faith in the things you can't see

You don’t have to see it to believe in it. Take for instance gravity. Is it there? Can you see it? How about air? Is it there? Can you see it? Yet, you believe it’s there.

What do you believe? The Apostles’ Creed was written in 4th Century Rome. It was used in worship and catechism. There’s an earlier version that was called the “Old Roman Creed” used as early as the second century. Then what we know today as The Apostles’ Creed was found in a letter that Marcellus of Ancyra wrote in Greek to Julius (Bishop of Rome). It was about AD 341. Consequently, approximately 50 years later, Tyrannius Rufinus wrote a commentary on the Creed in Latin. He believed the apostles wrote the creed together after Pentecost and before they left Jerusalem to preach. You can find the title “Apostles’ Creed” mentioned by Ambrose in about 390. Of course, it went through changes but it represents what the church calls the “rule of faith.”

During the 2nd century, it was used in Baptism taking place on Easter Sunday morning. A person would stand in front of the bishop and then walk into the water.

Do you believe…

Do you believe in the Creator?

Do you believe in Jesus?

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?

Why do we believe the things we believe? That’s such a difficult question to answer. Especially when what you believe is not seen. You can’t touch it. Humbling ourselves so we can listen to how someone believes what they believe and why isn’t easy. If that person doesn’t believe as we believe then what? If you listen that person may or may not change your idea. They may even convince you more of your belief but at least take the time to listen.

Look at the issue of school shootings. How do we fix it? So many opinions. So many ideas. First, let’s look at turning and repenting. Then maybe we can find an answer to most questions. Think about this as well—strong convictions affect our beliefs. It’s never a bad idea to research what we believe.

Wesleyan Quadrilateral: is a methodology for theological reflection that is credited to John Wesley, leader of the Methodist movement in the late 18th Century. The term itself was coined by 20th century American Methodist scholar Albert C. Outler.

Let’s look at our belief system like this and why we believe in a one true God:

  1. Bible – primary author.
  2. The tradition of the church culture and family.
  3. Reason-use our mind to probe and think through situations.
  4. Experience-personal and collective of community

Take a moment to think about this: The Apostles’ Creed starts with “I Believe.” Belief comes out of the desire for something more. Faith is that search for something more. What is your something more?

Here’s what I believe and where my faith began:

Being brought up in a strict Southern Baptist home, my testimony begins when I discovered God actually existed. That happened at age sixteen. My mother, being brought up the same, strict Southern Baptist way, made certain I attended Sunday school and church every single Sunday. And every Wednesday night prayer meeting. My only excuse for being absent from church was death. If I had found myself shooting blood out of my nose, my mother would have said, “Stick a tissue up your nose and let’s go!”

As children, some of us rebel when made to do things we aren’t inclined to do. I happen to have been one of those kids. However, courage not being my middle name, I hid the fact that I resented my parents for making me go to church and decided, although not voicing it aloud, that I simply wouldn’t believe in God, just out of spite. Even though I knew in my heart of hearts God existed, I tried to make myself believe that He didn’t. God waited patiently.

In 1966 at the age of 14, death hit me full face. My Uncle Buck, age 36, died in a horrific car accident. I adored him. His loss bored a hole in my heart that I refused to allow God to heal. How could He possibly make up for allowing Uncle Buck to die? It became a rage against a God I’d determined not to believe in that lasted two years. God waited patiently.

At the age of sixteen, at my mother’s urging (nagging really), I attended a Christian camp with my youth group at church. Although I’d gone to camp in the past, it was not my intention to go this particular year. Since the death of my uncle, camp had turned out badly, only alienating me more from God. I resented being there and I resented my parents even more for making me go. But when I voiced my opposition in going this particular year, my mother stood her ground and gave me no other choice. She knew my separation from God. She also knew, somehow, the importance of this particular year. I remember telling God—yeah, the one I didn’t believe in—that I’d never forgive Him for killing Uncle Buck and I’d never let Him into my heart. God waited patiently.

Photo by Georgina Vigliecca on Unsplash

When camp week rolled around, I made sure my armor was secure. No matter what, God would never win. The first day and night I got settled and visited with the other prisoners (a/k/a my friends). On day two, God laid the groundwork for my salvation. I never saw it coming. The night of day two we all filed into the main building to listen to our speaker for the week—a young man who came to us by way of that ever famous hard-knocks life route. I never enjoyed listening to these people because they all said the same thing. But this guy was very easy on the eyes, so I tolerated him. This plan of God’s didn’t fool me for a second. Using a cute guy to deliver His message would still fall on deaf ears. His attempt to try and edge His way into my heart would be met with resistance. God waited patiently.

By the end of the evening, the young man God sent my way had left such an impression on me I found myself opening up in ways that scared me down to my toes. God used that young man’s story of drug abuse, rebellion, and his mother’s incessant nudging, well nagging, toward God’s love to show me that He will never forsake us. He will never stop loving us no matter how snotty we become. He will walk with us through every valley. He will cry with us through every tragedy. He will rejoice with us in all our triumphs.

Upon returning to church for our welcome back celebration, I dedicated my life to Christ.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The road since then has had many potholes. But God has blessed me far more than I’m sure I deserve. There have been times when I’ve fallen on my face in prayer. When we thought we’d lost our daughter forever, God brought her home safely and reminded us of the prodigal son. When loved ones passed away, God cradled us in His arms. When we lost our precious grandson, God covered our hearts with His loving mercy. When our two other grandbabies slipped away into death, God reached out His hand and showed us how life comes full circle with the joyous birth of another granddaughter.

Being an only child, the death of my parents hit me hard. My daddy in December 1995 and my mother in September 2014. With the loss of my mother, I felt orphaned and a bit lost in my days. During the time since her death, I’ve kept close to the Lord so as not to drift in the wrong direction. He has comforted me with His presence and His love. He has reminded me of the time when I thought I was all that and didn’t need Him. He’s made sure the lessons He’s taught me thus far have stuck. He’s put people in my path to challenge me, teach me, and shower me with friendship. For all those blessings I am truly grateful.

My love for the Lord and His word runs deep as I strive each day to make Him proud. I’m pretty sure dealing with me has been a crazy ride thus far, leaving God shaking His head at my calamities and shortcomings. How blessed am I though, that God waited patiently?

The importance of the Cross—How far God will go to save us because He loves us so much. When you say, “I believe it” you’ll find those words points you towards something more.

How you live, treat others, vote, treat your spouse, raise your kids. It all matters. Striving to live out God’s love in action. I’m confounded as to what people do without faith. Without a belief system.

Point of decision: Do you believe this or not? Consider this: Jesus is that something more. I pray you will find it if you haven’t as of yet. Do you put your faith in something you can’t see? Or do you only put your faith in those things you can see? Do you put your faith in that something more?

Here’s the ultimate question: What say you?

And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!