Episode 1: Knowing Truth, Knowing God: Out of the Desert of Disbelief [Audio]
Full transcript of Letter to the Rising Generation, Out of the Desert of Disbelief:
Ever wonder if you could really know absolute truth? If God exists? The purpose of this episode is to discuss and affirm absolute truths; that God lives, and to help individuals uncover the promise that anyone can know these truths for themselves, independent of any other person. And now, I Believe: Expressions of Faith, Episode entitled Letter to the Rising Generation, Out of the Desert of Disbelief. Here’s Karen Trifiletti.
Letter to the Rising Generation, Out of the Desert of Disbelief
Karen: Welcome everyone, this is Karen Trifiletti, and I am so excited to have an audience with you today. Welcome especially to each of you honest seekers of truth. Really this cast, I feel, is dedicated to you. It’s dedicated to you, and two people that I’d like to tell you about. Kirsten and Ty. So let me first set up some context:
Kirsten is somebody I know about, but have actually never met. I picked up a magazine about ten years ago; I think it was a Time magazine, but I can’t recall for sure. And there was this competition among budding photojournalists. So Kirsten was one among these contestants. She was invited, along with others her age (I think they were about 11 to 14-ish) to photograph something of her conception of God. And I remember that her final photo was of some blurred nature-scape. And her caption read something like this: “God is blurry, no one really know what He is like.” Well you know, I remember another submission, and I think it was a gal that photographed God and stapler, and connected those two and thought that God holds things together. So I remember that submission. But of all of the submissions, Kirsten’s really stuck with me. I actually ached for her. I wanted to respond to her entry; I actually looked for her and tried to reach her, but I couldn’t. And I’ve thought of her over the years, more times than I can even tell you. I still long to let her know, and others in her position, that her blurry conception of God can be replaced with clear restored truths about Him.
Now, let me tell you about Ty. Ty is a young man, just turned about twenty, in the military who, tried unsuccessfully just a few weeks ago to take his life. He was angry, disillusioned, and in despair over his perception of a purposeless and Godless existence. So I grieve for Ty, and for many of the rising generation, and beyond; anybody that’s a member of Gen-X, Millennial, Baby-Boomers, who may find yourselves confused about where “center” really is. About what truth is. Who God is. What the purpose of life really is. Who feel, what one young adult called, chillingly, “the Blank Generation.” Devoid of identity, maybe community. Purpose. Knowledge. I feel for you, and am excited to be able to talk with you. I read something by Dorothy Sayers, that I think describes so well the darkness and despair of a lot of people who feel and Ty and Kirsten do. And she said this, there are those who have this despair which “believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die” (Cited in Charles Colson, with Ellen Santilli Vaughn, in Against the Night: Living in the new Dark Ages (Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1989), 93.; Alistair Source). That’s pretty powerful.
Now we’re going to move into some things that are much positive, and hopeful for us. But I just want you to know that I am speaking to all of you honest seekers, to all the Ty’s and Kirsten’s of the world, to all of you in any similar spiritual shoes, any age, thinking “perhaps life’s random,” “It’s unpredictable,” or that “God if He exists at all is capricious, or malicious, or some distant cosmic force, or amorphous intelligence.” I really want to speak to those who have a list of unanswered questions. You may call yourself agnostic, spiritually unaffiliated, spiritual but not religious, a-religious, or atheistic. As I’ve thought of you, you maybe a witch, or a wanderer, a blended practicer of blended religions, a pagan, a pantheist, a panantiest, a lonely pilgrim, an isolated confused college student, a disaffected baby boomer, a church going Christian without conviction, maybe a convict without course; I don’t know. Or perhaps you left the church of your forebears out of disillusionment, or hurt, or perhaps dissatisfaction with the doctrines. And I think that some of you may still be searching and probably don’t even know if there’s an end to that search.
I was reading something about some college students, and I read about how many of them feel like their life is just this arbitrary chess game, in which at the end of the match they lose and then it’s over. So they think that things happen by chance, there is no purpose beyond the moment, so why live?
