I have always believed in the existence of God and His role in the creation of humanity; it was what I was taught as a young child, having attended Sunday school each week, and it is what I read for myself in the Bible as I grew up and explored the ideas for myself.
However that does not mean that I do not have questions or ‘gaps of knowledge’ that I cannot account for. I wonder about the marriage between historical records, Biblical accounts, and scientific discoveries. I consider the tragedy in our world and ask why an Almighty Being would allow such things to happen. I ponder the existence of other religions, and question why I choose my beliefs over so many others. But this does not make me naive or ignorant, it simply means I place faith in the stop-gap.
Because what I can account for is this:
The crippling fear and insecurities that I carried for decades have been eradicated as I have personally seen God work miracles of healing and provision and timing in my own life.
I can testify to the healing in my heart of great pain and distress that I have experienced in my short life thus far.
I am grateful for the protection I have received; whether emotionally, while faced with hurtful relationships; or physically, when encountering violence while working on the streets of Brooklyn, New York.
I could share with you the countless moments of comfort I have felt through song, or a beautiful sunset, or a bright blue sky, or a right-place, right-time encounter with someone, as God lovingly makes Himself known to me in a variety of forms.
And as time has gone on, that belief that I loosely held as a child, I now own passionately and resolutely, because I have seen the goodness of God in my life. I have experienced the love that He has for me. I have received His blessing in so, so many ways.
As I reflect back on 2018, I wonder at the journey of faith I have traveled this year. I thank God for many, many answered prayers; for guidance, for financial provision, for provision of friends, for the health of my family, for provision of work, for a new home, for a new church, for opportunities, for emotional healing, for peace, and for rest. He has exceeded every expectation.
My favourite Bible verse, John 10:10, says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Fear seeks to steal our hope, kill our dreams, and destroy the good that we hold on to, but Jesus was born as a baby so that there could be a way for us to know God that was tangible and relatable. Jesus Christ came to unite us with God so that we could have the full and abundant life that we were created for; one free from shame, fear, and isolation. That is why I celebrate Christmas. That is why I celebrate the baby born in a stable in Bethlehem, two thousand years ago.
Today, my relationship with- and understanding of God is not one that can be explained, or justified, or measured, rather it is evidenced by the joy on my face, and the peace in my heart.