Better than make believe

By  TIMOTHY SUMNER

River of Hope Ministries 

Can you remember being a youngster and playing make believe?  My parents gave me a present that looked like the head of a horse with a stick attached and wanted me to make believe that I was riding a horse. I used to sit on the seat of our farm tractor and make believe that I was actually driving it, shifting the gears, turning the steering wheel and stepping on the brakes. Cartoons would be on TV on Saturdays with Wile E Coyote being able to fall off of a high cliff to splat on the valley floor below. We were led to believe that he would get right back up to pursue the Road Runner. Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, God – two are make believe, one is real? That is what my pastor wanted me to believe.

Something inside of me said that God was not in the same category as Santa Claus and the others. And so I went searching to see what the Bible had to say about him and to determine if “The Good Book” was also make believe. This set me on a path to seek truth. I had no time for exercises in futility so wasting time looking for something that didn’t exist was senseless.

In my search, I found in the writing of Amos (4:13) that God reveals himself and his thoughts to mankind and therefore to me. As I contemplated this idea, I came across a verse in Jeremiah (29:13) that says that I will find him when I look for him with all my heart. Hebrews (11:6) goes on to say that there is more to it than just believing that he exists, but that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Again, I can apply this to me.

Wait. I had been told all my life that all I needed was to believe in God with my mind. You know the verse: “God so loved the world…that whosoever believes….” But other verses reveal that there is something more that I needed to enter into a relationship with him. How in the world do I do that?

It became important for me to be open to looking outside of the dimension that I was accustomed to, that which I could see, hear, taste, touch  and smell. Jesus stated in John (4:24) that God is spirit and that we need to begin looking at life from the spiritual dimension as well as looking for and believing in truth. This seemed to resonate with the idea of heaven and hell being real places with real joy or real sorrow. I could more easily see myself as spirit who lived in a body and has a soul. When my body wears out and dies, I will live on.

Looking at life like this began to change my perspective. Praying for more money or for God to pay my bills gave way to praying for God to show himself to me in new ways, fresh ways  and exciting ways. I began to see the handiwork of his creation in the sunsets, in the formation of the clouds and in the beauty of flowers. I discovered that he made all of this for our enjoyment. Rather than focusing on what is wrong with the world, I began to see the hand of God all around me.

But in the vastness of the universe, is there a God who knows that I exist, who cares about me and what happens to me? Matthew writes in chapter 10 verse 30 that he knows me so well that the hairs on my head are numbered. God further goes on to tell me of his plans to prosper and not harm, to provide a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

While he is concerned about that which concerns us, he is more concerned with the intangible things of life; things that money can’t buy. He provides hope in helping us to prosper eternally as we look at life from a spiritual perspective. Hope comes as a result of us trusting in him with all our hearts and not trusting in our own understanding of things. When we call out to him for wisdom, guidance, and answers, he promises to show us “great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33.3 NIV).

Paul wrote that our eyes have yet to see, our ears have yet to hear and our minds have yet to conceive of all that God has in store for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). These are things that are revealed to us by his Spirit. I want to discover more.

God is so much better than make believe.