Q: “How do you know God is real?” - Gregory M.
A: This is the question that every single person at one point (hopefully) in their lifetime will ask. Most people will probably ask it many times. The answer is probably different than anything you’ve heard before. I know God is real because I took a leap of faith and He revealed Himself to me.
You see, God loves to force us to take leaps of faith. It’s one of the most important things about God that you need to know. You can’t understand much of anything God does without knowing it.
There’s a scene in one of the Indiana Jones movies where Indy is at the edge of a chasm that is so deep you can’t even see the bottom. To get across the chasm he must take a “step of faith”. He must step forward off the cliff and into the void and have faith that somehow he isn’t going to die. This is the test that most everyone else had failed. Yet, Indiana Jones takes that step of faith and instead of falling to his doom he lands on a narrow strip of land just below the edge. This little bridge was camouflaged so that he couldn’t see it.
This is a perfect illustration for what God loves to make us do. He puts us in situations that seem impossible. Situations that we can’t possibly understand how things are going to be okay. He may ask us to give up something so precious to us that we can’t understand how we can ever be happy again. For instance, God asked a friend of mine to give up her children, the most precious thing in the world to her. She felt like her life would be worthless without them! I know of someone else who had a bright future in basketball, but God asked him to give it up. He was basically giving up his future! Eventually, God gave basketball back to him and did a lot of great things through him, none of which would have happened had he not been obedient.
David in the bible went against Goliath, which seemed to everyone else to be impossible. But, David trusted God enough that he knew God would not allow His chosen people, the Israelites, to lose to the Philistines. So, he took a leap of faith and offered to fight Goliath.
God may also ask us to leave everything we have and travel to a place where we have no job or place to stay. That’s exactly what Abraham was asked to do and he trusted God so much that he knew God would provide. There are many missionaries today who have made this exact same leap of faith. They left their comfortable life here in America to move to another country where they had no place to stay or ability to make money. They had to trust that God would take care of them and provide everything they needed.
God may ask you to leave your job even though you don’t have any money saved or another job lined up. He may ask you to start a ministry when you have no money or support and there doesn’t seem like there’s any way it could work. He may ask you to do something that you feel completely inadequate to do.
God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, even though Moses had a speech impediment and was on the run having murdered a man. He tried to get God to choose his brother instead because he didn’t feel he was good enough. God chose Gideon to lead an army against the Midianites using no weapons at all, only pottery and trumpets. He even told him to use only 300 men instead of 22,000. 300 men with no weapons against a huge army? That sounds impossible! And Gideon was not the type of man that we would choose to lead an army. He was a nobody! He didn’t feel up to the task, but he trusted God and took a big leap of faith. Of course, God prevailed!
God may ask you to give up your entire paycheck to someone who needs it when you have no way to pay your bills. But, once you make that leap of faith, God will provide. He always does. Whether it be an unexpected check in the mail, a stranger coming up to you and handing you the exact amount of money you need saying “God told me to give you this” (That’s happened several times that I know of), or you find a mixup in your accounting and you actually had more money than you realized, or maybe the electric company accidentally forgets to shut your power off. I’ve heard and experienced all sorts of stories!
And this is not some crazy one time story in the bible, this happens literally every day. I have known a lot of people who took a leap of faith and decided to go on a mission trip, despite having absolutely no way to pay for it. I always tell them not to worry, that God always comes through with the money, usually at the last second. Every single time, He comes through.
Why does God do this?
Why does God do this? Why does He keep putting us in impossible situations with no explanation and no clue how on earth He is going to take care of everything? After all, He could provide another job for you BEFORE asking you to quit. He could show you the source of money before asking you to commit to taking a mission trip. He could give you extra money before asking you to give your paycheck to someone who needs it. He could show you the place he has for you before asking you to move. He could share with you His plan before asking you to make a tough decision. But, He doesn’t. He almost never does! Why?
After the Israelites had escaped Egypt, God provided them food called manna every morning. Later on in the Old Testament he did the same thing for a prophet named Elijah. In both cases, God instructed them to only eat what they needed for that day. They were not to store any extra for later or there would be negative consequences. You’d think that storing up extra for later is the smart responsible thing to do. I mean, what if there wasn’t enough manna provided the next day?
But, you see, that’s the entire point. God wants us to trust Him. He wants us to trust in His promise that He will provide. He wants us to rely on Him completely, every day. This is a concept that you see throughout the bible and in our own lives today. God wants us to NOT hold back out of fear that we won’t have our needs provided for in the future. He wants us to live day by day, relying on God’s promise that He will provide what we need! Just like the Lord’s prayer says, “Give us today our daily bread”.
It’s all about trust with God. God wants to know how much you trust Him. It’s easy to SAY you trust Him, and you may actually believe you trust Him, but you never really know until you’re tested.
Professor and the Bowling Ball
It reminds me of a story I once heard of the professor and the bowling ball. A physics professor created a large pendulum by attaching a heavy bowling ball to a chain. He had one of his students take the bowling ball and pull it back tight so that the heavy ball was touching the student’s nose. According to the laws of physics, if she let go of the ball the ball would eventually swing back toward her face, but could never come back further than the point she released it.
So, it would be impossible for the ball to come back and hit her in the face. The professor asked the student if she believed that this law was true. The student said she did. But, when she released it and the ball came swinging back toward her face, she jumped back.
If she really truly believed in the laws of physics as she claimed, why did she jump back? It’s easy to believe and trust when we aren’t being tested.
