Oct 24, 2011

Heart Check

This heart felt article comes from our intern, Jessi. God bless her for her love of Jesus and of street youth. If you want to be an intern, we have openings this Spring, Summer and Fall! Read more at internship.StreetYouthMinistry.org.

This past week I walked up on a conversation I did not expect to walk up on. A couple of youth, whom I believed have their minds made up about Christianity and to be anti-God, were talking about the God-man himself. They were discussing their past experiences with religion- particularly in relation to their parents- and how they came to believe what they currently do.I sat down quietly, only half-heartedly listening and not expecting to contribute anything to the conversation. Soon enough, however, one of the youth asked me, “So why do YOU believe in God?”

I found myself shocked. I was not only ill-prepared in the moment to answer the question, but what convicted my heart even more was that even after I composed myself and spent a little time thinking about how to answer the question, I simply did not know the answer. The conversation continued along the lines of me responding, “Without God I have no purpose… blah blah… I am nothing without God…. because he is fully worthy…. Blah blah…. Because I refuse to believe that the hell on earth is the end-all.” There is truth to every word I said, however my heart told me it was not enough.

The youth replied, shrugging her shoulders, “Yep. That is what every ‘Christian’ says.” My argument was that God shows himself genuine and true in all Christians having the same response, because God is the same to everyone. I added that it is not a script Christians babble off when asked that question, rather it is truth from the heart. The youth did not believe it, and--to be honest--I am not sure I believed it either.

The street youth pressed on with “I know why Christians believe in God, but why do YOU?” I quickly pulled out my personal “raised from death to life” story that includes struggle with sickness, change, loss, and relational hurts. Even so, I felt unhappy with my lack of ability to provide examples of God’s goodness in my life and still, almost a week later, my heart is unsettled. I have an image of God, in response to my answer, cupping my chin, looking me in the eyes with sorrow saying, “Really, beloved? Have you still yet to understand?”

Tears well in my eyes as I realize how selfish and how blind I am even now after walking nine years with Jesus. Still, I am humbled yet again to remember that my belief in God has no relation to a purpose or identity I have gained, to a hope for more, or to the circumstances of my life. My belief in God has to do with GOD. Yes, I understand God by the way he relates to me, but this is not the bare end or even the core brunt of my belief. The reason I believe in God is because of who He has proven Himself to be inside my heart and not on what He has done on the outside.

I do not have words to explain, examples to prove, and enough scripture for apologetics because God exceeds all these things. As cliché as it sounds, I truly feel like the only way I can answer this question is with action and not words.

I am still struggling with knowing how to convey who God is to people whom the Holy Spirit has not settled in. I am still burdened to know what words I can use to convince non-believers that God is worthy, God is righteous, God is real, and God is good! But until I stumble upon such wisdom, here is my new answer to the question of why I believe in God:  “I believe in God because of God. Watch and learn…”  ;)

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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