Joanna Robertson, Trevelyan
18th February 2015
My faith basically consists of me, surrounded by the mess of my life and this world, gathering it all up and throwing it at God and knowing that he is bigger than all of it.
My parents are both Christians and as I grew up they taught me a lot about wisdom, faith and prayer. By the time I was a teenager I trusted in a God who I had seen heal, who I knew loved me, who I knew was powerful and mysterious and kind.
I knew all of these things in my head and in times of crisis I trusted in Him. But being a Christian is about giving your whole life to God and I really really struggled with that.
One turning moment that I remember was, at a prayer event, praying something that that I’d sung so many times before at school: “Lord, make me a channel of your peace.” As I forced myself to say these words and lay down each of the knots in my heart that were stopping me from doing so, I felt the Holy Spirit break down all the barriers that I had put up between myself and God.
At the same time I had a lot of questions that often I (wrongly) felt like I couldn’t ask. I remember talking to one friend after church and just saying: “I am going to be brutally honest with you here.” We both shared our questions, our fears and our doubts. For me, the big one was: “I just don’t feel like it’s real.”
Come university, and I had the opportunity to explore questions that had been brewing for a while. I was able to discover that actually, the Bible is both historically reliable and literarily rich, and the God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is constant throughout it and throughout time.
I learnt a lot about trusting in God throughout exams, deadlines, and friendships.
I still have times when I feel far from God. I remember being sat in the market place one time late at night, sobbing onto an unsuspecting friend’s shoulder because I just couldn’t understand why God felt so far away, and why he didn’t seem to be answering my most selfless prayers, why I didn’t feel like he loved me.
I treasure the moments when I feel close to God. But ultimately, feelings of peace are not why I believe.
So why? Why do I bother trusting in an incomprehensible God who can seem so far away?
Because of Jesus.
Because in Jesus, this incomprehensible God came as a human.
I can get my head around humans.
I can read what he said and read accounts of where he went and what he did.
And if Jesus really did suffer horrifically and die on a cross to repair the relationship that we could have with God, that enveloping into the loving circle of Father, Son and Spirit, then that is an action that speaks of him loving us, whatever the cost.
If my relationship with God was some kind of tally chart, dependent on what I do and say and think, I honestly have no idea where I would stand.
But because of what Jesus has done, my status before God doesn’t change every five minutes. Instead, when God looks at me he sees a daughter, blameless, and his Spirit helps me to live that out, bit by bit, every day.
I am a Christian because I couldn’t imagine a world without God.
Surrounded by issues such as sickness, mental health problems, violence, addiction, poverty, inequality and injustice, I have realised that the world is a whole lot bigger than I ever conceived of when I was younger.
But as the problems I see get bigger, so does God. The creator of all things has a plan to heal his creation once and for all. And he wants to begin that process with each of us, today.