Do I Believe … ? (Part One)

Here is my answer to a predictable question.

Do I believe in God?

Yes, without any doubt whatsoever.

This is both a felt-belief and a reasoned-belief.

For the reasoning belief, I believe in God because life is finite, we are born and then we die, because everything I experience is cause and effect and I cannot fathom that being infinite. It is all start/stop and, hence, it needs an initial push to make it all go. Hence, God.

And science tells us the Universe, at least what we know about it, is also finite. It started with the “big bang” but why did the “big bang” happen? Again, I’m back at the cause and effect issue.

From the standpoint of reason, I can see no other possible explanation except that we, and the Universe, exist because God willed it.

But I also believe in God from my gut. Years ago I would’ve said that I had faith that God existed mostly because I needed Him to exist. The idea of a Universe and life without Him, was terrifying. I could not bear the idea that all this exists without some agent and, more importantly, some purpose.

In time, however, my belief would become more confident and the trigger for that would be God’s involvement in my life. In more recent years, I’ve become aware of God’s interactions in the events of my life. I see His touch. I recognize His guidance.

And in an oddly contradictory way, I am both thankful, and scared, by His presence. I am thankful for the ways in which he influences my life and the events surrounding it. Sometimes He helps, and sometimes He lets me learn.

And the fact that God intercedes in my life is also what scares me because it means that although I am in control of many things and to a very large extent, the master — or victim — of my actions, it also means that there are things, plans of His, that are beyond my control.

I’ve had to learn acceptance to deal with that fear, and it has not been easy. Indeed, God has handed me a couple of lessons that are taking at least decades to master, and possibly they won’t be completed before the end of my life.

But in all this, in my every day movements and actions, I see His touch.

I almost hate to say it but sometimes it can be as simple as a green traffic light that moves me through an intersection, presumably to the time and place I desire. But I also recognize that the green light and my passage may be there for the benefit of others, that my driving through the intersection at that time and place has some far-reaching effect on someone else’s life and that, by my getting through the intersection, they are delayed for some significant reason.

And there are also the apparently inopportune red lights that come up on my hurried drive somewhere. They too can be from God.

Just a couple of days ago I was trapped in the midst of a titanic traffic jam on Interstates 240 and 40 leaving Memphis. A semi-trailer truck had overturned and blocked all lanes of eastbound traffic. In the far-right lane I inched forward at first but eventually everything ground to a complete halt. At one point, I sat in place for a full 30 minutes and, by the time I merged left and eventually got around the accident, an hour and a half had gone by.

In that time, I had many choices. I could have behaved like the driver two cars ahead of me when someone tried to pass us by driving on the grass shoulder. He moved his car far to the right and blocked them. Soon, several cars were blocked behind him and, ultimately, they had to merge into the regular traffic lanes.

I was greatly annoyed at those attempting to pass on the right and was sorely tempted to help block these drivers but the (God-sent?) thought occurred to me that perhaps these drivers truly did have emergencies that warranted their driving on the shoulder to bypass the traffic jam. Or maybe their job was in jeopardy already and the traffic delay put “food on the table” in similar doubt.

So I simply accepted (!) that I was in no particular hurry that day and that I could simply watch the human behavior being demonstrated before me.

And I must say that, with the 90 minute total delay, those drivers on the shoulder saved themselves, at most, less than a minute because even passing a dozen cars on the right still left them in a completely blocked-in area. Ultimately, they had to merge all the way to the left to get past the blockage, and that effort took almost exactly the same time for them as it did for me.

God put a lesson in human behavior before my eyes and, hopefully, I learned something of what He intended for me to learn.

In a larger sense, I’m am profoundly convinced that God crafts many of the choices we find before us and, through the choosing and the actions we perform, He provides the classroom and the tools through which we learn.

 

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunities You place before me this day. I pray You will guide me so that I may learn from them as You intend.

Amen.

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