A few days ago, I was reading in Proverbs and a verse struck me, but before I go into it, I want to mention that I have trust issues. Always have. People have let me down, and to be honest, I've been disappointed by more Christians than non-Christians. I think it's because I expect pastors, ministry leaders, and seasoned Christians to act and behave according to a higher standard than the rest of the world.
It seems like there is a church split everywhere I go, and eventually the pastor is asked to step down. As a result, I don't just "go by" what a pastor says anymore. I go by what I feel God is teaching me in my heart as I read the Word for myself. If I hear a sermon, I don't just take it at "face value", I meditate on it, pray about it, and let God give me confirmation or understanding when I'm ready to receive it. People who blindly follow ministry leaders without searching the word and developing a personal relationship with God on their own, are putting themselves at risk of being deeply hurt by those who are "wolves in sheep's clothing" and who are motivated for the wrong reasons.
God never promised that our journey or walk with Him will be easy. In fact, He warns us that it will be hard at times. That is why maintaining a balance is so important. We have to find a way, to be cautious without being so rigid that we become unteachable or unwilling to change for the better. That's why I don't get all self-righteous and angry when a person who wants scientific proof of God's existence before being won over. I can't blame that person. I usually want proof from someone before I accept what they are saying as truth, especially if I don't know the person, or we are just acquaintances. God's Word tells us to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. They have a right to ask questions to make sure they aren't being duped and they have a clear understanding.
So many people come to Christ from "feel good messages" thinking that as soon as they give their life to God and accept the Word, that all their problems are going to be magically solved and they will be "delivered" from all their strongholds, addictions, habits, and bad thoughts. While it can happen, it isn't likely, because God wants them to understand how they got that way. It didn't happen overnight. It takes time to learn to resist the things that hurt us, especially when it feels good at the moment, but will hurt in the long run. If they were magically delivered, how would they learn to live in a way that will prevent them from getting that way again? It's a process. A journey.
Many Christians view people who want scientific proof as another doubting Thomas. I view them as another Saul, who became Paul. Someone who needs proof is so adamant in what they believe that they go overboard and beyond 100% to stand up for what they believe in. These individuals are determined to make their points heard, known, and understood. They are relentless. No pastor is likely to make them believe, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit will it happen. We may mean well, but we can't force them. Let God do the work.
Just like God had to knock Saul off his donkey and blind him for 3 days, it will take a supernatural experience for these individuals to make believers out of them. This is why I don't go into endless debates with them. It only fosters anger and frustration. When the time comes, it will not be because of anything I did or said. But I will be there, if and when, they ever need me to help them just as God used Ananias after Saul had his supernatural experience.
Those who want and need scientific proof are the Saul's of the world who later become the Paul's of God's Word. If they ever become true believers, they are mighty individuals that God can use for His glory in a way He can't use the rest of us, because we don't have the DNA makeup for it. They have the natural propensity to be relentless, regardless of what happens to them. Look at all that Paul endured. His path wasn't meant for the other disciples. God chose Saul for a special mission for a reason. I think it was because of who Saul was and who God knew he could be as Paul.
Like me, these individuals struggle with trust issues and faith. That's why they need the supernatural touch of God. I know, because I'm one of them. I've experienced the supernatural, but who is going to believe it, but those who have experienced it too, or those who have a stronger gift of faith to believe what they can't see? There is a part of me that needs to understand things. I need that explanation, and it must make sense to me. But I am finally coming to accept that I don't need to understand everything. I need to trust God. I can trust him with what I don't understand, but this trust wasn't immediate and it came at a price--a price I wouldn't want to repeat if I can help it.
The verse that struck me and prompted all these thoughts is, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5
For those who might be interested, a great book I would recommend is "The DNA of God?" by Dr. Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes. He was an atheist who converted once he set out to disprove the existence of God. Like most things, this book has its critiques, but I enjoyed it. I hope you will too if you decide to read it.