In my 20’s, I really questioned God’s existence to the point of becoming agnostic. There were multiple reasons for this, but one in particular comes to mind. Although my life, at the time, seemingly was coming together, I really didn’t know who I was, and the little I did know, I didn’t like. What I saw in myself were lots of imperfections, mistakes, and failures that seemed endless. Looking back now, I think I had used certain arguments and outlooks to question-dispute and ignore God’s existence because I was really afraid of Him. I was afraid I was a disappointment to Him, and that He was displeased or angry with me. It was easier to live, ultimately, by ignoring God rather than feel more disappointment.
“I’m here to tell you God is not mad at you.” Chad Mattson, the lead vocalist of Unspoken, said these simple words to the audience of a Christmas concert my family recently attended. It’d be cool if after his statement that a dramatic scene unfolded where my eyes were miraculously opened to this truth and my life was changed. But I can’t say that. The truth is I have known this for awhile now. But, as with most things in life, it was nice to hear and be reminded of this fact. You see, I still mess-up and have failures with times of anger and frustration with myself. But instead of turning away and ignoring God for fear of his anger and disappointment, I turn and come to Him. When I do, I don’t feel anger, disappointment, or shame; I feel love, acceptance, and strength.
I did not come to this understanding easily, for my mind and heart continued to often still question even God’s existence. I took time to read various books, and more importantly time to think and reflect on life. Over this time, I can say I became like the blind man Jesus Christ healed: “One thing I do know that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25, ESV). You may have heard recently that Michio Kaku, a world-renowned physicist, concluded from all his study and research that “it is clear that we (humanity) exists in a plan…created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.” You see, all forms of study, whether it be sciences or philosophy or arts, ultimately point to the existence of God. But how do we know he loves us? That answer is simple and answered with a name: Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel of John, the life of Jesus Christ is told, documenting many of his teachings and miracles. One story in particular has stood out to me when thinking about understanding Jesus’ love. In chapter 8, there is a dramatic scene where a woman caught in adultery is dragged by religious leaders and brought to Jesus to hear his judgement. To their discouragement, Jesus calls-out the hypocrisy of these religious leaders by saying “The perfect one among you, go first; throw the stone.” After they all left, realizing they were unable to rightly condemn this woman, Jesus tells her “Neither do I (condemn you). Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” Jesus sees her brokenness, disappointment and shame, but instead of answering with anger he does so with mercy, love, and acceptance.
Nothing on this earth or of humanity can express genuine mercy, love, and redemption like the Christmas story. In it, “The Word Logos became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14, NIV) for the purpose “not to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17, NIV). God is real, and He is not mad at us. He loves us.
John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”