And I also reflected on an amusement park ride that I went on as a child. I don’t know if you remember this, but it was called the “Hell Hole.” And sometimes I don’t know if you feel like a person on that ride, you’re strapped in on one side, and suddenly the bottom falls out below you on this ride. And I’ve thought about those, whose foundations are missing for one reason or another in your life. And if you’re among them, and you don’t even know if you have the capacity to know where or what they are, you’re in the right place. We’re going to address those things, this is for you, I’m here because I care, because God cares, and because this matters eternally. I’m here too because I was there, where some of you now are. I actually know what it’s like to be lost. To feel like a stranger and a foreigner to all that life has to offer, as if you’re sort of, you know, on the outside of life’s spin somehow. I really know what it’s like to want to escape it all, even ourselves. I know what it’s like to have questions about life’s purpose, spring up independently through the soil of our soul; and then to go and bury them deeper because you can’t find answers, or they are lacking somewhere. I do know what it’s like to be tired of fumbling for house keys in the cold, tired of studying theories. I can remember they were spilling over in classes without any measuring rod to evaluate them. I know what it’s like when the will to live runs bare; because I was there. I had the do-me-in pills by my bed, and I remember peering down into that seemingly endless night, grateful finally for impressions, which kept me alive and ultimately led me to the light.
Well, I’m here to witness to you that there are answers that truth is knowable. It’s discernable. To witness to you that the capacity and the spiritual structure to receive it is truly already inherently within you. I witness, and I hope to point out here in a moment, as we get going and invite a guest on, that there is a spiritual realm that is as real, in some ways even more real than the physical–that you can be gifted through faith to see. I think what happens is when you begin to see that world is analogous to what happens when you are looking at a hologram; you know those magic eye pictures, at first you see in two dimensions, and then your eyes are suddenly opened to see this third dimension, and once you do you marvel at what jumps out in front of you. And you sort of never return to that original view of things. It’s the same thing spiritually; you are forever changed once your spiritual eyes are opened. And you engage in a fuller way in reality than before.
Longing for Connection & Fullness: Longing for God
So, we’ll move forward and talk about the answers to some of these things, but I want you to know and witness to you that as we speak together of truth and God, on this and other casts, that the passionate longing of your heart, for fullness and connection is actually part of your divine DNA. Your inheritance as a child of God (Qtd. in A Belonging Heart, Bruce C. Hafen, p.8). I witness that even the stories we hear on a daily basis, now I’m talking about the every day conversations, the movies, the narratives, the daily talk, are ultimately reflections of each of us grasping for the bigger story. Which is that there is a just God who loves us. And I would add, who gave His only Begotten Son , that you and I might have joy, know our purpose, and live eternally with Him (John 3:16). So hold on, the light’s coming, if you seek it fully. And I hope that this cast will only begin to affirm these things, and then illustrate how you can test them for yourself. And tell you that we will also build on that knowledge in further casts. So, invite your sincere questions and attention, and look forward to getting to know you.
What Is Truth? How Can We Know It?
We’re talking today about what is truth and how we can come to know it. So, what is truth? And how do we come to know it?
Moral Relativism, Secularism, Barna Studies
Much of what I’ll say right here will be contrary to what you’ve heard in academia, right? And the media at large, no doubt. And in Starbucks, unless you run into other Christians who hold a worldview based on absolute truth, I know it’s contrary because out of curiosity for you and concern, I have looked at some stats at what’s been held by you and your peers as true or false. And here’s what I’ve found, and you’re probably among some of these studies, but hang with us because we’re going to address these very issues. Barna Group conducted a study that revealed that 66% of Americans disbelieve in absolute truth. Among young adults, the numbers are even higher. So 72% of young adults disbelieve that there is any absolute truth. And lest you think that the Christian world escapes this, they haven’t because 53% of evangelical Christians also respond similarly. Let’s talk about moral relativism, which really follows from a belief that there is no absolute truth. So two national Barna surveys showed a lopsided kind of margin or teenagers, 83% say that moral truth depends on circumstances; and only 6% say that it is actually absolute. And that was awhile ago. I think a more recent study would show even more significant dramatic changes. That’s huge!
