Can We Believe It If We Haven’t Experienced It?

Over the weekend, HH and I watched fireworks from the top of our building’s parking deck and it was amazing.  We could see at least twelve different shows across the horizon AND the red, white, and blue skyline of Charlotte.

Lots of other people in our building had the same idea.  Some brought coolers and chairs.  A group of people sat in the back of a truck.  Someone brought an incredibly non-anxious dog.  I’d say there were about 20 people up on the roof.

HH and I were the only ones wearing face masks. We were both surprised and not at all surprised.

We personally know people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus with few symptoms.  We personally know people who have tested positive and been hospitalized.  And we personally know people who have died from COVID-19.

Do the people who don’t wear facemasks or socially distance have a hard time believing that COVID-19 is real because they’ve not personally experienced it?

It makes me wonder about their belief in God.  Can God be real to people who have never experienced God?

There’s a famous story in the Bible about one of the Twelve Disciples – Thomas – who pronounced famously that ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’  I get it.  Who’s going to believe something as farfetched as a dead person rising back to life?

And who is going to believe in a God who brings healing and inspiration and peace and salvation if we haven’t personally experienced it?

Throughout my life, I’ve observed people doubting everything from back pain to mental illness.  “They don’t look disabled!”  “They need to get out of bed and snap out of it.”

I know people who believe that the poor have made poor choices which is why they can’t have nice things.  Chances are that the people who say this about the poor have always had nice things within their reach and if they ever lost their nice things, they could replace them.

Personal experiences are essential and even Jesus knew this.

Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.’

One of the reasons I believe in God is because of what I’ve seen and heard and felt and experienced.  I don’t know what to say to those who have not seen and heard and felt and experienced what I have – except to serve as a tour guide pointing out moments that they – too – saw, heard, felt, and experienced God’s grace.  They just didn’t realize that’s what was happening.

Someone reading this post might test positive for COVID-19 this week or this month.  I know it’s real because of personal experience.  And I wore a mask even before someone I knew was infected because I trusted the scientists.

What we believe in life is all about trust.  Who do we trust? 

I have reasons to trust scientists because of personal experiences.  I have reasons to trust God because of personal experiences.

Who do you trust and why?

Image source.

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