By Kenneth Stepp
I have many friends, most believe in a god of some type on some level. Where does belief come from? I would say that generational belief is at the root of most people’s faith in whatever they believe. Their parents were this or that, and now they are. Some live out their beliefs, while others say they believe something, but their actions seldom show that belief. I suppose religion works that way for many. I will admit that I have to experience something, test it, study it, and understand it fully before I believe anything. If I hear a story on the news for example, my first thought is, what really happened?
Those who know me best, know that I have spent most of my life trying to understand God. Who He is, what He is, and how He works in our daily lives, if He does at all. Imperial evidence is lacking for those without experiencing the deity I speak of. I have heard stories and been a part of some at the same time, but the God I speak of always tends to let this naysayer have a way out of believing. He leaves room for me to have faith, a must in what I believe in personally.
Davis was a high school friend of mine and we were close, he painted houses for a living. He was never rich and seldom had enough, but he always gave 10% to his God’s work. He had some neighbors move in and everything changed for him. His family’s peaceful existence was shattered by the noisiest ingrates on the planet. They had a mini bike and ran it all day and half the night. One day he was praying about his neighbor and how it bothered him. He came out of his room and told his wife that he was confused about what God told him to do next. His wife said, whatever it is, be obedient.
Obedience is never easy really, it especially wasn’t in this instance. David was fighting it, especially since it was 9:30 PM and that mini bike was just starting up again. He took a deep breath and headed next door. His new neighbor had been there for weeks, but they had never met. David walked up to the door, rang the bell and waited. A young lady answered the door holding a small child on her hip.My name is David, he pointed to his home, I’m next door. I know this will sound crazy, but God told me to give you my tithe this week, David handed her a hand full of cash. As tears welled up in her eyes, she said, I prayed for the first time in my life that we would be able to pay our water bill. It was cut off yesterday and we had no idea what to do.
This story was from decades ago, I actually got to know his neighbors after that. David hired the young man to paint with him, friends for life and beyond. I’ve heard so many of these stories over time. They build your faith, or at least they do mine. Did David hear from his God? If results answer that, then yes. Was David so angry at his neighbor for all the noise that he just guilted himself into thinking he heard from Heaven? And there it is, that faith thing again.
My wife and I were coming back from counselling one evening, we were in separate cars because I was coming from my office. She was behind me, it was raining very badly, the sky had opened up. As traffic slowed, I looked for the reason why. There was a car broke down and a girl standing in the rain beside it, she was drenched and looked a bit lost. I stopped, rolled down my window and asked if I could help. She got in my truck, she was obese, smelled awful, and looked a mess. In our society, she wasn’t getting much help out there. I called my garage and had her car picked up, I told my friend to bill me for whatever was wrong and drove her home. As she was exiting my truck she looked at me and asked, are you an angel?
An angel? That has amused me often, even 11 years later. I’m the furthest thing from that, so was David. Does God change our hearts? Is that how it works? Do we somehow wake up one day and we care more? These are the questions I asked all the time. I can’t prove there is a God. Nut I can point to countless stories of how God moved in situations that makes no Earthly sense. To see a stranger and want to help, to care about someone even though they annoy you, these are miracles in a way. We are all selfish, we all love ourselves too much. What causes us to sacrifice for others? Great questions that have no answers unless you believe in something bigger than you. As I often do, I end with more questions than answers. But faith covers those nicely.
This is not what I usually write about. But in this holiday season I am reminded that according to what I believe, sacrifice is the most important thing there is. It’s the middle of Winter and it’s cold outside. Be nice, be generous, and remember there are hurting people out there. Give them the gift of a smile every chance you get.