By a 3 to 1 margin 64 to 22% adults said that truth is always relative to the person and circumstances, So that’s really a huge deviation from true morality. And it is evidenced in things like the Human Manifesto, where we read what the humanists are thinking in terms of truth and relativism and we’ll get into that in a later cast. But this is the whole idea that, what’s right for you may not be right for me, and there is no real right and wrong. So that is moral relativism.
Another survey that I wanted to mention is the September 2005 Newsweek Poll which noted that that 8 in 10 Americans do not believe that any one path is the sole path to salvation. So as one said, “that means the people are weaving strands together from a variety of faiths to create their own personal religions” (Miller, Qtd in Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus, p 230). That’s pivotal. It’s like the host of tolerances inviting everyone to its living room, but kicks out the author of truth.
Belief in Holy Ghost and Satan: Real or Symbolic
So we have these studies that are illustrative to a real change in our culture and in our mindset along with those that are similar and analogous with, for example, 4 out of 10 Christians don’t believe that the Holy Ghost, or Satan are real beings. They believe more that they are spiritual symbols or just symbols. A slight majority of Christians, for example, well, 55% believe in the Biblical authority. So again, I’m here to say if you are one of those that I’m especially addressing, these very trends may have had a lot to do with the confusion and emptiness you now know. We need to connect those dots between these studies and how you are feeling and living, we want to help you do that and then explore the opposite points of view.
Absolute Truth Exists. The Holy Ghost & Satan Are Real
Just stating upfront, before I introduce my guest today, there is absolute truth, and it is discoverable, there is a personal God and His son, in who truth and morality are completely grounded. The Holy Ghost is real, as is Satan. And there is a plan for you and your life. And there are answers to the questions of your soul.
So we want to talk about how we got here, and then talk about how we actually do know truth.
Introducing Jeff Wynn
But I would like to introduce to you first, a guest, a special guest, his name is Jeff Wynn. Jeff is a research geophysicist currently living in Washington state. He has a PhD in Geosciences, and was an atheist for about ten years before he became a Christian. Welcome, Jeff!
Jeff: Happy to be here.
Karen: So Jeff, just as we’ve talked about initially, some of these cultural shifts and some of the reasons perhaps that many of the rising generation and many baby boomers, many among us in the world, have kind of lost center, or lost a sense of absolute truth, what would you say to that? What’s your perspective as one who is both a scientist and a former atheist?
Jeff: Well, it’s absolutely the case that our culture is really, really preaching relativism. My personal experience is that having been there, and finding that very unsatisfying, I have gotten to a different place; and we can talk about that if you want.
Karen: That sounds great. Tell us how you think that science, and science’s claims, how you have revised your understanding of science, or sciences claims, or given place to that in light of absolute truth.
There Is a God: Science, Truth, & Testimony
Jeff: One of the things that I have, I’m a professional scientist, and I’m very aware of the history of science and how it evolves, and has been evolving constantly. The logical extension of that is that where we’re at now is nowhere near the end, or nowhere near the truth. I have come to a very strong sense that science is converging on the truth; but I’ve also come to a very clear understanding that there are other paths to the truth. And one of the points, there really is an absolute truth. There really is a living God who is an eminent God, who actually cares about us as individuals.
Karen: Thank you for that. And something that I think I read that underscores I think, perfectly what you’ve said is written by a guy named Joad, who said:
The central core of the Christian faith is either absolute truth or it’s non sense. Being absolute, the truths, which it proclaims also, claim to be eternal. If they were not absolute, if they were not eternal, they would not be worth believing. Scientific knowledge on the other hand is relative–relative to what at any given moment happens to be found out about the natural world. A religion which is in constant process of revision to square with science’s ever-changing picture of the world might well be easier to believe, but it’s hard to believe it would be worth believing (Quoting Philosopher C. E. M. Joad–find source).
I just thought that was a pretty succinct way of underscoring what you said.
Jeff: Succinct, and clear way of expressing exactly what I feel.
Atheism to Belief
Karen: So, tell us a little bit, Jeff, about what did bring you over the chasm from atheism to belief, as we then move into a discussion of how we actually confine that for ourselves, for our audience.
