"I want to believe in God, but find it hard. What can I do to believe?"
I got this question this past Sunday after we'd invited listeners to our church radio broadcast to text us.
I understand how hard it can be to believe. For a decade, I considered myself an atheist. I scoffed at the notion of God. A superficial understanding of science and its discoveries of the mechanics of life had led me to conclude that God was a fiction. After all, nobody had seen God while peering into the depths of space, the oceans, or subatomic particles.
This was silly on my part, of course. because there isn't a conflict between believing in God and being engaged in--or appreciating--science. As someone has said, "Science is largely, thinking God's thoughts after God."
The Bible and Science each ask different questions about the universe in which we live.
Science asks: What? When? How? These questions are important in helping us to understand the mechanics of the universe and how we can harness or "co-conspire" with them to do useful things.
But the Bible asks other questions, ones that science is incompetent to answer: Why? Who? The religions of the world show that human beings have considered these two questions and come up with all sorts of creative answers to them. But the Bible is the testimony of thousands of people over thousands of years who weren't speculating about why life exists or who made it, but reporting their encounters with the One Who created the universe and revealed His will for humanity and creation.
The Bible claims that over time, God has revealed Himself to the human race and ultimately, in the person we Christians call God the Son, Jesus. In Jesus, a man in Whom the full deity of God lived, we see a God of infinite love and rectitude.
According to the Bible, faith in God isn't something we claw to attain. It's God's gift to those who are willing to believe. The Bible also says that it's God's Holy Spirit, the third Person of the one God, Who persuades us to trust in God as revealed in the crucified and risen Jesus.
"God," we might tell the Lord, "there are lots of things I don't understand. I have many questions. And so much in the world is untrustworthy. But I want to trust in You. If Jesus displays Who You are, then I want to believe in You."
If you want to believe, God will build up faith in Him within You. You may feel that your faith is only, as Jesus once put it, the size of a small mustard seed. But that's OK. God doesn't judge us on the size of our faith, only on the One in Whom we place our faith.
As Jesus told Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."
A little faith in the big God we meet in Jesus, Who gave His life for us and then rose to open up eternity to those who trust in Him, is all you need. And if you want to believe, then I would say, you already do believe.
But your question indicates that you want your faith to grow. God wants the same thing.
That's part of why God has given you the Church.
Find a congregation where the Bible is preached and Jesus is exalted as the only pathway to knowing God.
Then get involved in that church's Sunday School and Bible studies and service projects.
You will learn more of God and you will see up close and personal, ordinary people like you and me, who wrestle with life's troubles and tragedies, yet trust in God. Your faith will grow in the process.
God bless you as you grow!