God wants us to trust Him. He wants our trust in Him to be so real, that we are willing to sacrifice everything and give up control to Him. He wants our trust in Him to be so real that we are willing to do whatever He asks, regardless of how impossible it may seem because we truly believe that God is real, all-powerful, and will follow through on His promises.
God will NEVER ask us to do something that He won’t give us everything we need to accomplish. Whatever He asks us to do, He will equip us for. He has everything already set up and ready. God sees the end result. He knows exactly how He’s going to get you there and if you really believe that and believe He’s all-powerful, why would you have any problem taking a leap of faith into even the most impossible situation?
The reality is that we have difficulty taking these leaps of faith because we have deep-seeded doubts. And these tests expose them.
How do we erase these doubts?
Well, that’s the beauty of these tests. If you take the leap of faith God asks you to and don’t chicken out, you will be rewarded with seeing God do the impossible! You will witness His power and your trust in God will grow immensely. Then, later God will ask you to take an even bigger leap of faith. And if you take this new leap of faith and don’t chicken out, you will see God do something even more impossible and your faith will grow even more!
The bigger the leap of faith you take, the more of God’s power you will witness. I’ll say that again. The bigger the leap of faith you take, the more of God’s power you will witness!
Many people say they have trouble believing in God because they haven’t seen God perform any miracles. They believe that witnessing God’s power comes first, and their belief in Him comes second. But, that’s not how God works. God requires faith FIRST, then He rewards that faith by revealing Himself. So, if you’ve never taken a big leap of faith for God, then you probably have never witnessed God’s power.
Well, actually, you HAVE witnessed God’s power all through your life, but you haven’t recognized it.
The more impossible the situation, the more obvious God’s miracles are! Because we never put ourselves in impossible situations, God doesn’t have to do much. We all want to witness incredibly impossible miracles, but we don’t trust God enough to allow ourselves to be put in situations where incredibly impossible miracles are necessary! That’s kind of silly, isn’t it?
We keep giving God insultingly easy tasks and then wanting Him to raise the dead to do it. If you want to hear stories of miraculous healings, protections, seeing angles, people being raised from the dead, and other incredible showings of God’s power, talk to missionaries serving in the most dangerous parts of the world. These people have risked everything to follow God into areas where Christians are tortured and killed, where their lives are in constant danger. Their stories of God’s power are absolutely incredible!
Now, I’m definitely not saying you can control God by putting Him in situations where He’s forced to perform miracles. If you try that, God will turn against you. God will never allow anyone to have any kind of power over Him. Remember the story of Balaam?
The leaps of faith I’m talking about have to be God’s will. God knows your heart. If you take a leap of faith because you believe God wants you to do something that seems impossible or dangerous, and you trust God enough to know that God will take care of everything and reward your faith, then God will come through every time!
So, how do I know God is real?
Well, first and foremost, the miracle of life and the very creation of the universe all points to God’s power. Evolution and theoretical physics have attempted to show that God is not necessary for the universe to exist, although still no one can explain how something at some point came from nothing. And, the only available theory for explaining how the universe seems perfectly suited for creating life is that there must be an infinite number of universes consisting of every possible combination of physical laws. But, of course, no one can explain how an infinite number of universes came about from nothing.
Learn as much as you can about theoretical physics and you’ll soon realize that the belief of a Creator who exists outside of time, outside our universe and outside of our physical laws no longer sounds crazy. It’s definitely no crazier sounding than many of the things that are now accepted as valid theories. In fact, the findings of the universe seem to match up fairly well with the idea of a God who exists outside of time and the laws of this universe and in a separate dimension.
Plus, unlike other religions, the bible stands up very well historically. In fact there are many people who have set out to disprove the bible, only to get saved because they couldn’t discount what they found.
But, the main way I know God is real is because of how reliable He is. I have a relationship with Him and I see His interaction in my life all the time. Sure, any given miracle can be explained away as coincidence, but it’s the fact that these little miracles are RELIABLE that proves God is real. I know I can fully trust God to come through whenever I’m in the center of His will. And He always does.
And as you get closer in your relationship with God you’ll start to notice God’s hand in your everyday life. Once you give your life completely to God and allow Him 100% control, He starts working in and around you, preparing your way. But, remember, God’s focus isn’t to make you comfortable, wealthy, and successful. That’s what Heaven is for. God’s focus is on preparing you for heaven, working in you, helping you grow and become more like Jesus, helping you love others, and equipping you to serve and minister to them.
Once you understand this and align your focus to be on these things as well, you’ll start to notice God’s hand all around you. For example, as I was sitting at work writing the lessons for a series of discipleship videos I noticed that customers never come in when doing so might interrupt me. A bunch will come in before I start writing, and when I’m done I’ll immediately get people coming in. But, when I’m actually working on it, they never come in. The same is true if I’m worshiping or having a special moment with God. God prevents people from coming into the store.
Or the day before I’m having to write a lesson that might be difficult something will happen that prepares me perfectly for it. These kinds of things happen all the time, and after awhile you start to notice them (hopefully). I think it would be a great thing to pray that God would open your eyes to see His interaction in your daily life! I’m sure that is a prayer He will gladly answer!
So, remember, God’s miracles are happening all around you all the time, you just don’t recognize them. If you really want to see God’s power, then take a leap of faith when you feel He is leading you to. You can trust Him, I promise! Take a step off the cliff and trust that God will put something under your feet.
I can assure you, you will ALWAYS end up being glad you took the leap. You can take years and years to learn that lesson, or you can save yourself decades of hurt and going nowhere by just making the decision to trust God now and step out into the impossible.
Just WAIT till you see what happens next!
Oh, and btw, right after I wrote that last line, a customer came in!