Introduction to Stories from God
This is a story that happens all too often, you share Jesus with someone, and they respond with, "How can you ask me to believe in an invisible God? I refuse to believe in something I can't see." Often, that is the end of the conversation because, as believers, we also accept the claim that God is invisible. So what can we say? Either you slump away hoping to find someone with a more open mind, or you try to think of some way to make the case that even if God is invisible He is still believable.
But where did we get the idea that God is invisible, at least in the sense that our unbeliever claimed? Who told us that we can't see, feel, or hear Him? Why do we think that we cannot directly experience God in our lives today? The truth is that if we do not experience God in our lives, if we cannot see, feel, or hear Him, it is not because He is inaccessible. Rather, it is because we do not look for Him, we do not reach out to Him, and we do not listen to Him. Or perhaps we do not know how to find Him. If we did, then we would discover that far from being invisible, God is a very real and tangible presence in our lives.
To begin with we have His Word which is the ultimate testimony to the reality of God. It is full of stories of people who personally experienced God in very direct ways. The people in the Bible did not live as if God were invisible and unavailable. Try telling Noah that God is not real because He is invisible and no human being can actually experience Him. Try telling David that God is aloof and unapproachable. Try telling Paul that God cannot be seen or heard. The real truth is that from Adam to Noah to Daniel to Peter to Paul and many others, they all had direct contact with God. None of them accepted the proposition that God was invisible and, hence unknowable because they all experienced God.
You might suppose that Biblical times were special and that God interacted with these people in unique ways, but that He no longer interacts directly with us. I am forced to ask the same question again; where does it say in the Bible that everything has changed and God is no longer available to us like He was in Biblical times? If anything, the Bible says the exact opposite. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. If this is true, then the God of the Bible is the God of today. Since God was not invisible in Biblical times that same God is far from invisible today. In fact, He is the single most real presence in our lives.
Besides, He told us long ago that if we seek Him, we will find Him. That means that if we look, if we reach out, if we just listen He will be there. The problem is we do not look, we do not reach out, and we do not listen. We accept the same thing that non-believers accept, that God is not a real visible force in the world. Then why are we surprised when we do not experience Him in our lives?
This series blogs, that I call Stories From God, is intended to remind us that when we do seek Him, we find Him everywhere. We do not have to have special training, long years of Bible study, be especially religious, or hold some important office in a church. It turns out that everyday, ordinary people experience God all the time. In short, God does extraordinary things though ordinary people today, just as He did in Biblical times. Some of their stories well be in this series. The difference between the people who told me their stories and the rest of us is that they expected to encounter Him when they looked for Him, and they were not disappointed.
This series will be full of astounding stories of God working in the lives of ordinary people today, just as he worked in the lives of people in the Bible. Some of the stories involve a simple experience of God and some are miraculous, but all of them are extraordinary because they all record God directly interacting with mankind in a way that puts to rest any claim that He is invisible. The point of this series is that none of the people at the center of these stories are any different from you and me. The only reason you may not have experienced God in a similar way is that you have accepted the myth that God is invisible. That is a lie. If you take anything from this series it should be the truth that God is as real as the computer you are reading this on. The next time someone tells you they cannot believe in an invisible God, you tell them, that is not your God. You tell them that you can see, feel, and hear your God every moment of your life.
Some believers might challenge this series, saying that I am too enthusiastic, and that I find God in everything, as if that is a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with being enthusiastic about your faith, after all this kind of enthusiasm is just a combination of the strength of your commitment with the level of your joy. What is wrong with finding God in everything? If what we fundamentally believe about God is true, that He is everywhere and in total control, then we should find Him in everything. After all, Paul wrote in Romans 1:20 that since the beginning of time God has been clearly seen through everything He created.
It was just that thought that motivated me to write this series. I began by writing stories about how God made Himself real to me. I am nothing special. I am just an ordinary everyday person. Yet, there have been times in my life when I have been blessed by experiencing God. However, I certainly did not want all the stories to be about me, so I began to ask my friends for stories from their lives. It was not long before God began to send people that I did not even know to give me their stories as well.
One day, shortly after I had started to collect these stories, I read the well known account of the demon possessed man who was healed by Christ found in Luke chapter 8. Though I had read this story many times before, this time the words of Christ in verse 39 leapt off the page at me. I suddenly saw them in an entirely different light. Christ's instruction to the man He had released from the demons was, "Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you." It hit me that this is exactly what this book is all about. It is an opportunity for ordinary everyday people to tell the world the great things God has done for them. I was immediately both excited and humbled by that revelation. Excited that I could be obedient to Christ, while offering others the means by which they may also obey this command. Humbled that God would choose me to take on this responsibility. I might add that I was also greatly blessed because these stories have strengthened my faith, opened my eyes, and changed my life. I pray that you will be blessed as much or more than I have been.