My dear, dear Brother,
It has been in my heart to write you, brother that I love, whom I have known all my life, whom I have known for a time, and whom I have not yet met…. That sounds kind of mysterious doesn’t it?! This letter is about helping you to understand some important things. You may have been wondering how my life turned out. Well, it has been quite a trip!
I have seen and done a full range of amazing things. I have experienced defeats and victories I did not imagine possible when we were “younger boys”.
I have been in places no one should go and also in places of unfathomable beauty. I have found love, lost it, found it again, and kept it; been hopelessly discouraged and blissfully happy.
I will forbear detailed descriptions, my brother, for something has happened to outshine, overpower, and truly transcend everything else – every person, place, and experience – that has happened to me in this world.
It is only that sight, that victory, that glorious place and transcendent state of being that I wish to speak of now, for I found what I had never found before, what I hadn’t even sought, (at least not that I knew of) though it was in plain sight. I had been blind. Ignorantly arrogant. Arrogantly ignorant, too.
Then, through God’s Grace, I saw what I had refused to see and went where I hadn’t allowed myself to be. It was a miracle. A gift. A discovery. A Divine Revelation. Suddenly, I BELIEVED GOD and I BELIEVED IN GOD! I BELIEVED IN MY RESCUER and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST! Those were names I rarely repeated, even as blasphemy. They just didn’t exist in my vocabulary.
I discovered Who and Whose I Am and that has made all the difference in my life. I became a BELIEVER.
Of course you might be thinking things like, “How could you do this? How could you be one of them now? You were such a good, skeptical agnostic. A cynic. You liked atheism. You are a scientist. You demand proof. You are not a superstitious person. You demand truth. Don’t fall for The Great Delusion. Be logical, be reasonable! Come to your senses, man.”
I have said and thought the same things myself. Many times, self-righteous unbeliever that I was.
Yes, I am a scientist who loves logic and truth, and I’m a Christian too. A Christian first. Let me explain….
(Oh, I wish this were easier for me to explain. Can you read between the lines? I’m trusting you to read with an open mind – open to my deep caring and concern for you – and that I wouldn’t try to lead you into any bad place. If you love me, remember, love engenders trust. Just trust that your welfare, your good, and your very Life, have been paramount in my mind and heart for at least seven years.)
I can offer you no scientific proof that my God exists. Science can’t prove His existence. It can’t disprove Him either. That is not the “job” of science anyway. Science is a system of knowledge dealing with the operation of general, physical (natural) laws. However, God created nature. He is above nature. He is supernatural! (No, not “that” kind of supernatural, lol.) I can’t prove He created nature either. That requires us to pre-suppose that He exists. So, we are at an impasse. I can’t prove to you what I unequivocally know to be the truth.
I’m now beginning to realize what a daunting task I’ve taken on, trying to convince you of the legitimacy of what I now believe with all my heart. You are blessed with a superior intellect and can easily rebut my every attempt to convince you, if you so desire, (in fact, we do have a spiritual enemy who would be delighted if you do just that) however I only beg your patience, and forbearance. In respect for our history and if you care for me, please, at least try to suspend your disbelief just for the duration of this letter, like you would for an incredibly imaginative sci-fi movie, as I try to explain.
I like metaphor. Figurative speech. You and I have carried on entire conversations by substituting oblique words and phrases for “real” ones. That makes me smile when I think about it! One of my favorite movies, “Contact”, is loaded with metaphor. Ellie’s struggle is a metaphor which conveys the struggle of an evangelical worker like me to present the truth of Jesus’ story to an unbelieving world. Here is a bit of dialog from “Contact” illustrating how difficult it is to explain the kind of transcendent thing that happened to Ellie Arroway, and to me:
I’m betting you know the storyline. If you don’t, you should watch this great movie.
Michael Kitz: Wait a minute, let me get this straight. You admit that you have absolutely no physical evidence to back up your story.
Ellie Arroway: Yes.
Michael Kitz: You admit that you very well may have hallucinated this whole thing.
Ellie Arroway: Yes.
Michael Kitz: You admit that if you were in our position, you would respond with exactly the same degree of incredulity and skepticism!
Ellie Arroway: Yes!
Michael Kitz: [standing, angrily] Then why don’t you simply withdraw your testimony, and concede that this “journey to the center of the galaxy,” in fact, never took place!
Ellie Arroway: Because I can’t. I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are not, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if only for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and hope. But… That continues to be my wish.
Yes, I had an absolutely profound experience. I can’t prove it, but I can try to explain it. My Lord wants me to do that – over and over as long as I live on Earth. Unlike Ellie, I know exactly what happened. Yes, everything I know as a human being and everything that I AM tells me unequivocally that it was real and is real. I was given a wonderful gift – one that changed me profoundly and fundamentally forever. I was, and am, convinced that I am a unique and precious creation of God – His child – and being that, I am loved by Him beyond my understanding. I am not alone and never have been. Most importantly, I do wish to share that with everyone, especially with one as close to me as you are. That is my wish, my purpose, my duty, and His will for me.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed”….
John Newton was reborn into belief in God later in life, like myself. “Amazing Grace” is his inspired testimony, in song, telling about his rescue by Jesus Christ. Its content and the very act of worship in writing it is universally applicable to the experience of all believers. So what is Grace? Many people simply state that it is the unmerited favor of God imparted to us through Christ. That is true, but it is much, much more than that. In my next letter I plan to cover Grace and other concepts that you may have heard of and maybe have been curious about. As Mr. Newton implies with “The hour I first believed”, there is a defining moment when belief replaces non-belief. In that moment, everything changes for the believer and ‘they’ become a new creation whether they perceive the effects or not. I did perceive the instantaneous change. I did feel a newness. A rebirth.
In a future letter, I would like to describe, if it is even describable, what happened in that one precious, spectacular, miraculous, breathtaking, moment when belief replaced unbelief, but for now, I need rest. This is exhausting! But, just know, that I would exhaust myself to my very end to secure Your Immortal Life against complete destruction and into never-ending peace and wonder.
With sincere love, I wish you well,
Peace upon your House!