith about God. They’re comfortable where they are. Others wrestle with their intellect and set out in search of big answers and hard facts. I belonged to the latter category and I see my son does as well. It’s how we were made.

The struggle and the searching can be a wonderfully restorative process. God promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) God wants us to seek Him, to find Him and to know Him. If our questions lead us to Him, I believe He wants us to ask and wrestle and contemplate. But intellectualism can batter faith. The enemy lurks ever-ready to turn our seeking into the dark realms of doubt and cynicism—into a black hole. Residing in such a place leads to a creeping bitterness that can deaden and even destroy the spirit.

We can have confidence that our faith need not be blind or based on whims of fancy. It can be explored, defended and withstand an intellectual test. However faith, as science, cannot be completely explained. No matter how many questions we ask or doubts we have satisfied, we will never fully know and understand God. He’s just too big. There comes a point where we must make a choice—believe. Or not.

When we choose to take a step (not a leap) into faith we find the most amazing thing occurs—we don’t understand to believe…we believe and then we understand.


Cheryl Barker said...

Welcome back, Kelli. So looking forward to hearing more about your trip to Haiti. Feel free to post about it for as long as you want! :)

Cheryl Barker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said... strategy was "Go ask your mother." Looks like Connor is now coping with the vastness of our collective ignorance about space. Although I have actually seen a black hole - it comes every month in a large white envelope containing the status of our SEP-IRA.

Verbal tomfoolery aside, Kelli - you nailed it. The intellectuals (one of which I sometimes pretend to be) will insist that "everything can be explained by science." What a crock! Pure researchers keep proving one thing again and again - that science and faith are not the oppositional forces they seem to be, but rather two sides of a very thin coin.

Carmen said...

Welcome back Kelli! I'm sure you're mind is reeling with all you have just witnessed and experienced. Something like that tends to change your outlook on life. I am looking forward to your insights. BTW, I thought Dan did your blog proud while you were MIA. :)

Melanie said...

Having a son who is heaven makes me want to go there more than ever.

Scott B said...

When I think back to Abraham and his belief based only on faith, my mind reels. We have Christ's life & sacrifice and the Holy Spirit's presence to support our faith. Yet it still took me 46 years to "Get it". Thank goodness God is patient and will wait for us!
Welcome back Kelli (and Christine, Doug & Bob) - Scott

Peggy said...

Great Post.....
Glad you are home, and we can talk tomorrow(maybe).
I have heard somewhere from scientist that because they really can't explain the mysteries of the universe and therefore they believe in God, (some say higher power). So maybe the Carl Sagans of the world are getting it about God and faith. You think??????
Blessings and Love....Peggy

Yardleydog said...

Come on?! It makes sense....things just are. One day the Universe just "poof" or "bang" or "pop" or "boo-ya" came to be, and our galaxy and our sun and solar system. Then maybe another day life just began. Sure, that makes sense. A tiny plant just spawned, or a micro-organism or little fish thing just spun into life. RNA and DNA just melded together like PB & J to create life. Not sure exactly how but of course that happened! Then the little plant became oaks and olives and oranges and the water bug became mollusks and mahi mahi and muskies. Then one day the fish decided to hit the beach. "Forget this welling around in the water, let's check out the plant life up there.", they said - if they can talk. It's so obvious!! The fish then morphed into amphibians and reptiles and, forget this egg business, mammals. "Yeah, let's just incubate this life form inside our bodies.", they said - again. that is if they can talk. Primates came along and it only goes to reason and logic that man evolved from apes. I mean come on?!

That is definitely how it all went down. Sheesh!! It's as plain as the nose on your face. How can you deny science??

Or maybe....