Believing, Seeing

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  • October 27, 2018

The following is written by Chris Wilson. Chris Wilson is a member of Seven Mile Road Church and a contributor to Story Team.

I have a friend, highly intelligent, who views the world in scientific terms. He struggles with belief, and if forced to pick a label, would probably deem himself agnostic. More than a few times, the topic of whether or not God exists has come up with him, and he circles back often to the same argument: if God exists, why hasn’t He shown it? After all, seeing is believing, right?

When faced with this argument, I often default to the same evidence for God’s existence. I tell him you need to look no further than the night sky to see how massive His creation is and feel in awe. He sees it differently: the result of billions and billions of years of gases and mass interacting and creating the universe. I present human existence and consciousness as a case. He sees natural selection and evolution. I present my conversion story, and the millions of others that share a similar story, but all he sees is our instinctual proclivity toward “feeling” something that makes our existence seem significant, i.e., religion. He demands undeniable proof–that he can see, touch, experience–of the Christian God before he believes.I’m often left wondering from these conversations and others like it why he doesn’t see things the way I do. To me, a beautiful night sky, or an overcast fall morning, or seeing my son grow and learn and develop fill me with such a deep assurance of God, affirming my belief. To him, nothing (or if anything, further proof He doesn’t exist). How can two people see the same thing and come away with two drastically different beliefs?

In the upper room, during the Last Supper, Phillip questions Jesus. “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” (John‬ ‭14:8-11).

Phillip wanted proof, evidence that Christ was who He said He was: God. And Christ, rather than trot out more miracles or more signs, tells him simply: “Look.”

“At me.”
“At what I’ve done.”
“Believe.”
There were other disciples, and many followers of Christ, who didn’t need to ask the question Phillip did because they believed. They believed Christ, and as such, saw the evidence that He was God in His works, His words, His miracles. Same evidence, different belief. Christ’s answer to this was not to show more evidence, but to first believe, with evidence following. Believing is seeing.

My friend and I look at the same sky, see the same boy grow up in front of our eyes, but we see through different lenses. Mine, a lens of belief by the sheer grace of God, allows me to see God so clearly every time my son laughs. His, a lens of skepticism, does not. As CS Lewis once said “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen: not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.”I pray for him often. I used to pray that he’d find the evidence he’s looking for that would lead to radical belief. But now, I pray he experiences radical belief, so that he can see the evidence all around him.
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About Jimmy Hettinger

Jimmy is a member of Seven Mile Road where he serves as story team coordinator and a bassist on the music worship team. Jimmy works as a pediatric critical care nurse while he studies to become a nurse practitioner.

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