So...how's the New Year going for you so far? I know...hasn't had much of a chance to go any real direction yet, but, hey, that's the beauty of it! Now, I can't wait to see where it's gonna take us!
For my first post of the New Year, I want to share a response I just finished writing via email to a friend of mine who is a professed Agnostic and reads my blog faithfully. He has had two very good, but very long comments that he tried to post to a couple of different posts of mine, but...in case you didn't know...Blogger's comment fields do not accept more than 4,096 characters!!! So, cut some vowels out of your words if you try to post a comment that is inching up on being that long! (I really wish his would have fit, as they have some very interesting and probably commonly shared thoughts in them.) So, until the Blogger computer programmers decide to increase their comment field space, I will just have to share some snip-its with you that you may find of interest. I believe my friend of whom I am speaking will not mind a bit, as like I said, he attempted to share his comments publicly himself.
What I am actually going to primarily share with you right now is a portion of my response to his most recent comment. So, keep in mind that some of my statements are specifically spurred by some of his. Either way, I think you'll follow it just fine. And, please feel free to comment (in 4,096 characters or less!) anytime! Oh, and by the way, he DID take me up on the challenge...(see November post "What's with the name?")...have you!?!
(additions I just now added in Bold Italics in parentheses)
I know you said you couldn't help but think that it was specifically directed to you. Honestly, yes, a small portion of it (#3, b, ii - to be exact) was written with you in mind as well as knowing that I have many friends and family who could possibly be reading it that think very much like you. (Hence, why we get along so well!) However, the majority of it, as you can see by the layout of it, was written with various "target audiences" in mind (some specific individuals as well as some generalized groupings, if that makes sense at all). (If you felt or feel the same as him, like any of these are directed at you, I am not necessarily intending that, but if that's how it feels then there must be something to it...meaning maybe the topic being discussed that is hitting home is one you need to strongly consider.)
I must say, I am glad to hear that you took me up on the challenge. That's more what I was fishing to find out than anything. Did you read the whole book, or did your gauntlet stop you "in the beginning"? (That was a pretty good pun, if I do say so myself!)
Seriously, though, as far as answers to all of your questions and points made...I do not and will not pretend to have them. (As I have said before, I have had many of the same thoughts and questions myself over the years.) Neither will I attempt to proselytize you, as I know you likewise are not doing to me. I merely am here to share with you the Essence of who I am - Jesus in me. Though I cannot begin to battle wits with you in the intellectual realms, nor do I want to - battle with you is the farthest thing from what I would ever want (I, of course, mean that in a very complimentary and endearing way.)...I merely can share with you why I am the person that you know and are kindred spirits with. How you chose to respond to that is, well, not something I intend to try to force a certain direction, nor is it of my concern. I respect your very thoroughly contemplated and eloquently expressed views and honestly do not feel it is my responsibilty to change them.
- Yes, I do whole-heartedly believe there is a God and that He loves me (and you and all of the world - John 3:16) and that He is working out His divine plan in my life (as in everyone's) every minute of every day. (I know all of that opens up several more cans of worms, but I am just stating who I am and what I believe. I leave the cans of worms up to Him.)
- My life is not defined by my death, rather by His death on the cross for me (John 3:16).
- And because my life is defined by my acceptance of His gift of His death on the cross, my life is truly now and forever an eternal life.
- And, because of His death, I may die a physical death (even before I have the chance to see you again, or not) but I now and forever am free from having to pay the ultimate price of spiritual death and eternal separation from God that is the price of my inherent sin-nature.
- I, at one time, worked very hard to believe that there was nothing beyond this life and no meaning to my existence, because that for me was much easier (in a sense) than living with the knowledge that I would one day face my Maker and have to give an answer as to why I did not choose to accept His costly-to-Him yet free-to-me gift.
- Honestly, though, for me, convincing myself of the nothingness of life and existence was a very tiring and difficult struggle. Something always, deep down, ate at me and would not let me ultimately and deeply believe what I was trying so hard to believe. I had many of my own "gauntlets", as you so cleverly and accurately call them, that would be thrown down in my face right and left. I was just never at peace, not once, the entire time I was trying so hard to believe in a way that seemed to lend itself to the most peaceful, freeing, and consequence-less life possible. I read things, even in the Bible, that I attempted to use to prove what I so wanted to believe, but ultimately, for me, it was all a dead end...a dead end that lead to life, that is.
- I cannot begin to explain to you in words what it feels like to have "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding" (Phil. 4:7), but I can only hope that one day you may come to experience that for yourself.
- I cannot begin to describe to you in words what it is like to know and feel "the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort" (2 Cor. 1:3) who is always with me - Emmanuel.
- I cannot begin to accurately explain to you in words what it is like to pray, not just seeking an answer - though those often do come, rather just to pray - to talk to the One who knows me better than anyone on this earth ever could (because He made me just the way I am, my faults and all, just like He intended for me to be) - to cry to Him, knowing He understands every struggle I face and that He, because He was once on this earth as a human (as is so well chronicled in the Book of John), understands so truly those human emotional as well as physical experiences that I have.
- These are all things I cannot explain to you in words as much as I may try, because they are things you just have to experience for yourself to understand.
- I realize you may not agree that there is any legitimacy to experiences such as these, at least in your own life, but all I can say is that they are very real and very legitimate in my life.
- I would never want to nor try to force you to feel these things for yourself by succumbing to agreeing with me on anything or everything I have put forth. However, because of what I know in my heart to be true, I can only hope that you, my very dear friend, can and will also one day come to experience my God for all He is and even come to a point that (one can dream, can't she!?!) you will even call Him your God one day. Not because I want so bad to be right, nor that I want to say "I told you so" or anything at all like that, rather because I know the love and peace and freedom that comes with knowing and accepting Him and the gift He offers us all.
- Again, I must remind you that, as much as it may sometimes seem otherwise, I truly am not trying to proselytize you, rather I am merely sharing my heart and the Essence of who I am with you, for all it is worth.
And with that, I will wish you all a very Happy New Year! Please share your heart with me as I have with you.
Because of Who He is,