Atheists Have Belief Systems!
Jeff: Well, I guess I was an undergraduate at the time, just before I started graduate school, and I had gradually gotten over my militant atheism to understand, and just had a deep abiding feeling that there was stuff that I was missing. That there were other sources of information than Maxwell’s equations, or what I could see with my eyes. I came to realize, in fact, that I had a belief system as an atheist!–just some different beliefs. I realized that this was a set of beliefs that I could not explain; it was not even consistent with the information available from science. For instance: What caused the Big Bang? What preceded the Big Bang? Why are there 26, depending on how you count them, unexplained physical constants? Why must I accept them on fait? Why is there in fact an anthropic principle, an anthropic principle that tells us that any slight variation of these twenty-six constants would preclude the existence of life in the universe? I just became really aware that I was no different from a friend of mine, named Jerry, who was a devout evangelical Christian, whom I had had a number of discussions with; and I had actually disparaged his belief. I realized that I was being hypocritical.
Karen: I think that’s powerful to recognize that you had your own belief system as an atheist. I think that’s a very powerful statement–and a realization that perhaps others need to come to in order to be open to the possibility of truth, as you said, from other sources. And I think when we talked last, you mentioned that you realized at some point that truth, whatever that was, is what you said to me, is something that could be found in other places as well, through other means. And that you sort of began to dabble in some other religions at that time, before coming to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. I found it interesting that you said, “truth, whatever that was,” so at that point you really didn’t have a specific ideas as to what truth was. Speak to that…
Jeff: Yeah, I had a sense that there was truth out there, but I didn’t know what it was. I did a lot of searching, and I studied Daoism, then I studied Buddhism, and I briefly studied Islam. I realized that the first two were basically alogorithms of the philosophies of men. Something that I’d observed early on is that everyone really believes in God. Everyone builds gods for themselves. Biologists, keeping in their own particular comfort zones, often place their faith and belief in Darwin and natural selection. Well, there is evidence all around us supporting this, so, why not? But then they extend it, it must be the ultimate truth. If it doesn’t explain things like the origin of replicative life, or the Big Bang, or what our purpose here in life is, well they have faith, and I emphasize that word. Biologists have faith that it will answer all of these things someday. Where is the proof of any of this?… None of this is testable, so it’s really not science.
If There Were No God, There Would Be No Atheists
Karen: I think what you really underscore there is that there is a hunger, a unrelenting hunger for the transcendent, and there is a belief in something. I guess the quote that comes to mind, to me, is “if there were no God, there would be no atheists.” There is a belief system either way. And there is a hunger, an unrelenting hunger, as I said, for God. I think it was Ravi Zacharias that said as he has traveled and criss-crossed the world, and gone to Russia and China many times, that as he has seen the cultures that have tried, in their own way, to exterminate the idea of God, only to realize that He rises up to outlive His pallbearers. Powerful. And I think another gentlemen, Bernard Lonergan said:
There lies within his horizon a region for the divine, a shrine for ultimate holiness. It cannot be ignored. The atheist may pronounce it empty. The agnostic may urge that he finds his investigation has been inconclusive. The contemporary humanist will refuse to allow the question to arise. But their negations presuppose the spark in our clod, our native orientation to the divine (Method of Theology, University of Toronto Press, 1971, p. 103).
The atheist may pronounce it empty, or as you said they may create another belief system. The agnostic may urge that he finds his investigation inconclusive. The contemporary humanists will refuse to let the question arise perhaps. But their negations presuppose the spark our need of orientation to the divine.
Extreme Post-Modernists, Secularists, Humanists: Paying the Toll of Despair
Well, let’s move on. We’ve talked a little bit about how we’ve gotten there. The whole concept of truth in our day has just been pummeled to death. I see it as a piñata, and it’s like the extreme post-modernists have come along with secularists and humanists; and sort of punched it out so that there is nothing left to it. And the remnants are on the floor, everybody leaves, and they have their own little wrapper of despair. Its not any wonder then, that we are where we began in the beginning. Which is that some of these philosophies lead to despair. And you know, when I Googled “despair” I saw that 368,000 a month are searching for that term, looking under that term. And “meaning of life” 265,000 monthly global searches. That speaks to people that really do feel the spark, and want to know truth, but aren’t sure that it really does exist, and how they can find it. So, back to our point: God lives! Truth exists! We’re not just “dust in the wind” as the song goes. So, the good news is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers a different message, a method and an outcome of knowing and living and finding truth.
