No time for God?
So what is this poster all about? It is simply an invitation to you to think about God. “Why should I want to do that?” Well, it depends whether you are interested in discovering whether we can know anything about God and what He is like, and whether, small as we are, we matter to Him.
Christians believe both on the basis of the Bible’s teaching, and from their own experience of faith, that God is knowable! That is because the Bible speaks of the unique creator God who reveals himself to humankind, firstly to the people of ancient Israel, and then most completely in the person of Jesus Christ. It is as we understand this story (as it unfolds in the Bible) and accept the New Testament’s claims about the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and respond his call to repent of our wrong doing and to believe in him, that we encounter God in a way which was never possible before. This is putting it at its simplest of course. Yet this remains the abiding experience of Christians throughout the ages.
There is a certain brand of paint that has the following strap line – “it does what it says on the tin.” We know what that means. Christians are likewise persuaded that “God does what He says in the book.” In other words, as we seek him with a humble heart God draws us to himself. And actually that last bit is really important. The Bible shows again and again how God is hidden from the proud but reveals Himself to those who humble themselves before Him. In finding God, humility is the starting point. This means having a true and right appreciation of who we are, what we are – what is in our heart – and of our need and desire to be forgiven by a holy and righteous God and made anew. That is where Jesus comes into the story and why the cross and resurrection is all important in this process of being made right with God.
Some people may be satisfied with knowing about God. That is necessary. But the Bible shows us that it is also possible to know God himself. For those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ as the mediator between God and mankind, life has been changed. We have come to see the world differently. It has given Christians a greater appreciation of creation, of the sacredness of human life, of the power of love, forgiveness and compassion and so much more. Life has a meaning and a purpose that it never had before. Again and again, new Christians will say this very thing, “I am seeing the world entirely differently. It is as if I now see it in full colour whereas before it was like black and white.”
I knew a man who died not so long ago. I first met him through his wife who was a member of our church. She died of cancer, and naturally he was devastated. He was a self-confessed atheist and very vocal about his convictions. Although his wife of many years was a practising and committed Christian, he didn’t understand it and wanted no part of it. Two or three years after his wife’s death, I met him again on his way home from the paper shop. I hadn’t seen him in the intervening period. There was a noticeable change in his demeanour. He looked brighter, happier and was far more engaging than I remember. He proceeded to tell me that he had become a Christian. It had troubled him that he had never really tried to find out about the Christian faith that mattered so much to his wife throughout her lifetime. Maybe, he thought, he at least ought to find out why it mattered so much to her.
And so he started an ‘Alpha’ course at a local church. He was very sceptical to begin with. By his own admission, however, the more he learnt about Jesus Christ, the more his atheistic objections began to fall away. Before the end of the course, he had come to that place recognised by so many Christians, that this gospel is real and it is true. He had come to faith and his life had been changed.
“You never thought I would have become a Christian, would you?” He asked me candidly as we stood on the street corner chatting together. I am not sure what answer I gave, but the evidence of a changed life was clear to see. It was no illusion, no five minute wonder as time would prove. “My one regret was that I did not discover this earlier in my life.” Yes, I could see that. He and his wife would have had so much more to share and maybe it would have changed the whole direction of their life together. For most of his life, he had no time for God. But when he began to seek God, even with doubts and unbelief, he encountered far more than he could have expected. He had a new found happiness and an eternal hope of a resurrection life promised by Jesus Christ to all who believe in him.
This life is no rehearsal. It is the only chance we get to discover whether God is real and whether we matter to Him. Don’t be put off by doubters and sceptics. Find out for yourself. It is too late to think about this when life is over. It is the here and now that counts. Without Jesus Christ you are missing so much. Don’t take my word for it – take his. Find time for God.
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