In my daily reading I am currently studying the book of 1Corinthians. This morning as I was reading I came across these very familiar verses:
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:18 NIV)
21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. (1 Cor 1:21 NIV)
28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. (1 Cor 1:28-29 NIV)
As i read through these verses and thought about them they reminded me of how hard it was for me to actually fully believe. I really struggled with trying to “reason” it all out but one day that changed. As a matter of fact, I remember the very point where my belief took me from the point of saying it to living it:
I was working for McFadyen Music as a travelling Educational Representative. I drove around Southeastern North Carolina going to Middle and High Schools dealing with band directors and their students. I rented and sold instruments, did minor repair and basically acted as a liason to the home company.
One day on my way to Brunswick County (i believe) I was driving down highway 87 when, as I was praying, I had a HUGE crisis of faith. The thought entered my mind and began to literally convict me of the foolishness of the new life that I lived – it said:
“You don’t actually believe that just because you say that you believe that some man died on a cross for your sins that you’re actually gonna die someday and go to a place called heaven do you? Mike, that is stupid – it’s foolish – it makes no sense. How can someone dying on a cross bring you eternal forgiveness? How can you actually believe that all this is true?”
I began to literally weep as I’m driving down the road and began to call out to God:
“Lord, i’ve asked You to live in me, and I’ve told You that I believe. I’ve read Your word, I’ve prayed, I’ve turned from the way that I used to live… am i crazy?!? Is this foolish? Am i living a lie God?!? God, how can I actually live for and believe in something I’ve never seen?!?”.
Tears are streaming down my cheeks, I’m pounding the steering wheel (it’s a wonder I didn’t wreck my van ) when all of a sudden God spoke to my heart in a real and understandable way; He said,
“that’s what faith is, Mike – believing in something that you’ve never seen. You just believe it, not because you saw it or that it was proven to you – you just have faith that what you believe is true. In order to be a follower you have to believe by faith.”
And it just made sense. I’m like, “that IS what faith is, isn’t it? Believing in something you’ve never seen.” And the tears stopped and I just begin to scream at the devil, “Yes, I believe!!! Leave me alone – I KNOW THAT THIS IS TRUE!!! I know it is!! By FAITH i believe in JESUS and someday I’m gonna meet Him face-to-face in heaven!”
I hope this story resonates with some of you – those of you struggling with your faith (or how far you should go in it – how hard you should pursue it). I’ll leave you with this thought: in the end we all come to God the same way – we believe in Him through faith – we believe into something that we can’t see, we can’t prove and ultimately seems to be foolish. By the worlds standards IT IS FOOLISH. But if we, like the disciples, follow JESUS closely long enough, we (like them) find ourselves believing. We find ourselves believing not because He made us or did something miraculous to convince us. Ultimately, if we follow God and get to know Him through the bible, prayer and in community with other believers what seemed foolish actually reveals itself as truth.