by RICK NISCHALKE
Does God exist? – cont’d
This post is the fourth in a series on how to survive parental alienation. If you haven’t read the previous posts I would suggest doing so before reading this one.
In my previous post #3 of this series we looked at the first 3 reasons in the following list. Today we will explore the last 2:
It’s been my experience through the years that there are really only a handful of reasons that people refuse to believe in (or acknowledge) the existence of God.
- Some of us have never really given much thought or done our own research on the subject, so we end up accepting and repeating what some authority figure in our life told us we should believe.
- Some believe that our cultures’ “current version of science” has all of the answers and they are under the false belief that no one of above average intelligence believes in Intelligent Design and Creation.
- If God does in fact exist, this truth may require changes in their lifestyle that they are unwilling to make.
- Many become angry and appalled with the injustice, evil and pain in this world. They ask “If God exists how could He let all of this happen”?
- In some cases people that used to believe in God change their view because they feel that God has let them down in some way. They become disillusioned by their own false understanding about who God is and how He operates in our world. They believe that God has an obligation to answer every prayer the way that they think He should or He must not be real or trustworthy. Or worse yet, if they are in deep enough pain and confusion they simply walk away from a relationship with Him. Sometimes they profess not to believe in Him at all, but most of the time they are just angry, hurt and disillusioned by their pain so they refuse to worship, follow or even acknowledge God’s existence anymore.
Addressing the 4th reason on our list let me start by saying that all of us should be angry, shocked and appalled with the injustice, evil and pain in our world. Each of those things should cause us great consternation and deep reflection about the world we live in and the very meaning of life itself.
Many of us just haven’t been able to make sense of how a loving and all-powerful God could allow evil to permeate our society. We earnestly wrestle with this seeming disparity and are at a loss as to how to reconcile these two “opposing truths”. If you find yourself in that situation, I would refer you back to the 2nd post in this series for insight into this perplexing issue. Specifically go to the section that says: “Let’s begin exploring God’s existence by examining some the basics of the Christian faith.” Although this may not answer your questions in their entirety, it’s certainly a good start. I have also recommended several books that will discuss these matters in depth.
But here’s where it gets dicey, the conclusions we come to about these difficult realities of life, can be heavily influenced by the first 3 reasons listed above. If someone hasn’t invested the time and effort to come to a proper understanding of who God is, and they refuse His offer of salvation because they don’t want the accountability that goes with that, then they use the atrocities of life to reinforce why they shouldn’t “believe” in a God that would allow those things. The sad but interesting thing is that these are usually the very people that push God away (out of our schools, public meetings, court etc.) and deny Him every chance they get, yet they rail against Him when there’s a natural catastrophe or a sociopath goes on a rampage etc.
The 5th reason on this list is much more complex and difficult to explain with a brief explanation. There are really only a few core reasons that people “stop believing in” or turn away from God.
I’ll take the sadist but easiest reason first. They never really “believed” in Him in the first place. Many people make a profession of faith at some point in their life. But not all of them come to a saving faith in Christ. Many are moved by the emotion of the moment or perhaps a friend, family member or peer pressure that encourages them to profess their faith in Christ. Any of us could “believe” that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. But that belief alone isn’t an acknowledgement of sin or faith in Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation is it? That type of superficial faith or belief, will never see us through the hard times and complexities of life. Look in your bible in the book of Matthew 13: 1-22 to see what Jesus had to say about “the parable of the sower”. The good news is that if you fall in this category, today is a brand new day! Don’t count on anything from your past. Ask Jesus to give you the faith to believe and follow Him today and to forgive all of your sins.
Then there are those of us that have truly believed to the point of salvation but have gotten lost along the way. This life is brutal! Sometimes the pain and disillusionment is so intense that we turn away from God completely for a time. Most of the time, it’s because we feel that God has let us down in some way. Often we become disillusioned by our own false understanding about who God is and how He operates in our world. We believe that God has an obligation to answer every prayer the way that they think He should or He must not be real or trustworthy.
There are two deadly teachings in many Christian churches today. One is that once you become a follower of Jesus Christ you won’t experience hardship, adversity or persecution in this life. The other is that if you “do all the right things”, only good things or blessings will come into your life. And if God doesn’t answer your prayer the way that you think He should, than either you don’t have enough faith or there is un-confessed sin in your life. Both of those teachings are a lie. In scripture Jesus disputes both of these false beliefs.
Jesus promises us that when we follow Him we can expect persecution for doing so. This means that when we walk with Him, those that hate Him will hate us and everything we stand for. Obviously, that doesn’t mean when we do something wrong or sinful and there are consequences to our actions that we can say we are be “persecuted for Him”.
So what happens when we pray for “good” things and God doesn’t give us the answer that we prayed for? What if we read our bible, say our prayers, go to church, treat others kindly and try to be the best person we can be, and then He still doesn’t give us what we want? These types of circumstances cause many to have a crisis of faith. Now is the time you will find out what your faith is really made of.
Have you been worshiping a much smaller god that you have created in your own mind, one that is a magic genie of sorts, where you can make a wish and he will grant it? One that operates based upon what you see as real and important and is limited by your perspective? Have you ever wanted something bad enough to pray for it only to find out later that is was a really good thing you didn’t get what you prayed for? Maybe there were other factors involved that would have made it a terrible thing in your life if you got the thing or circumstance you asked for. Do you really want to follow a god that is that small?
Or do you have faith in the Omniscient, Omni-present, Omnipotent, all-powerful, loving and wise God of the bible? A God that is all knowing, not limited by time or space, and so powerful that nothing in the heavens or on earth can stop Him from accomplishing His purposes. A God that loves us so much that sometimes He allows this sinful and fallen world to drive us closer to Him so that He can meet us at an even deeper level, to show us His love and compassion for us.
We are so limited. We are finite beings and He is not. God has revealed much of His plan for mankind in His Word. He has also revealed many aspects of His character including His great love and compassion for His people, His holiness and righteousness, His willingness to forgive us while we were yet sinners through the provision of His son. But much of His plan is still a mystery.
Here’s what you need to decide. Can God be trusted? Can God be trusted with your children? Can He be trusted even when lies and evil seem to prevail and darkness seems the victor? If He is a loving and all-powerful God than how could He allow such injustice and evil to seemingly prevail? Those are great questions, questions that only He can answer. And He wants and invites you to seek Him for those answers.
Even as you read this, please remember that I have not been in my sons’ lives since 1999. I lost all contact with them when they were ages 4 & 7. I have seen my share of lies, darkness and corruption prevail. So even though I draw my conclusions based upon how God has revealed Himself in scripture, I have also walked with Him through the darkest days of my life.
I have decided to trust God no matter what. He sees what I cannot. He knows what I do not. He has revealed Himself in scripture and in my life as the only one who can be completely trusted. He will never leave or forsake us (or our children). My children were a gift from Him and I thank Him for every day I had with them. Although I hope to be reconciled to them again on this earth, I know I will be with them in heaven for eternity.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Look at the stories of Job, David, Daniel and Joseph just to name a few examples of the fulfillment of His promise.
This life is not the end of your story or His plan for us. Justice, real honest unflinching justice will prevail in the end. Just please make sure that you are covered by the blood of Jesus when His judgment day comes.
In summation, trust God’s character and promises even when everything around you screams that He doesn’t care. He cares more than you know. Look to Jesus and you will find assurance of His love for you. May you find the healing, peace and hope that only He can bring.
Have a great day!