I’ve always believed in God. Steeped in Catholic education (at every scholastic level), comfortable with it’s basic dogma, my belief in God was unshakable. Not that I had all the answers, not that I could explain the dark side of our existence, but I seemed reasonably content with my faith.
I’ve had several life crises when I faced situations helpless, alone and hopeless. At those times, I felt the presence of God. When I needed God most, I felt, not miracles, but hope, and comfort. Coincidence? I thought that at first. All I can say is that these events happened too many times to chalk these “spiritual rescues” up to mere coincidences.
Looking for a more meaningful religious experience, I recently joined a non denominal Christian Church. This congregation is simple and direct. No intermediary between you and God. No rigid ritual. No intense dogma. I began to realize that although I considered myself religious, I didn’t really know God. I didn’t really have a relationship with God.
Now, FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m no theologian, I’m no Biblical scholar. In fact, I’ve just started to read the Bible seriously and that usually results in confusion, having more questions and needing more clarification. But I have a deep need to understand the reason for my existence. I have a deep need to understand God. I have a deep need to have an intimate relationship with God.
Now, speaking only for myself, a couple of my beliefs. God is the Perfect Being. As such, God is neither male or female. Referring to God as “He” is illogical in my book. Since God is the Perfect Being, God does not have human emotions, especially the negative ones. Frequently, the Old Testament has God displaying negative emotions; “I am a jealous God” or “I m angry” etc. For me, this is man imputing these emotions to make God more accessible. Illogical!
In spite of having many more questions than answers, I know this: I have a deep need to get closer to God. I need to understand God. I need to get one inch closer. I try to accomplish this by being a better person. To live my life the way I think God wants me to live it. However, I’m human. This means that I’m weak and fallible. In fact, I fail to live up to God’s ideal frequently. Like every day. As I try to get closer to God, I fall. But I get up. I try to get a bit closer. I fall again. but I get up again. This pattern is repeated frequently throughout every day. What compels me to continue? What drives me to continue to get up? Why do I even try to emulate God, the ultimate role model? It’s a goal that I can never reach. Impossible. Why do I strive to attempt something that I know I can never accomplish?
I think it’s because every time I fail, every time I fall, I feel God’s outstretched hand. I hear God saying, “Take my hand, I will help you” EVERY TIME. God’s mercy, love and compassion are what drive me to continue toward a goal that I know I can never reach. Even one inch closer is much better that where I stand now.
I only speak for myself. As I mentioned earlier, I have many more questions than answers. I don’t know why babies are born with severe handicaps. I don’t know why there is such hatred and violence. I don’t know! But I know this: I want to get one inch closer to God. One inch closer.