“I want to Believe in God, but I Just Can’t,” He Said.

 I want to Know You, God

In 1988, I came back to the God I had believed in as a little boy. I did all the things my denomination said I should, but I only felt His presence a few times. I was afraid I’d drift away from God again. I asked God to let me work for Him full time, so I could really get to know Him.

In 1989, He sent me to Guangzhou, China.

I Really Want to Believe in God, but I Just Can’t

In the spring of 1990, one of my Chinese friends, Henry, told me: “I really want to believe in the God, but I just can’t.” He told me how his mother worshiped the goddess of mercy (Kuan Yin) and how she had powers. She could make things move, coins dance, etc.  He needed to experience God to know that He is real. I told him to come back that night.

I prayed all afternoon and I had this faint impression that might have been Jesus saying, “Ask me.” When Henry returned that night, I told him Jesus said, “Ask me.” Henry just looked at me, made some small talk and hurried out of my apartment.

The next day, after morning classes, Henry hammered on my screen door. I opened the door and he burst in.

He’s Real!! He’s Real!!

“He’s real! He’s real!” said Henry. He didn’t believe Jesus would answer him, but he had trouble sleeping that night, so Henry asked Jesus if He was real. Nothing. He went to sleep. Jesus came to him in a dream and told Henry about himself and God.

I don’t know who was more surprised, Henry or me. I then showed Henry the things that Jesus told him were in the Bible – things Henry had not heard before. Henry believed because Jesus talked to him.

Hey! I Want That Too!

I wanted that! I wanted to have a conversation with Jesus. No, I wanted a lot of conversations with Jesus. I asked many of the amazing Christians I met in China, “Do you hear God?” I got a lot of strange looks. Some of them thought that was so weird that they warned the woman who later became my wife about this strange behavior. Only a few people really told me about experiences with God, really knowing God.

How I Came to Know and Experience God.

Over time, I learned to ask Jesus about the desires of my heart. I hear Jesus. We’ve laughed together. I know how loving and kind, yet fiercely protective God can be because of the way he treats me. It’s there in scripture, but I’m living it too.

Daily I seek more. I pursue God. I used to dream about Adam and Enoch who “walked with God”. I never thought it was possible. But it is. And it’s wonderful.

“Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go.” John 6:37 (MSG)

“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.” John 11:28 (MSG)

God is So Tender with Me

When there are scriptures I don’t understand, I have God’s character to guide me. I know I can come to Him when I don’t understand and He won’t yell at me. He won’t be angry or punish me.

I chuckled as I wrote that! God is so tender with me, I can’t imagine Him being angrily impatient with me.

Oh, He has had to correct me a few times (okay, more than a few). He never uses guilt or shame. He convicts me in a way that I know I’m loved and I know I’m wrong.

I repent (change my thinking and turn around to do something different) because I love Him and I want to please Him.

When I was a child I was taught about this angry God of the Old Testament who we must fear. This was a God of rules and punishment – hellfire and brimstone.  Be afraid of Him, they said.  That sure isn’t consistent with the loving God who sent Jesus to die to make a way for us to live.

Solve the Mystery

I was also taught that God is mysterious and that we couldn’t begin to understand Him. To the people who taught that, it meant we shouldn’t try. What does God say?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

Not all things are revealed to everyone. Those who love God and pursue Him will see and know things, deep things, that God keeps for those who love Him.

Settle this.

Get to know the REAL Jesus! Ask Him to show you who He really is.  Get ready.  He will.

Please honor and respect others in your comments. Thanks!

About Dave Milford

I am a Christian life coach, writer and teacher.
I help people live lives of heart connection, heart transformation, and real influence.

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