“All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seem, are really a set of alternate beliefs.” – Tim Keller, The Reason for God
This simple statement had a profound impact on me. It moved me from claiming Christianity was a theology of the past that no longer makes sense in modern society to sharing my faith and the incredible impact it’s had on my life. It wasn’t a smooth, linear shift – it took years of questioning and contemplation, and plenty of wavering back and forth. Yet with the help of those around me, and most importantly, God’s grace, I find myself here today.
It all started as a way to support my then girlfriend, now wife. In the same way I’d talk through her work struggles to support her career, or reluctantly shop with her and provide my valuable fashion advice, I agreed to go to church to support her desire to reignite her faith. I wasn’t a believer, but she grew up a Christian. After a hiatus from church in college, she wanted to return, so we began spending our Sunday mornings at a church in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. Sermons were new to me. I appreciated the moral lessons, but couldn’t understand how or why they needed to be tied to Jesus. Worship time confused me – why were all these people singing praises to God? Didn’t they know Christianity was deeply flawed? How could they possibly feel compelled to do this? The new Sunday routine felt odd, like one that didn’t belong in my life. It wasn’t too painful though, so I kept going along as God, unbeknownst to me, started sowing seeds of faith in my heart.
As time passed, we continued attending church and discussing the sermons. Somewhere along the line, I noticed the teachings had begun to challenge me. I felt the urgent need to think more critically about my beliefs and why Christianity wasn’t the answer. It began to dawn on me that the agnostic views I held were far too simplistic.
I felt the urgent need to think more critically about my beliefs and why Christianity wasn’t the answer. It began to dawn on me that the agnostic views I held were far too simplistic.
This marked a major turning point in my life and my pursuit of the truth. I spent years in this phase, desperate for a set of facts to emerge and prove that something, anything, was verifiably correct and the true set of beliefs. I began to engage with Christian books to better inform my views, and after finishing Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, I felt for the first time that Christianity could be the answer. I wasn’t fully convinced, but the reasons against the gospel slowly started to crumble before me. After reading C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, I felt more and more like the narrator, stuck in a position of disbelief that prevented me from enjoying God’s glory. Nonetheless, I still needed a clear, irrefutable piece of evidence to validate what I was starting to feel. If only I could find the right artifact to prove Christianity’s truth, then, and only then, would I profess my faith.
After years of searching, God gave me the final, most conclusive piece of evidence I could ask for. It wasn’t in a book or a sermon or any of the places I had been searching. Instead, He softened my heart to His word in ways I never expected, and I finally felt a deep conviction about the undeniable truth of the gospel. Having initially assumed the benefits of Christianity were reserved for after life on earth, I was quickly in awe of God’s ways as I felt tangible changes to my life here and now.
These came in two forms – first, a feeling of levity as I found peace in the Lord and second, conviction from the Holy Spirit to mend the broken parts within me. The implications of the first change were that career and personal success were no longer what defined me. While good things, they weren’t ultimate things, and the weight of this burden suddenly felt light. I know I am a child of God, and any earthly accomplishments pale in comparison. God’s plan is greater than what I will ever understand. The unsettling sting of my earthly trials has been replaced with a deep peace because I know God is always in control.
As for the second set of changes, C.S. Lewis sums it up best in Mere Christianity by saying, “You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” The Holy Spirit began renovating my heart, starting with a few quick cracks and blemishes. As the work on the bigger projects got underway, I could feel myself changing from the inside out. While the fixes are ongoing and progress has not been easy, I’m slowly being filled with more of His light as I continue on my Christian journey.
My pursuit of the truth led me not only to the Truth, but to comfort, peace, love, and the hope of eternal life.
Having initially assumed the benefits of Christianity were reserved for after life on earth, I was quickly in awe of God’s ways as I felt tangible changes to my life here and now.