I was having coffee with a friend this morning and we quickly got to talking about serious matters before our mochas could get cold.
But first, a little backstory. Growing up in church, I’d always thought that “choosing God” was the best choice. It appeared to be a no-brainer, in my finite little mind. By the time I got to college, I learned that my burgeoning activism was so nicely supported by this radical picture of Jesus turning over tables, giving free education for all, and eating and drinking with the social pariahs of His day.
I am now a full-fledged, voting adult, a married man, and still a regular churchgoer. But often times I find myself wondering what all of that meant for me – subscribing my entire life to this belief that God and Jesus, were somehow more important to me than someone like Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, or Bill Simmons.
Maybe I could be living just as similar a life as I do now, married, surrounded by community, “activist-ing” of sorts (I actually have come to despise this word – I realize it’s made up), but without God all that….involved.
I have no answers for that question quite yet, but the thought that did come to me today was this: all this time, it was as though I were choosing for God as if I were simply choosing for the rest of those people I mentioned – evaluating whether He was in fact the “right” choice to earn my vote in the cosmic election of the faiths, or concluding that Christianity happened to cater nicely to my lifestyle preferences and existing worldview about humanity and justice.
Today, I imagined God interjecting, “You still don’t understand. You actually need me.” I imagined God repeating this to me over and over, cutting me off at my every rebuttal. “You might not know why you do, but believe me, you do. And not for the reasons you think, either. In fact, the reasons you might have for choosing Me have little to do with why you actually need me.”
I likely won’t be making any friends with any atheists any time soon, but not because I wouldn’t want to. It’s just that, I find myself still wanting to subscribe to this notion that I actually need God, more than I know, or even care to admit. That everything in life would be inconsequential, or insignificant, without Him. For me, all the reasons I’ve constructed to justify why I’ve bothered holding onto my faith, the little that’s left, for so long, hardly matter.
As a teen, it certainly wasn’t the popular choice, choosing faith. But by the time I had become a reasonable, thinking adult, it turned out to be rather convenient. It was comforting, finding a faith that seemed to affirm and support my very core beliefs about doing good in this world for my fellow human beings.
But at this point in my life, faith has become something different. It feels elusive, and therefore frustrating, and thus, tiresome to bother even keeping around.
And yet, here I am, bothering anyway, talking myself into believing it’s worthwhile to still believe, at all, despite finding fewer reasons to imagine my life feeling any different if it were without it. (Again, a question I’ll answer for another day)
But this morning, over cold mochas, listening to my friend remind me that I wasn’t alone in my doubt, my strange revelation came.
My need for God still remains far greater than all the reasons I could ever come up with, for having held onto Him at all. Frankly, God might not care for any of my reasons. God loves, despite why I ever choose for or against Him.
Perhaps that why I need Him the most.