Turning skepticism into belief and belief into faith has never been more challenging for everyday people than in our fast-paced American culture. Social media barrages us with horrific images, and marketing pushes people toward secular materialism. That makes the journey to true Faith difficult, but not impossible.
If we look at Psalm 139:7-10, the path may seem a bit clearer.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
For God is in all things and all things are God. The signs that can open our senses to religious epiphany are all around us, waiting to be recognized. And those are the moments, the moments when a profound experience draws us into it and we know, we just know.
Being in the Moment
Buddhist often speak about “mindfulness,” or being in the moment. To some degree, that philosophy has a great deal of value to Christians in terms of exploring faith. Anglers sometimes talk about standing in a stream as the sun rises and having an awe-inspiring feeling overcome them.
If you stop and think about it, isn’t that God revealing the Holy Spirit as it works through nature and into you? The sun may rise up a hundred times to a man or woman in that setting, but one time you can be struck, dumbfounded and connect with a higher power that exceeds the stream, trees, sunlight and certainly yourself. Such sublime moments are humbling and empowering all at once.
But the moments that seize our attention and make us aware of God’s presence don’t need to be sought out in unique settings alone. The angler or mountain climber may experience the power in places and times that are far different than our daily routines of making breakfast, going to work, taking care of children and doing the everyday things that bring people together as family and community.
The Bible has many verses to let us know that we can connect with God at any given moment. For example, Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” In other words, allow yourself to listen, hear and see the signs around you. Don’t let the concerns of tomorrow or next week take away what’s right in front of you now. A child’s first experience with the North star or watching a father swaddle an infant may suddenly wake you up to God’s plan and turn your belief into full-fledged Faith.
Be Open to God’s Message
Holy miracles are, historically speaking, quite rare. Yet, many Christians feel that God has spoken to them in profound and unexpected ways.
For instance, take popular culture items such as movies. In the Christian-oriented novel-turned-film “A River Runs Through It,” author and clergyman’s son Norman Maclean looks back over his family’s history and their connectedness to the Earth and God. He says,” Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. Some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.” God’s message abounds in those words.
The artists’ endeavors to write and create the film tie back to a profound experience about a person’s faith that serves to inform all of us. It’s there, in the words on several levels. The word of God and the words of his ancestors are in some way united. We may take that message as a touchstone and reflect later, while “still” and tie our family lineage to similar ideas and embrace an experience of our own. And, isn’t God speaking to us directly through these creative people and this work of fiction and film?
What may be the most important thing to take away from these messages that are directing us toward a one-to-one faith experience is that we remain open to the possibilities. That we do our best to be in the moment about the incredible blessings of daily life.
As John 4:16 teaches, “God is love, and anyone who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.”
~ 1776 Christian