To a friend….
“Brought up to believe a certain way about religion, only to have that belief challenged to the extreme. Where do I turn? It’s perhaps easier to run away from it all rather than face all the racket. I’m confused.. Hurt! I don’t know what to believe anymore. Is God even real? How can I trust a religion? I see people pretending to be saints, yet know of personal secrets regarding their own sins.. Why pretend? If you believe in something so strongly, why would you break religious rules.
WHAT’S REAL RIGHT NOW? How can I even trust that someones elses ideas are true. I feel hollow inside. I feel empty sometimes. I’m at a point in my life where I just want to hear something that I can believe in… and know for myself that it is real”
To my friend, I feel your plight. I understand your confusion, and hurt. Lost at sea, I invite you to look towards the lighthouse, as it will direct you home.
Let’s rationally begin with some thoughts about God. Who is he? And…. what are we doing on planet earth?
Do you see God as loving, the perfect parent, kind, gentle and forgiving? Or, in your mind is God stern, mean, and threatening that if you sin, you will be going to hell?
Close your eyes for a minute. Picture a “Heavenly Father” in your mind. Perhaps, this is the time for you to find out who He is… for… yourself. “God, I would sincerely like to know if you are real. Who are you? What do you expect of me?” Rather than anyone else telling you who God is, I can promise you that if you have a sincere intent to know, answers will come to you… How? Well, God communicates with us through our feelings.. makes sense doesn’t it? As you are considering His characteristics, do you feel at peace? When you think of God as an unapproachable, strong handed dictator… does it make you feel uneasy inside? Continue to talk with Him. Listen to your feelings, for they will teach you the very nature of God.
Those of you who learn best with facts, can I suggest the following? Our world is so normal to us. The sky, mountains, seasons, storms, wind, and heat… Not a big deal really, because that’s just earth. Consider this article https://www.universetoday.com/25370/how-does-the-earth-protect-us-from-space/ .
Our earth is designed perfectly to allow our existence… By accident or … by God. And the purpose of being here… Without God’s plan… doesn’t it all just seem like a waste of time, to live and then die and… “Game Over?”
My first challenge to you is to get to know YOUR God. Talk to Him.. When you close your eyes and talk to Him… does it feel… calming, peaceful? No specific rules to praying for now, just talk to Him. You are not believing in a churches God, you are simply getting to know your Heavenly Father.
And the purpose of being here… Eliminate the thought for now that we are here on Earth to take a test. The test is graded on how many times we sin. After we die, God will judge us, and we will be sent to different places based upon our worthiness.
I express the following idea as a suggestive thought to stimulate your thinking, nothing more.
What if Earth was a place to learn, rather than a testing ground? This is the first time in our existence that our spirit and body have come together to be one. Emotions, temptation, physical trials, time away from God… these things are all brand new to us.. for what purpose? I feel that it is to learn and grow… to progress.. to become better than we were as spirits. To experience mortal desires and work towards overcoming those unrighteous appetites. To get stronger and excel.
But what about the judgment idea, right after our death and resurrection? First, and foremost, does it make sense to any of you that if this earth life of ours is just a grain of sand on the beach, as it relates to our never-ending existence, that God would only use our performance here to determine where we spend our eternity? There are people who die young, people born with mental illness committing all kinds of crimes that they wouldn’t do if they were “normal”. So many factors involved. A flash of time with eternal consequences.
Secondly, does it sound right that God would develop a plan for all of His children, where only a handful of people would succeed, and the majority fail? That doesn’t match my understanding of who God is.
If some of us believe that we can one day become like our Heavenly Father, we know that there is not anyone who reaches that level when they die… right? So, when do we get to progress after this life?
There has to be more to His plan that we don’t yet understand. Clearly to advance towards perfection, there must be a period of time to do so after we die… and before a judgment.
We must learn who God is while we are here on earth. We should try our hardest to be the best person that we can be. We need to understand the Saviors atonement which allows us to move past our frequent sins. And, we must acknowledge that we are here to learn.
God gave us commandments not so that we would fail, and feel that all is lost. He gave us those to use as an owners manual which would allow us to be happy while were here. Right? When we do bad things, how do we feel? We all have a conscience.. What is that? It’s a gift from God to get us back on track… a friend to our body, not a foe.
Satan’s plan is for you to feel overwhelmed thinking God’s plan is unreasonable. But, God’s plan is continued encouragement for us to be a little better each day.
I ask that you take a small step towards speaking once again to your Father in heaven. He loves you, and has missed your conversations.