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The god we perceive and the God that is

Today is the last day of catechism class for me.  My knowledge of Christianity, especially the Old Testatment is so bad, I openly told my class who are 13 years old that I am not worthy to be their teacher.

But circumstances put me there, so I openly make the leap because faith tells me that I can do all things through Him (Jesus Christ) who strengthens me.  I told the 13 years old about faith.  I asked them what is faith to them? Many of them know what it is but finds it hard to describe. They said it is something that brings us closer to God and give us that relationship with God.

They got it right. Faith is what we feel inside but can’t describe. Faith is not something someone can teach us. I told them that none of us teachers can teach them faith. It is something they have to believe that have it inside and that somehow, they can fall back on faith.

They can read the Bible front to back and they may know the names of all the prophets but they will still not have faith unless they experience it. That doesn’t mean they can forget about the Bible. With faith, with the belief that the Bible is God’s Words, the Bible is like Jesus talking to us, we will find comfort.

For 13-years old, they still possess the innocence of a child so it is not so difficult for them to seal the belief of a Living God, of Holy Spirit in them. I know they will turn to God if they are ever in trouble.

But what about the rest of us? I told them that I was converted to Catholicism at 38 year. They know why I turned to Christianity. I had hit rock bottom and there is no other option for me. And at that moment, I found a God that talks to me through the Bible. I have no basic knowledge of Christianity so the Bible is one thick book with weird stories full of sex, sometimes incest and other gory stuffs. God in the Old Testament was a punishing God, the kind who wiped off the whole earth.

That’s why I like to swerve and fast forward my class to Jesus and the Gospel because it is only when I discovered the simplicity of Jesus’s teachings that I can grasp on. I want them to have faith in Jesus first then only learn the complexity of things before Christ.

Someone today asked me why when she started to believe in God, things seem to have gone haywire? Why things didn’t improve but instead getting out of control? Why God didn’t lead her to the right way?

From my own experience, I turned to Christianity because things were not making sense. I embrace Christianity when I discovered that Jesus is the same person like me who lived in a world that did not make sense too.

Things never go the way Jesus intended when He was on earth. He got spitted on, He got trampled, He may have His 12 apostles and thousands of followers but we can see He was a lonely man as well, He readily died. He shows faithfulness to God, the Father. He have trust and faith that it is God’s will.

So, I have never journey as a Christian expecting a smooth path ahead of me. I never expect God to do things my way. I just have trust that come what may, I have that Jesus in the shadows, walking with me, no matter how hard the path is.

This is a big difference from my previous faith where I pray only when I need something. I pray for this, I pray for that. As a Christian, I only pray that none of us, my children and I, steer too far off the path and that we will turn back to the path God intended if we do.

So, to the person who asked me why things seem to have gone haywire, I just can say, have faith, God understands us better than we understand ourselves. It may not make sense now, it may be hard to endure now, but down the long, narrow path, we will find the reason one day. Have faith, have the free fall that at the end, there is God’s saving hands to pull us out of whatever we are going through.

Unless and until we have faith that in our sufferings, pains and hurts, we will find Christ with us, embracing God is hard. Christianity offers us that ‘role model’ of a man in pain to be with us. Jesus Christ knows what it is like being betrayed, Jesus Christ knows what disappointment is, Jesus Christ had been there, done that. So, trust that Jesus is the saving grace, whether you know Him or not.

Flip your Bible to Matthew, and ask the same questions you asked me. Trust me, the words will leap out and you will find your answers there. God bless. I leave you with 2 Corinthians 1:3-7




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