Do you know God?

Reading my blog, it is obvious that I write to people who believe in God. Maybe you don’t fall into that category; maybe you’re asking questions about God and that’s why you’re here, or maybe you’re just a friend or relative so you read my musings just to be polite, or you have other reasons that have landed you here. Whatever your reasons, I do think that with some explanation, you would want to know God. That’s a bold statement, I know, but bear with me and at least read what I have to say, then you decide.

My husband teaches social studies at a Christian school and has this Bible verse up on his wall: “From one man (God) made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:26-28). This verse tells me that God wants me to find Him because He is the One who made me and keeps me alive. He wants me to find Him? Really? It almost seems like God is playing a game of cosmic hide and seek! If He exists and wants me to know Him, then why doesn’t He just show Himself?

There was a day when the people God created were not only looking at Him physically, but were walking with Him and conversing with Him every day in a perfect place very unlike the world we live in today. You may have heard the story of the first people created by God named Adam and Eve (you can read this story in the Bible in Genesis chapters 1 through 3). Into this perfect world where God’s created people, made in His image, lived in total trust of Him, a deceiver came to Eve to entice her not to trust God anymore but to choose her own way instead. She made a choice, then, that went against what God had said, and then Adam did as well. Not trusting what God tells us and doing what we want to do instead is something the Bible calls sin. Simply put, sin is doing the thing that is not right. The Bible says that God is perfect truth and perfect light and perfect life, everything He does is right. Sin, on the other hand, is deception, darkness, and death. Sin and God cannot exist together, so God had to separate Himself from Adam and Eve. Not only that, but Adam and Eve now were “infected” by sin, and it led not only them on a path to death, but every person who would come after them and all the created world as well.

You may wonder how I know this isn’t all just a story someone made up. Just because something is in writing, doesn’t mean it’s true! And since we can’t see God, how are we supposed to believe that He really does exist and is interested in us knowing Him? Though sin has separated us from being able to see God, and though it does take faith to reach out to Him and believe that He really does want us to know Him, He hasn’t left us without good evidence of His existence. Books have been written giving many proofs to God’s existence, but here I will just point out two evidences that He exists.

First is the evidence we find in creation itself. The Bible says in Romans 1:12 that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Recently, my neighbor was pointing out to me the perfect pattern in the face of a sunflower. No matter where a sunflower grows, I will always find this beautiful pattern of seeds in its face. How could that just happen? And what about how the squirrels know when to start packing away food for the winter? Or the fact that some butterflies’ wings open to look like an animal with big eyes to keep predators away? Or have you ever looked up at the stars and realized how very small you are in this big universe, and yet recognized how you yourself are an intricate combination of perfectly formed parts within your body that work within themselves to give you things like your sight or your ability to walk? A short trek down your street with your eyes looking at creation will give you many reasons to see that something, someone had to have designed all of this. God says His creation speaks to His existence.

Then there is the matter of sin, of not always doing what God says is right. A quick glance at the newspaper reveals that sin is alive and well in the world. Without the Bible saying so, some areas might be hard to define as sin, but there are many things that pretty much anyone you ask would say is wrong (and those who wouldn’t are usually the ones doing the things we define as wrong). Remember how I said that God made people in His image? This explains the general ability among humans to discern right from wrong. When people with guns enter schools and kill children and staff, we are horrified! When someone is in a job that is supposed to help people get ahead, and instead they take the money entrusted to them and use it for themselves, we all proclaim it as wrong. When parents lock a child in a closet and the child starves to death, no one comes in to defend them and say that their actions were right. And what about the expectation that our children will tell us the truth, and our displeasure when they don’t? Then there’s the guilt we feel when we tell a friend’s secret to another and get caught. This points to the fact that people don’t always do the right thing; people are, as the story of Adam and Eve shows us, infected with sin.

Okay, so sin has separated us from God, but you say He wants me to know Him? It sounds impossible. I have good news! From the day that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God never stopped loving them and wanting them to be with Him, so He made a way to take care of this sin problem at great expense to Himself. He sent His own son to pay the death price for our sins, His holy blood spilled out that could reach into our very beings and cleanse us of our sin. Jesus not only died, but came back to life, conquering the power of death! The book of John in the Bible explains how Jesus came to this earth and gave His life to pay the death penalty for sin (if you’re not familiar with it, I encourage you to read it). God says that if you admit that Jesus is the One who is in charge, not you (kind of like going back to the Garden of Eden and reestablishing God as the One who made you and knows what is best for you, and telling Him you are going to trust Him and not yourself), and if you claim Jesus’ death payment for yourself, you will no longer be separated from Him. You will be saved. Romans 10:9 in the Bible says “that if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

All people die, that is obvious, but what happens after death depends on what you choose in this life. The necessary payment for sin is death, no way around it. When people die, the death payment is made, either by themselves (resulting in separation from God and everything good forever), or by Jesus if they chose that. When the payment is made by Jesus, the person is cleansed from his sin and now will spend forever with God and others who have trusted Jesus in a place that is perfect and good in every way. Death is not the end of a person, people never cease to exist forever. Each person will spend eternity in the delights of God or in the devastations of Hell. That is why I want you to know God — I want you to experience eternal LIFE… starting now!

You may be thinking, “Oh boy, here it comes. She’s going to tell me all the rules I will have to follow upon my acceptance of God’s offer, and I’m not so sure I want to hear it.” I have more good news for you! God attached nothing to His offer but admitting that Jesus is Lord and accepting His death payment for you. Now of course, believing Jesus is Lord means that you are telling Him you trust Him that He is the One who made you and who knows what is best for you. And that’s what He wants of you, to trust Him and listen to what He says. Religious people have come up with all kinds of rules you must follow to be God’s, and the rules vary from group to group. But Jesus just wants you to walk with Him, and He will show you what to do each step of the way. And He promises to do you good, like a good shepherd would do for his sheep (read John 10:1-16). Walking with Jesus doesn’t mean you won’t suffer through hard things, because the hard things are often the very things that let us experience life, and Jesus will walk with you in those hard things to make them bring good things to you. That’s something, though, that you will only understand as you begin to walk with Him.

Choosing to trust Jesus as Lord and receiving His death payment for your sins will start you on an eternal journey with Him. Put your hand in God’s, and let Him lead the way, because He will never let go of you, and He will lead you to life.

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