Read: 1 Peter 3
For years I have encouraged others to write down their response to 1 Peter 3:15, to work through the words and develop a cohesive statement of personal faith. Here is my work in progress, some thoughts that help me respond to Peter’s exhortation:
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:15-17
My hope is wrapped up in many experiences in life. I can point to examples of divine provision, but you might think God is a magic genie if I leave you with the notion that asking and receiving is a precursor to faith. Believing without seeing is the definition of faith.
My apologetic reasoning goes something like this: the more I look at the complexity of life, the more I’m convinced it was no accident. I’m convinced it would take infinitely more faith to believe we were accidentally created than it does to believe there is a God who orchestrated the whole thing.
From this point, William Lane Craig and Tim Keller kick in. In Reasonable Faith, Craig provides scientific arguments that are compelling, to say the least. Keller’s book, The Reason for God, takes a more philosophical approach and really makes you think — if you have an open mind. There are scores of other resources if you’re interested in venturing into the halls of apologetics, all quite interesting.
I’m not a scientist, but if we can agree that there is a Creator God, we can begin to explore His character as revealed throughout the Bible as well as the countless examples of mere mortals throughout history. Once we begin this journey, I have no idea where we will land, but I am confident that if we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts and minds, wherever we arrive is a better place than where we began.
The Bible provides a snapshot of God’s consistent desire to have a relationship with His creation. It’s only a highlight reel for us to consider, but an important one to say the least.
All this to say I believe there is more to life than breathing in and out. As I have stopped to consider the possibilities and understand the nature of mankind, I must conclude the story of Jesus is more compelling than any other. I’m no scholar and certainly not well versed in every religion. What I do know makes sense, but more than that, I get a sense of peace from it all.
Mathematicians can explain harmony in musical notes, the meshing of frequencies that define a perfect triad. All I know is I can hear dissonance, I can feel the tension and know how to resolve the chord. Must I have a degree in Mathematics to convince you? I don’t think so. The only real requirement is an open heart and receptive mind.
From this perspective, the Spirit of God can and does perform miracles.
The reason for the hope I have in Christ is not because my Sunday School teachers said so, though they did. It’s not because I heard David Wilkerson’s convicting call to accept Christ when I was a teenager, but he most certainly did. It’s not because of the miracles I’ve seen in my life, those incredible coincidences that are unexplainable yet too real to refute, but I have seen many. It’s not because of these things, but it is these things have caused my mind to wander and wonder.
When I sit and listen, my heart is stilled by creation. A love that is unexplainable enters my mind. A peace that cannot fit into a formula comforts my heart.
And I smile.
Medically, the twitching muscles in my face respond to requests from my brain as electrical signals are transmitted to the exact nerves that fire and the skin on my face flex in an upward fashion on the left and right at the precise moment the thought entered my mind.
Or perhaps it’s the water that forms in the corner of my eye when I first saw our oldest child born — the first time I saw her breath. Then the second, third, and fourth child. Then every other child I’ve seen since.
And I cry.
Maybe it’s the funniest thing Tim Jones said, or just the expression on his face when he said it, I don’t know. He has a way of making ordinary words create a response inside me that’s hard to express. Or maybe the clown nose that Patch Adams donned to make his patients smile, along with his goofy antics.
And I laugh.
It could be that holding the one I love creates a sensation in me that is vulnerable, daring, comfortable, uncompromising, safe, secure, content, and warm. At the end of a long day or the beginning of a storm, this thing is irrefutable and unexplainable with scientific measurements, but there is no doubt:
And I love.
The reason for the hope I have in Christ is wrapped up in moments like these. I hope you’ll take time to examine your life to see what it is that means more to you than mere existence. I hope you’ll look for the source in the pages of an old collection of writings we call the Bible.
The more I look for answers in Christ, the more I’m convinced I made the right choice.
Live. Love. Cry. Smile. Laugh.
How about you?