By Brie Gowen
When you decide to follow the Lord I think you develop a preconceived notion of how you should do that. For most it’s “the law” part that gets us. We see a list of things we should do if we love Jesus, and more importantly a list of things we definitely should not do. When we inevitably fail at one list or the other, and most likely both, naturally we feel like we have failed the Savior of the world. You have this guy who gave up His life for you before you were even born, who suffered this horrific death on the cross, yet you can’t even stop slipping four-letter expletives in traffic. Sheesh. You’ll never get this right.
Most people driven to “do good” and “do better” for God find it near impossible to maintain this level of perceived perfection without sin, and all the while forget about that great thing called grace. It’s the gift that began on the cross, and it’s a gift that is bestowed to us even now. Like, on a daily basis.
Aside from the false feeling that we must act a certain way if we are to be allowed entry into the kingdom of Heaven, we also cut ourselves very little slack in the faith department.
If only I believed more.
If only I didn’t doubt Him.
Never remembering that it isn’t about what we can do, but rather it’s about what He has already done. It’s just accepting that. The rest will come.
One area that has always bothered me, aside from being able to magically rid my life of those “stubborn sins,” is the area of doubt. I don’t mean doubting God can do this or God can do that. I would venture to say I do allow some grace to self in that arena. After all, a mustard seed is pretty small. No, what bothers me is when a rogue thought flits through my mind that challenges the existence of God, period. Do you know what I mean?
It’s that supremely logical part of your brain that might jump up unexpectedly and whisper, “does He really exist. Are you sure?”
Whenever I’m accosted by this stray, bothersome idea it is almost like a passing car on the highway. I see it for just a moment, then it’s gone. The thought is dismissed by my faith almost as quickly as it arrives, but my own knowledge that it occurred at all causes me distress. Then I feel almost guilty for my rogue, uncontrolled, fleeting doubt. Ouch.
This doesn’t happen very often, but it did happen to me yesterday, and as times before I began to pray immediately. In fact, I had already been praying when it occurred. But after the passing sliver of doubt I prayed for God to speak to my heart.
I’m sorry, Lord. I don’t know why I doubt, but I know I love you. Please speak to my heart in a special way, and pour out your Holy Spirit upon me today.
Then I continued to pray as I had been before. I was reminded of a verse I had read just the previous day.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
As I thought about the verse quietly to myself, my 4-year-old daughter squirmed beside me. She was watching cartoons while I sipped coffee and prayed, and less than a few minutes had gone by since I had asked God to speak to my heart.
Suddenly, and out of nowhere, my 4-year-old spoke, “God is really real.”
I looked to her with a raised eyebrow, this child who had been engrossed in television.
“He is,” I agreed. “But how do you know?”
Then she laughed a tiny, musical laugh. “I just know.”
And that was that. She went back to watching cartoons, and I went back to praying. Or rather I went back to thanking. Thanking a faithful God who spoke to my heart through my child. He didn’t owe me any kind of proof. He just did it because He loved me. And the fact was He loved me even when I doubted Him. He loved me when I messed up and sinned the same sin a hundredth time after telling Him I was gonna do better. He loved me back when He knew I was gonna do that thing that makes me blush in shame even recalling it for a split-second, and He loves me knowing the mess I’ll probably make of things in the years to come. He loves me, and because of that He sacrificed Himself for me. It wasn’t because I was especially good, or even because I would never ask to see the nail scars in His hands. He just loves me despite all that.
I reckon I believe because of His love. I told my daughter tonight I loved her more than infinity, and she said, “That’s not possible. Nothing is more than infinity.”
I told her that God made love and He modeled it after His character. God is love, and this powerful loveline He extends to us has no end. In fact, it’s without limits, and because it’s so beyond anything we know we feel it deep inside our spirit. It just feels right. It completes us. That darn hole inside us that craves something special? It’s His infinite love that not only fills that void, but consumes us. That all-consuming love language tells me He is real. So when doubt tries to come, my spirit laughs in a tiny, musical voice, and it says, “I just know.”
I just know. And after His truth came out of my 4-year-old’s mouth, I don’t think I’ll ever doubt again.