We will be right back with Karen, and I Believe, in just a moment. If you’re interested in being considered as a guest on I Believe: Expressions of Faith, please send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and topics that you wish to offer commentary. And now back to I Believe and Karen Trifiletti.
Karen: So what is truth? This is what we’ve been building up to here, on the cast today. And how do we find it? Truth is knowledge of things as they are. As they were and as they are to come. I think that’s simply powerful and powerfully simple. And maybe we need to just reflect and let that distill on us, those who are seeking, those who are searching to know.
Jeff: And I would comment that if it’s relative, if it’s changing, and if it’s evolving, then it really can’t be truth because it’s basically dust drifting through the wind.
To Say There is No Absolute Truth Is Contradictory
Karen: Perfect. Thank you. And in that sense too, to just believe in truth, first of all, is contradictory in and of itself. In other words, to say there is no absolute truth would be to declare an absolute truth so that’s even a self-contradiction. So let’s say this, that absolute truth exists and stands independent of us. So that means if one of us believes it, or 14,000,000 of us believe it, it doesn’t matter, again, truth is independent of us. God reveals it, He is the source of it, in fact, the glory of God, as I believe, is intelligence and light and truth. So as we mentioned before, we can’t learn everything empirically, though we can learn some things that are truth from science empirically.
Knowing Truth Empirically & Through Revelation
There are other ways of learning truth, and one of those ways is revelation–where God actually reveals truth to us. We want to speak to that. But before we get to how He does that, and putting yourself in a position if you’re a searcher and a seeker, to find that. We want to talk just a little bit more about what truth is and what it isn’t. I like particularly what John MacArthur has said what truth is not. He says:
Truth is not subjective. It is not a consensual, cultural construct. It is not an invalid, outdated, irrelevant concept. Truth is the self-expression of God. Truth is thus theological. It is the reality God has created and defined in over which He rules. And therefore, it’s a moral issue for every human being (What Is Truth?, Grace to You, A379).
I like that. And of course, it was Jesus who said, “I am the way, and the truth and the light” (John 14:6). So really, the fullness of truth can’t be arrived at without a comprehension of Him and coming to a personal knowledge of Him–and to the extent to which that knowledge grows is the extent to which we can also come to know a fullness of truth.
Now for some of you who don’t yet know the Savior, or that God lives, you’re probably saying, “Well, that’s great, that truth is out there, and you’re saying it’s knowable, and I’m willing to experiment with that idea. But where do I go from here?” Jeff, I will let you comment first. So what if we want to know God, or find out the truth? Where do we start?
Knowing Truth: Humility
Jeff: Well, the first thing that we need to do is accept the idea that we may not know everything right now. For all of us, it’s hard to be humble. But it doesn’t hurt to ask around. Actually, this was very hard for me initially. People are naturally humble, naturally teachable, and I was one of the worst and most stubborn of people in this category. I’d been fed a lot of garbage as a child, and I had become deeply suspicious. But the crucial thing is, to be humble.
Karen: Thank you. I think it does start with openness and a humility. And just willingness and a desire to believe. And then the process goes from there. So sometimes we miss the obvious, and that is to ask. If you want to know, really, that God lives, you can just ask.
Try Prayer & The Word of God: Free Bible Offer
Prayer is a means of asking and communing with God. And so for those who may not have begun to experiment with this desire to know if truth exists, if God exists, you might consider nurturing that desire by beginning to pray and studying the word of God. We’ll talk a little bit about how you might do that. But even if you open up the New Testament, and you can also request a free copy of the scriptures from our site, www.ibelievepodcast.com, but you could start with the Gospel of Matthew, or just with a few verses, and read those and ponder and reflect on them.
