How do you know that God is really real?
No, really. How do you?
There are so many arguments out there that we as Christians use to defend our belief that God is in fact real and not only is he real, he is alive. And I like to have those conversations. I like to defend the bible and my beliefs. It’s kind of fun. But up until the last few years, I hadn’t experienced the one thing I needed to show others that God is real. A transformed life.
We can make all the clever arguments we want, but the absolute indicator of the reality of God is a changed life. This weekend, I attended the New Day women’s retreat in Hendersonville. And there, I encountered God. Not a far off god who gave some guy some rules on some stone tablets a really long time ago. Not a god who made a big fish swallow a guy who didn’t do what he liked. Not even a big ol’ god sitting on his throne waiting to smite those who make him mad.
The God I met is a living, breathing, talking, dancing, smiling, healing, loving God. Now, I have met Him before. Many times actually. We’re pretty good friends. But every time I meet with Him, he gives me more and more evidence of the reality of His existence. Because He changes me.
The person I used to be was not very pretty. Ask my sisters, who can tell you what a self-righteous, judgemental, hypocritical, not-nice person I used to be. Ask my husband, who can tell you how I used to wrestle him for control and talk to him like he was a child instead of an intelligent, respectable leader of our home. Ask me. I can tell you how I used to keep up appearances so that no one would imagine that there was a bubbling cauldron of depression, loneliness, fear, anger and shame bubbling just under my smiling surface.
And then, my God started to draw me to Him. To love on me. To teach me that there was a better way to live. A healthy way to live. His way. A way of love and peace. A way that has been painful at times, but so wonderfully freeing.
No Buddha can do that. No New Age teaching claims to give me a new heart. No other god I know can change people in an instant. But my God can. And He has. And He does. Over and over. And He can and will do it for you, if you just ask Him.
So how do I know that God is real? I am a living testimony. I have joy where there was mourning. I have peace where there was constant struggle. Am I perfect? Absolutely not, but to the glory of God I am not where I used to be.
And that’s for real.
Courtney Oliver is wife to Matt and mom to 2 lovely children with a third on the way! She’s an active member of New Day where she serves in the Nursery, on the Prophetic Team and on the Healing & Restoration Team.