A few weeks ago, maybe longer, I was having a conversation with a dear sister in Christ that touched on the ways we know our faith is for real - especially when there is doubt and disbelief swirling around us. We both wholeheartedly agree we have zero doubt in the power of following Christ, and discussed how this is true. That conversation planted a seed that night that has rooted and grown as I've spent time thinking of how rock solid my faith is that carries heavy conviction in my life...and why it does...
So...How do I know?
So many times I feel inclined to go to the earthly evidence: I could go into the rational, touchable, reasoning-focused proof. The apologetics angle. The evidence that we are faced with through our history that point to the reality of Christ's life and, more importantly, His resurrection: like the 500 who saw Him after the grave (that's not hallucination...not mass hysteria...that's a risen man), like the Gospels being recognized as the most reliable historical sources we have (with the most original copies of any ancient transcript). I could go into the fact that 12 very disappointed men saw who they thought was going to rule the world, overthrow the Roman empire; 12 men who gave up everything because of this hope...they saw this man hanging on the cross, beaten and mocked. They walked away from that cross feeling defeated. I could go into the fact that only one thing could possibly give them any real reason to tell others about Him, only one thing gave them incentive to spread the good news to the world: the fact that He rose from the grave. If he hadn't risen, why would they go around ticking people off (because it ruffled a whole lot of feathers)? Causing problems for themselves? They had absolutely nothing earthly to gain from this news - no wealth, no praise, no status...the world fought and continues to fight hard against it....in fact they lost their lives for the mission to give others the everlasting joy of finding Christ. Folks, have you ever offered your life for a lie you knew was not true? How about Paul (well Saul) who used to kill Christians, who was brought to his knees and Jesus changed him...that change was so powerful that Paul is responsible for planting a huge majority of the earliest churches, and a large portion of the New Testament. From a killer to an apostle who declared "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil 1:21)...Can you imagine that life shift?
No I could go into all that, but I won't. Because, while that is important, that is not how I know. How do I know? My life. In what seems like a moment, it changed. And that change started with what sounds so simple; it started with my focus - it went from the world to Jesus. It was a seemingly minor outward shift, but a shift of the heart that was so drastic, there is no ability to deny what happened.
David Crowder puts it quite well: "Felt like lightning hit my veins.
My dead heart began to beat.
Breath of God filled my lungs,
And the Holy Ghost awakened me"
So...How do I know?
That moment, it's as if I had spent my whole life in a crazy storm: things colliding into one another and ruin coming from carelessness, direction lost with winds coming from what seemed like every direction, minimal visibility, fear, worry, grabbing onto things hoping they would give me comfort. It was swirling around me. I realize now that I couldn't see. When I truly surrendered to Jesus, it's as if I moved to the calm center of that storm. It's as if I have stepped out of the world that is this swirling tornado...where I can see clearly and I am out of this crazy chase. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying I am not subject to the flying debri - the hurt of being in the storm, the struggle of walking against the winds - but it's undeniable the calmness that is inside that contradicts what is going on around me.
There is a peace in me...a stillness, a calmness. Regardless of the circumstances swirling around me, I'm held there. There is a part of me that is completely untouchable.
This stillness doesn't come from doing all the right things. It doesn't come from being "religious". It doesn't come from being able to argue logic for spirituality. It comes from that fact that I unarguably, undeniably know Him...and I know what He did for me. I know, through a distinct change in my heart, something so different from anything I've ever felt on this earth. When Jesus says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)....he's not saying that lightly. He is the way. He is the way to know our Father. He is the only way. Some may say that is narrow, but I heard part of a sermon recently that clarified it in an interesting and wonderful way: It's not narrow...it's specific. It's specific because our Father wants us to find Him. He is giving us specific directions to our place in His house. If I told you general, hypothetical ways to get to my house, chances are slim you'd get there...but if I truly want you there, don't you think I'd give you good, SPECIFIC directions? He is the truth. He is everything the Old Testament promised and every step of His life, death and resurrection is living proof of that. There is nothing fake, false or uncertain about Him. He is the life. He gives us the life we are born without: spiritual life. We are born dead (sounds like an oxymoron, but we are). We are born physically alive, but spiritually dead. He is the life we are without, and, man, is He a life worth having...and for eternity! And He died to give us that.
That's how I know.
Where do you stand? Have you found the calm in your storm? Do you know Jesus? If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about; if you've never felt like you have found something so insanely wonderful you would do anything to not let it go...pray for Him to reveal it to you. Ask Jesus to bring you to your knees. Whatever it takes. Because when you are there, you'll never want Him to let you go back into the storm alone.
Till He returns or calls me home Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.