When I was 17 years old I started exploring questions about my faith. The existence of God. The origin of the universe. The problem of evil. Biblical contradictions. Conflicts between science and religion. The exclusive nature of Christianity. I have continued to explore these questions off and on for 30 years.
Though I haven’t discovered all of the answers, I have been convinced that: An all-powerful, all-loving God created the universe and everything in it. The Jesus of history performed miracles during His ministry. He claimed to be God. He was crucified. He physically rose from the dead, supporting His claims. And that the Christian Bible is a specific revelation from God to the people He created.
Exploring these questions led me to a stronger conviction that the story of Christianity best describes the world in which we live.
Until a couple of years ago I would have said that this support for the truth of Christianity was the biggest reason I believed in the Christian God.
In January 2016, my 43 year old wife was diagnosed with aggressive, metastatic colon cancer. It was progressing rapidly and she was given an estimate of about four months to live. We were afraid and heartbroken. Our kids were 3, 4 and 6. We had just bought a new house and were excited about moving back to our home province and reconnecting with our closest friends and family. We had many dreams and plans for a happy future together. Our world had turned upside down.
When some of His followers were abandoning Him, Jesus asked His closest friends if they were going to leave Him too. The apostle Peter replied “Lord, to whom shall we go?” We felt the same way. There were no other answers. All we could do was seek God.
Kimberly died 19 months after her diagnosis, and God was more real to both of us over those last 19 months of her life than he had ever been before.
Kimberly’s strength and poise was inspirational. You can see some of her videos and articles from that time at WellChristianWoman.com. She was a very strong woman, but she would be the first to tell you that it wasn’t her strength, but the God she served that kept her strong. I feel the same. It’s not easy to helplessly watch the woman you love more than anything else in this world slowly die from a debilitating disease. God was there. He was real and He still is.
We often wondered how people managed to handle these kinds of trials without depending on God to see them through it. We couldn’t have handled it on our own. As it was, God gave us strength and peace and hope… and even joy… beyond anything we would have imagined.
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
I prayed and fasted, along with thousands of others. We had specific answers to many prayers but God did not intervene in the final outcome. All I can say is that I know without a doubt that Jesus was there alongside us, feeling our pain, just as He did 2000 years ago when He walked among us. It was His strength and hope and peace we experienced, not our own.
There was profound sadness and loss, but we felt peace. We were severely disappointed, but felt hope. Kimberly was dying, but our relationship became the strongest it had ever been. We were afraid, but we grew as people and as followers of Jesus.
I miss her no less than I did over two years ago when she died, but God has been with me. He is here as I muddle through the task of raising three young kids on my own. He is here when I fumble with things I know that she could do so much better than I can… and she was annoyingly great at pretty much everything! He is here when the kids cry because they miss her. He is here when I really want to laugh with her about what one of the kids said or did… when I wish I could share my thoughts with her… when I read something that I know she would find interesting and she’s not here to tell about it. He is here when I want to just sit with the person who I loved above all others and who I know had chosen to love me the same.
Kimberly and I had our moments of doubt, but during her illness we both saw God reveal Himself to us more clearly than either of us had ever experienced before. I have had my own moments of struggle since her death. I fail, but I get up and try again, and I am more certain of the object of my faith now than I ever was. Jesus continues to give our family hope. Hope for abundant life here and now, and hope that we will be reunited with Kimberly in the future.
What I see in history and science and philosophy plays a big part in my faith journey, but truly experiencing God’s presence, His love and peace and strength and hope and joy, even in my darkest hour, that is the biggest reason why I believe.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 (NIV)
You can see more people sharing the reason for the hope that they have here: Why Believe?