I think I was hurt the most recently to hear (or read rather) that one of my best friend's brothers decided to no longer believe in God. I was so hurt that I asked to talk to him. That ended up in me being very angry because he accused me of only believing in God because I did not want to go to Hell. I was infuriated!!! How dare he simplify my suffering to merely not living in Hell? Then the next day, I saw an article about a black man being an atheist. His belief, of what I could skim, involved him being responsible to himself for his actions. After that, I decided to write, but only after I had time to gather my thoughts on this topic.
To Believe or Not to Believe? I asked myself this question. Could I live my life not believing in God? I immediately realized I could not, because I have experienced and witnessed too many miracles amidst great suffering in my only 26 years on Earth. I cannot and will not ever doubt that God exists, because I have felt and seen His hand move in my life in many different ways. I think I have experienced about every emotion known to man, and from every one that was bad, God has pulled me back from. From losses to gains, God has been present in them all. I can recount every situation in my life and in the lives of my family that show that God is real, and He exists, but most people that don't believe would try to reason them away with some scientific or philosophical jargon. The truth is, I believe because I have a real-lationship with God. I know that He is real because I have experienced enough situations that had God not been there, I would have been dead and gone. It is so crazy how the near-death experience, or in my case, almost near-death, will cause the blinders to come flying off, and it is there that you see God's glory. I won't, however, act holier-than-thou and say that I have not doubted that God heard me, because He has shown me in the lives of those close to me and in complete strangers that He is real. It is only in growth that I realized that God did answer and maybe my ears were too clogged to hear Him.
I am a firm believer in accountability. If only everyone would hold themselves accountable to how they played a role in the lives of those around them, I think people would see life differently. Prime example, if a boy is told by his mother he will never amount to anything–and he actually never amounts to anything, is it his fault wholly? No! We must hold the mother, and undoubtedly his environment accountable for his failure in life. Of course at some point he could have chosen to try the opposite, but can you really expect him to do opposite of what he has known his whole life? However, had he known his worth as a child of God, maybe his life would have turned out differently. Yet still, people tend to do what they see, and as a child, you feed off of the words of your parents.
I don't know what experience my friend's brother had in a church, let alone much of his life. Maybe it was the strong hand of judgmentalism and Biblically unsound traditions like I experienced in various aspects of my traditional Baptist upbringing that would cause any free-spirited person to turn away from God. Maybe in an extreme case he was abused by someone in the church in a position of power to make him doubt God. Or maybe it is all the evil in the world, like he stated, that he 'doesn't see God doing anything about', or maybe it is like my opinion, he just hasn't held himself accountable for his role in the state of his life. When we get tired of blaming God, He often hands us the mirror so that we can truly see ourselves, and how when we tried to run our lives, we miserably missed the mark. He then shows us how much easier life is with Him, than it is to spend eternity without Him.
In having a better relationship with God now, I understand the purpose of my suffering. I don't like it, I don't like it, I don't like it (did I say it enough?) but I know it is only in the midst of difficulties that these impurities of my character are extracted and God continues to mold me more into the likeness of Christ. I believe God exists because in His awesomeness, He finds ways to show us how much He loves us everyday. I know there is much evil and poverty and unfairness in the world. I don't try to reason them away that because a person sinned, they are doomed to their state forever. I do know that just as God is real, so is the devil. I know that anyone willing to be used by the devil, both rich and poor, young and old, black, white, yellow or blue, will be used to bring his ultimate desire of dooming humanity to eternal suffering. But at the end of the day…believing all comes back to accountability. At the end, we all have to go before God. We can choose to live our lives how we want, 'responsible to ourselves' and blaming the world for everything wrong. Or we can believe in God, His word, His Son, and let Him lead us to make a difference and change it all.
"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 3:18 NIV