Faith—An Experience of God

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

 

 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines faith as, “Confidence, reliance, belief, esp. without evidence or proof. The spiritual apprehension of divine truth or intangible realities.”

 

I am struck by the phrase, “without evidence or proof.” When I was 16 and chose to follow Christ, I was deeply touched by my experience. I sang songs, heard talks and read the Bible for six months searching for proof that believing in Jesus made sense. However, what moved me to ultimately dedicate my life to being a follower of Jesus was my experience. It was an elaborate symphony of sounds that all resonated in my soul awakening me to my deepest desires. It was the spiritual apprehension of intangible realities.

 

I felt wanted. I attended my first Young Life meeting because I was so touched when Shep and Jim invited me. I remember where I was in the library at Miramonte High School. I had no idea what Young Life was; however, it really didn’t matter. I was more interested in who invited me. These were good guys, leaders and more importantly at the time, athletes. I was blown away that they wanted me. I was lonely and hungry for affirmation. I wanted to be wanted.

 

I felt safe. After attending my first meeting, I was surprised by how relaxed and peaceful I felt. I had a sense of joy and aliveness. For the first time that I could remember I felt safe in a group of people. Nothing seemed to matter to them except for their love for each other and Jesus. I didn’t have to worry about feeling fat or not feeling cool. The only other place I had felt safe was on the field when I was fully engaged in the sport of football.

 

I felt OK. Although I had no real understanding of who Jesus was, I experienced the sense that I was accepted and wanted. I felt loved and people seemed to genuinely care about me. It had been such a long time since I had felt that way. When I was with this community, I started to let go of my ever-present fear that I would be found out and kicked out. I was sensing that I was OK just the way I was.

 

I felt I mattered. I could tell that people really wanted to be with me. People were calling me to make sure I was coming to things, and I didn’t miss a thing. I started feeling like I was part of the group even though I hadn’t formally accepted Christ.

 

The real test of my faith came when I was invited to attend the year-end Young Life celebration. It was a pool party and I was mortified. All my fears of rejection were contained in my mistaken belief that I was fat and undesirable. I kept dodging the invitations until Jim and Shep cornered me and demanded either a commitment or an explanation. I wasn’t going to lie and I didn’t want to tell—so I went.

 

It was only minutes after arriving at the party that I was in the pool having fun, having been distracted from my painful self-hatred. I was immersed in the waters of loving community. It was very early the next morning that I had an experience with Christ personally. After experiencing the love, acceptance and belonging I had been searching for, it seemed natural that I would express my love for and faith in Jesus.

 

For a time I cherished my experience with Jesus. As I got older, however, I moved away from the faith of my experience with Christ. Instead, I turned to validating my faith through Scripture, philosophy, and apologetics. I moved away from the faith in my experience. I am grateful that my journey of faith has brought me back to the solid rock of my experience.

 

I love to talk with others who are on the journey of faith and doubt. Authentic faith is alive and personal, whereas, belief is often dead and conceptual. I long to talk about who my faith is in rather than what I believe. I crave the community of those are living life in the here and now and sharing their experiences of faith.  I invite you to join us at the Center for Christian Life Enrichment. We are a community of those who want more authentic faith and intimacy with God and each other.

 

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)

 

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Published: 09.02.2012 / 12:00 PM

Category: Grappling with God,Relationships,Spiritual Growth

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