The Holy Ghost Testifies of Truth: It’s Our Native Spiritual Language
Let me share a couple things with you for example: There is a promise in the scriptures, that God is a rewarder, or a revealer of all those who diligently seek Him. Think about that. Here’s another scripture: “the Spirit of truth shall testify of me” (John 15:26). I think that means that you will not be left alone to know the truth. There is a Spirit who is commissioned to speak to your spirit and testify that truth exists. And you don’t have to worry about the Lord’s capacity to communicate with you in a way that you’ll get it. He is God and He will provide answers according to your own language and your own understanding. You know, He can communicate with our Spirit, and it’s our native language, our native spiritual language. He can do that. So just be sincere and wait on Him as directed, even on this inspired verse which I love in Psalms, “wait on the Lord, be of Good courage, and He shall strengthen thy heart (Psalm 27:14).” So as you read some of these scriptures, here is another one for you, “the Spirit witnesses with our Spirit that we are children of God (Hebrews 12:9).” So again, ponder and reflect. If you haven’t prayed before, you just kneel down and speak to your Father in heaven by addressing Him as such. And perhaps you can refer to Psalms 52:8, in which the Lord says simply, “Pour your heart out to Him.”
Open in Prayer: Share Hopes, Fears, Desires, Thoughts, Doubts
So pray to God, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. You know, you can share openly what you’re going through, your hurts, any reasons that you have previously discounted Him or truth. You can be very very open just as you would with a caring Father in heaven. I like the Psalm that says, “I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.” (Psalm 38:8). Certainly many of us who don’t have anchor in this world, feel that way. And so you can go to Him in that state. You can share your hopes, your fears, your disappointments, ask questions, and close in the name of Jesus Christ. Prayer is that simple, and that personal. And I witness that He will answer you if you are sincere in your desire to know if He is there. And He will make that very clear to you, in His time, and in His way.
God is Personal, Not Distant Force
I think one of the reasons that spiritual things can’t be forced is because God wants to find the very best way and the very best time to manifest His will, and His presence to you, as we’re able to follow Him. But as we do as we learn and feel impressed to do, then we feel His guidance. And the more we do that, the more we feel that He is present with us. In your own experience Jeff, in coming to the truth, do you remember how that light went on when you realized that He was there for you, or He was personal and not a distant force?
Jeff: Yes, it started gradually. Initially by a growing sense that I’m missing the information, that I’m not on the right path right now.
God’s Love: No More Out in the Cold
Karen: And then what did it feel like once you experienced God’s love? How did that manifest itself for you? Or how did that change your whole perspective? What did that feel like?
Jeff: Wow, it was a real shock. I’d been an atheist for about ten years; and I’d been out in the cold for ten years. And to see this open up to me and to have this come into my mind, when I’d ask for it, both astounded me and thrilled me. It brought me to tears. It was like, “I’m not alone.”
Karen: Thank you, I think that’s exactly what I felt when I had my experience and came to know that God lived. I was actually out jogging, and it was if a panorama of everything that had happened in my life sort of condensed before me and I felt, almost, this spiritual infusion into my soul which I couldn’t even begin to describe as real as my speaking to you now. It filled me with the knowledge that God lived, which I had not known just moments earlier. And what was interesting for me is that the witness that God lived, the knowledge, it came to me first intellectually, it came to my mind that there must be a God. Long process in coming to that, but that actually came first. The spiritual witness that came to my heart and to me, came second.
God Tells Us Both In Our Minds and Hearts When Something Is True
But in either case, one thing that I do want to point out is that the Lord Himself tells us, that when He does answer us, He’ll tell us in our mind and in our heart, if it is right and true. So we actually have two witnesses, which I absolutely love. We don’t have to just rely on feeling, because feeling can be deceptive. And it’s not just an intellectual process, though it is a rigorous intellectual process to study and come to know God. But it’s a blend of both. Do you want to say anything to that?
