Belief and faith where none is deserved?
People have asked “How you can believe in a God given your past and the things you’ve suffered?”. I was told “If God was all good explain your past.”
This has eaten at me for some time. Not because of the question nor statement. It ate at me because I never asked how can I believe in God. I’ve always asked how one could not. Given the frailty of life and sciences inability to explain the origins of the universe. At some point even with science you reach the inexplicable.
Blaise Pascal said “Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.”
Some pretty wise words even to one who doesn’t believe. Wager that he does exist because if you lose then you’ve lost nothing but if you win, you win it all. And I am asked how I can believe? Again how can you not?
Now examine my past. I’ve come to see my trials for what they are. They are the perfect gift of free will used in imperfect ways. God gave us brains and will to choose our path how awesome is that in that he trusts us so much to say you’re free to choose.
Some choose paths that cause great harm and others great good. I still marvel at his trust that I will use my gift of choice to honor him rather than disgrace him.
Now looking back on my past was God there in my trials?
Was he there when I was raped? Yes he was. He was there fighting for my life and saving it. The men who raped me used their free will to bring shame to him. They used it for harm and evil in a most disgusting way.
So where was God while I fought for my life? Where was he in my pain? I’ll tell you his role in that day.
His mercy and power saved my life that day. I firmly believe then as I do now death was my only way out. God intervened and brought me to the brink of death so it would end and it did. He brought the policeman along and made him stop. His hands never left his daughter not for a moment. While he couldn’t stop the evil of free will he could and did save my life that day.
That’s the thing about our free will is God trusts us to choose wisely. Not all do to be sure. Even in mankinds free will Gods hands are seen as he fought along side me and saved me that day.
He was there when I had to choose to carry a child conceive of rape or to abort this child. In this he shared wisdom and strength. I couldn’t murder the baby inside me and the blessing I now know as my son was born into this world. My sons joy and love of life saved his mother’s life. His life and his childhood has restored mine that was taken from me.
God was surely there when my parents stood by this choice against the world when all said to abort. Doctors said I couldn’t carry the baby to term and that he’d die most likely anyway. I said if he dies it’s gods choice not mine. Friends and neighbors said I should abort I wouldn’t want to know a baby conceived this way was alive. I was told by some religious friends evil seed begets evil off-spring and to destroy the evil inside me.
God was surely there as my family stood against the world. He was surely there saying to me save the baby and save yourself. God was there and I know it by the blessing that is my son. The worst events of my life gave way to the single greatest gift of my life; Motherhood.
That wasn’t the last time he’d save my life. Was he there when I tried to kill myself? You bet and a second time his grace alone was all that stood between me and death. The day I climbed the mountain and decided to let go. I fell over two hundred feet and landed on a small ledge about three hundred feet from the base. I remember bouncing at least once.
How did I remain on that three foot wide ledge and not fall an additional three hundred feet to certain death?
By chance (also know as divine intervention) a hiker and pre-med student studying to be a trauma surgeon happened to the first responder. Add to that the EMS crews were already gathered practicing for of all things Traumatic fall injuries. All the equipment and the special ambulance already virtually on-site.
The doctors said to my family I had hours to live. When that mark passed they told my parents days maybe a week. Soon it was she will never recover from the coma. Until the day I opened my eyes and the first face I saw was that of my mother smiling at me.
Behind her I swear I saw my heavenly father who sat watch as well. He spoke to me while I lay there in a coma. He told me it wasn’t time for me to come home yet. He told me things would be alright.
Everyone from the pre-med student who found me to the paramedics and doctors who treated me all said she shouldn’t be here and she won’t be for long. They all wrote me off but God whispered today is not the day you come home. They said I’d never recover, I’d never walk, and through it all God said “Trust me” and I did. Here I stand now surfing, running and living.
From my trials have come blessings like my son, a deeper appreciation for life and the firm knowledge that God loves me. I’ve come to know I was never alone in anything. I know my heavenly father was with me through it all.
So from every trial something beautiful has been given. From my rape, my son. From my suicide attempt an appreciation for life. From my depression and darkness a deep understanding of those who suffer and an ability and willingness to help them.
I have learned from our broken state we can’t hear him, we don’t see him, we can’t touch him but he’s there. I have learned from every trial something can be learned to bring us closer to our creator. I’ve learned much in my time on earth and there is still much to learn.
Do I hope my trials are over? Well I hope the worst of them are. But should more trials come I will look to the future knowing full well blessings await where trials now stand.
Gandhi knew what faith was: “God is, even though the whole world deny him. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.” He also said: “God, as truth, has been for me a treasure beyond price. May He be so to every one of us.”
I have learned the meaning of faith is believing when you have no reason to continue to believe. When life tells you there is no God and you answer with of course there is he is standing right there. Faith is the knowledge that you exist and so does God.
How can I still believe in God after my rape, pregnancy, suicide attempt, years in depression and darkness; after all I’ve suffered in this life?
How could I not since by all accounts except divine intervention I shouldn’t be here today.
How could I not when all I need is to look around and I see him in everything.
How could I not as I’ve seen the worst evils transformed to great blessings.
How could I not when Science and logic fail to explain the vast universe and the incredible planet we call home.
How could I not believe when he never stopped believing in me?
How can I still believe in God? Why would you expect I couldn’t? He moves in my life and that truth is self-sustaining. The better question is How could I not believe after all he’s saved me from and blessed me with?
I leave you with this thought by William Arthur Ward said: “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you’?”
~Michelle Styles – March 13, 2014