Sometimes when I think about God, it’s a wonder why he does some things the way he does. As a result, I wrestle with unanswered questions. Despite not having the answers to these questions, I continue building my relationship with him anyway. In the process, it gets deeper as time passes. That’s the thing about relationships, they often grow when they are invested in.
While watching television, I saw examples of wealth and fame that drew my attention. The flashy imagery made me wonder what it would be like if my life was like theirs on the screen. Some time later, Christmas Eve arrived and I read the story to my family of how Jesus came into this world. The way he came and the way most of us would choose to come if we had the choice, I imagine could not be any more different from each other.
We like to make a scene when we arrive. We pull up in an expensive car. We love red carpets, bright lights, and flashing cameras. We love to hear our names called out over a loudspeaker to let the crowd know we have arrived. Those things are not necessarily bad. After all, they clearly send a message… this person is important! But when you follow the story of how Jesus was born into this world, it is far from how we would think. He was born in some sort of stable, surrounded by dirty animals. The smell alone would have been awful. His birth was questionable to many and I often wonder if he and his family were sorely mocked. Shortly afterward, his family was put on the run by a king who gave an order to execute any child under two years of age. Who does that!? Anyway, its not the kind of descriptive imagery I’d imagine for the arrival of the king of kings.
When he was a child, he studied the scriptures, intent on learning. By thirty years of age, he did not have a palace filled to the brim with the finest works of gold and linens. He did not indulge himself in the pleasures most men would, if given a choice. Instead, he traveled from place to place, preaching about things like the kingdom of God. Stories were told of him healing so many people. He didn’t need all the things mentioned before to get recognition. Most places he went, he was surrounded by crowds of people who heard what he did for others. It ignited hope within their hearts that perhaps they too could be healed and receive what they longed for.
Even if you do not believe in God, I imagine it would be fascinating to ponder certain thoughts. How did the entire universe come into being? How structured and ordered does it have to be? Did this unseen force really create us? Did this force known as God choose to take on the form of a man and endure the suffering of the human condition? If so, what drew so many people, so close to this man they call Jesus? Why would some leave everything to follow him and then one day die brutal deaths because they refused to deny their faith?
The Christian faith is a religion practiced throughout the world, among many others. I consider it right for me. While many profess that theirs is the “right” one, the truth is, we cannot all be right. There are too many distinguishable differences that separate religions. The amazing thing about the U.S. is the government does not force upon its citizens which religion to follow. We all have the right to openly choose. Others may choose differently from me, which is the choice I wish for them to have and will gladly respect it.
After all, I may be wrong. Suppose at the end of life, death comes and after those final seconds there turns out to be no Heaven or hell. Does that thought frighten you? If life seems intolerable, then the answer of course may be no. But if you love life, the answer might be an overwhelming yes. At one point in my life, I was greatly fearful of it. But that thought does not scare me anymore.
Sometimes people wish Christian’s would keep their mouths shut. The trouble is, although I respect your decision to choose, I would be a total monster if I kept quiet about this one thing. I am beyond convinced that my relationship with God has added more value to my life than any other thing humanly or spiritually possible. I believe that no other thing could bring me more joy, more peace, more of the exhilarating feeling of being alive than my personal relationship with him through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. What started as a years’ long journey to know who God was has led me to believe all of who God is – everything!
One day I may be proven to be the biggest fool on earth for my beliefs, but there is one thing for certain in my mind; one thing that moves me. The result of my decision to follow Christ has worked for me, time and time again. Even during the times when it seems like it didn’t work, later I find out, it always does. I suppose that’s why so many people around the world have witnessed God’s power at work in their lives and have chosen to follow him also. Speaking as someone who once hated life – what a difference Jesus makes. I now love life. I now love people. I now love God but more importantly, I now understand more of what it means to be loved by him!