I Could Pray & Test Answers: Faith Version of the Scientific Experiment
Jeff: Yeah. My personal experience, that seemed to certainly work for me, was of course to start with the humility. And to kind of open up your mind to new ideas. Because I had really blinded myself, as a lot of people–especially in the scientific world–do. Second, my personal observation from a lot of work is that everyone really, most people anyway, are really scientists, natural scientists, that they want to know and understand something, that they want to understand the world around them. Very few people are totally inert to that. One thing that gave me the greatest hope and excitement was to learn that I could actually pray and test the answers I had received. So anybody can be a scientist, in the sense that they can do this, and test the answers that they received.
Karen: One of the things that Jeff mentioned, was this idea of testing truth. And I have to tell you that there is part of scripture that I’ve come to just absolutely love. I call it the faith equivalent of the scientific experiment. And it’s recorded in modern revelation–we’ll talk more about that on other casts; but the principle is this, and I will quote also from the scriptures, “if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words” (Alma 32:27). And then it’s compared to a seed. And the scripture goes on to say this, “if [it is a] good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord… it will begin to swell within [you];… [you] will begin to say…—It must needs be that this is a good seed… for it beginneth to enlarge my soul;… it beginneth to enlighten my understanding… it beginneth to be delicious to me” (Modern Revelation: Book of Mormon: Alma 32:28). I love that because as we seek the truth, you can literally feel and know that your mind and heart are being enlightened and expanded, and your knowledge of truth is growing. And that can be a witness to you.
Is This Real? Can I Trust This Revelation?
And I want to tell you that you will know this is real, and not your imagining or self-will, because then the scripture also says this, “O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good…” (Alma 32:35). So real? Yes! Very very real. And you need to have that confidence that those answers that come that way, to your mind and heart, through God’s Spirit are trustworthy and real.
Resisting Truth and God: Unbelief Is a Choice
Thank you so much for sharing those poignant feelings. I know that when I first received that witness too, that God lived, my first reaction was like you. I sat down on a curb and sobbed. The first words I spoke were, “There is a God. I belong.” I mean, I felt I belonged. And I was loved. It’s tangible. And it’s real. To anyone of you out there that’s looking, I witness, and we witness, that God is there and He loves you. And He wants to be found. You know, I also, the second thing that I said is kind of funny, but not, I said, “you dummy, you knew it all along.” I have to say that I knew I had been resisting; fully knowing until that moment. And maybe I wouldn’t have been ready. But now I understand in retrospect, that I had suppressed, perhaps, in some ways, a knowledge of God. And that’s latent in us. That the Spirit will testify of, as soon as we’re ready for it to. I found that that’s also born out in some scriptures that I will save for another post. But once you feel that love of God, and love of Christ, it changes your life. It certainly colored my world. I learned that Jesus died, not only to save me physically, as I was about to take my life, but that he died to save me spiritually. And my life has been transformed. He colors my world. He delights me in a million ways. He touches me daily–as does the Father–with Their love and presence. I’d like to close this cast with a quote by a well-known journalist, as yet another witness of Him, it was Malcolm Muggeridge, who says this:
I may, I suppose, regard myself, or pass for being, a relatively successful man. People occasionally stare at me in the streets. That’s fame. I can easily earn enough for admission to the upper slopes of the Internal Revenue. That’s success. Furnished with money and fame, even the elderly, if they care to, may partake of trendy diversions. That’s pleasure. It may happen once in awhile that something I said or wrote was sufficiently heeded for me to persuade myself that it represented a serious impact on our time. That’s fulfillment. Yet I say to you, and I beg you to believe me, multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing. Less than nothing, measured against one drop of that living water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty, irrespective of who or what they are.
As St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless til’ they find rest in Thee.” Thanks, Jeff, for being with us. We want to say God bless you in your spiritual journey to hear His voice, among all others. And we invite that, and pray for you, and look forward to hearing from you. In the name of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for listening to I Believe: Expressions of Faith. With host, Karen Trifiletti. For the text of this podcast and links to resource material referenced in this show, visit our website at ibelievepodcast.com. Please subscribe to our podcast to stay up on the latest episodes. And don’t hesitate to join the conversation Twitter, and follow us on Facebook. Until next time, thank you for listening to I Believe: Expressions of Faith.
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