I started my morning at the kitchen table praying. When I was finished I asked God to tell me what He wanted me to reflect on, considering He knew who would be reading this. As I sat talking aloud to a God who is unseen I couldn’t help but giggle. If someone who did not know Jesus were watching me, they’d think I was ridiculous! I was speaking to no one, as far as they knew, and I was getting responses! Picturing the conversation that would follow with the onlooker, I came to the peaceful decision that Christianity is a ridiculous faith that I whole-heartedly believe.
In Genesis 6 we meet Noah who is described as a “righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and one who walked in close fellowship with God.” (Gen. 6:9) In his story he lives in a time where everyone on earth is functioning solely from an evil perspective and God is deeply saddened by His children. (Gen. 6:5-6) God, Creator of all, decides to send this flood and start over. “So God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along the earth! Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out…I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat – you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every kind of animal – a male and a female – into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood.’” (Gen. 6:13-14, 17-20)
A ludicrous story. God floods the earth He just created 4 chapters ago to start over? What’s more is that Christians believe the earth was indeed flooded, Noah, his family and all the animals lasted for 150 days floating around, and God brought them safely back to their land to start over.
At another point in Scripture the Israelites were slaves in Egypt and Moses is anointed to deliver them from their bondage. The day finally comes after 430 years of slavery when Moses leads the Israelites out of that land towards one that is promised. God doesn’t direct them towards their enemy’s territory to protect them from war and doubt, instead we find God leading them through a sea. “Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!” (Exo. 14:21-22)
Unbelievable? I know. I tend to lean towards incredible.
Jonah is another guy the Bible talks about. He is sent by God to witness to a people group He’s less than fond of. To escape, Jonah hops on this boat in the opposite direction. There’s no escaping God and the weather gets bad leading the other sailors questioning who made God so angry. They discover Jonah’s disobedience and throw him overboard. “Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights…Then God ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” (Jonah 1:17, 2:10) Jonah ends up obeying in the end. Bizarre story? Yes. Some scholars will reason this book away by claiming symbolism. That could be true, but so could the story.
One of my other favorites is Joshua. He takes over for Moses after he dies. As they approach this locked up city, Jericho, God tells Joshua exactly how to overcome it. They march around the city walls once a day, play instruments and on the last day scream. The city crumbles and Joshua wins. Funny, I take walks, play the piano and screamed before too, nothing every crumbled for me! (Joshua 6:2-5)
These stories are nothing compared to this next one. I’ll end the review of insanity with the most mind-boggling stories in the Bible and one of the most important. Luke 24 describes the disciples discovering Jesus’ empty tomb and their fist encounter with Him after Jesus rose from the dead. Absurd I know, but it’s what I stake my life on.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” While many long for Christianity to be a faith fully explained by reason, it will not be. Jesus calls us to faith. You can explain a lot in the Bible, but eventually it boils down to faith. Oswald Chambers writes, “The Spirit witnesses only to His own nature, and to the work of redemption, never to our reason. If we are trying to make Him witness to our reason, it is no wonder that we are in darkness and uncertainty.” (My Utmost for His Highest, Oct. 22)
You may be wondering how I can have faith in the God of a Bible that is filled with so many unreasonable stories. For myself, I have only found this God to be willing to give Himself up wholly for everyone else. I have only found this God to be rooted in love, unity and redemption in this world and nothing else. One Psalmist writes, “The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”(Ps. 135:15-18) I don’t want God to be like me. If I can reason something away, it is not worth my devotion and worship. I believe in the ridiculous God who is living, Hezekiah’s El Chay (2 Kings 19:15-16). I worship Elijah’s God who waited for 450 Baal prophets to slash their bodies in hopes of rain while praying to a god who is lifeless. After Elijah built an altar and the Baal prophets wet the wood three times over my God brought fire!
Christianity may seem like a ridiculous faith, but choosing a life driven by any other god seems ridiculous to me. Call me illogical; call me foolish; call me anything you want. I will always take comfort in my God who floods the earth, parts seas, crumbles a city by a shout and grabs His peoples’ attention by extreme measures like a fish or a dead guy coming to life. I would hope you would consider giving my God a chance. Maybe you already have and that’s wonderful. Or maybe you don’t believe in the God of the Christian Bible. Maybe actual “Christians” have turned you off. This is possible. That’s fine and I’m sorry about the poor witness, I know I’ve been one too. But if you don’t believe in this God that I described, whom do you believe in? Or better yet, what does your god actually do?