Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The gift you cannot see

   One of the things I loved most about Christmas when I was a kid was trying to guess what was in each package under the tree. Like every other kid, I made my list and sent a letter to Santa hoping he would deliver exactly what I wanted.
   The hardest part about waiting until Christmas morning was knowing inside that beautifully wrapped package, was something I yearned for. I had no way of knowing what was inside the package, because I couldn't see it. However, I knew when I opened the gift, it would make me very happy.
   Faith is a lot like a gift under the tree. To have faith is to have complete trust or confidence in someone or something. For rational adults, I can see where faith is hard at times. We are taught to have faith in God, without ever physically seeing Him. How do you express complete faith in someone you've never seen? How do you trust completely they exist? For me, faith can be hard at times; especially when you turn on the news and see such crazy things happening in our world.  I always go back to a scripture in 2nd Corinthians which says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  Absolute, 100%, blind faith…faith as a child.
   Many years ago, I was sitting in my den praying for a loved one who was going through a difficult time. I remember speaking their name out loud and asking God to intervene in their life. After several minutes of praying out loud, I experienced one of the calmest feelings I've ever had in my life. In an instant, I went from being overwhelmed with emotion to one of pure peace. To this day, I know God was standing next to me. Before those of you who don't believe as I do roll your eyes or close the page, hear me out.
   God didn't appear to me and tell me everything was going to be okay, all the problems solved and life was going to be rosy for this person. He didn't speak to me and say He would fix their problems or change their circumstances. He challenged my faith by allowing my mind to be open enough to sense His presence. I didn't have to see Him to know He was there.
   I've had conversations with people and they've asked me if I really believe in God. They've asked if I really believe in a heaven and hell. They've asked why I believe the things I do and "If God really exists" how can you prove He does. People who are agnostic or even atheist feel if they bombard you with questions, it will trip you up somehow. There is one thing I know for sure, I do not have the answers to all the questions concerning the existence of God. What I do have is faith He does. If you've ever looked into a newborn's eyes seconds after they made their way into the world, you know there is a God. If you've ever gazed into a star filled sky and been amazed at how we are just a tiny speck in an enormous galaxy, you know there is a God. It's not something that can be explained, it's something that is felt.
   Having faith doesn't mean we are free from heartache, free from disappointment or free from a world that is sometimes filled with sad situations. Faith means one day, those things won't exist anymore for anyone.
   Ralph Waldo Emerson said it perfect when he said, "All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen."

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