This email dropped in my in-box recently.
Dear Suzie, how can you believe in Jesus when so many see your faith in such a negative light?
What an honest question. This was my response to my new friend:
Dear friend, your email was much longer. You asked me to describe my faith. You asked if I was fundamental or moderate or liberal. You pointed out how people have used God’s name to hurt others. You asked why I believed.
Thank you for trusting me enough to have this conversation. Honestly, I’m so glad you asked.
I don’t see myself as a label. Not as far as my faith is concerned.
And I understand that faith can seem complex. Like, when it is tangled in a to-do list or misused. That’s the human element. We are all oh-so-human sometimes.
But I have also been privileged to also witness faith change the world and change people. If you see me on a Sunday morning, I’m watching people.
I’m seeing the young couple on the second row. He used to be an addict; she used to feel hopeless. Now they worship God freely, a child nestled between them.
I look at the woman in the choir whose husband doesn’t believe, but she loves him well. Her joy comes from family, but also through a deep connection with her Heavenly Father.
I see the extra-tall guy who’s bald and wears a funky cap. He’s so in love with Jesus that it’s hard to deny.
It’s His work I see inside of them that describes why I love Him so much.
It’s His work inside of me that does the same.
There have been times when I lifted my hands to worship in the bleakest parts of my life and true praise rang out though there was nothing praiseworthy at the moment.
That was because of my faith, not because I was strong.
There have been moments when I felt His presence close, and knew I was not alone.
Knowing God has transformed my life and continues to do so, even in the questioning parts.
So, why do I follow Him?
I follow Him because I cannot see my life without a relationship that changed me so completely.
I can’t shake the truth that my life took a turn when I became a believer. Knowing him is a thread through the fabric of every choice, every decision, every part of my existence and I’m grateful.
My pastor recently asked a question.
Would people want to follow the Jesus they see in you?
I hope so. Not because I’m perfect or have all the answers, because the truth is that sometimes I fall way short.
But because He’s real and that knowledge changes everything.
It changes me. It changes us.
Thanks again for stopping by. I’m so grateful that you did.