Friday, March 08, 2013

Correspondence with God

Dear God...
An 11-year-old wrote a letter to God recently. A youth leader passed it onto me and asked could I reply – on God’s behalf? Quite a responsibility! This is that letter, and my (God’s?) reply.

Dear God,
I’m kind of losing faith in You. Nothing very good has come out of my attempts to connect with You. It’s like flogging a dead horse. But I want to keep trying because I’ve heard of your effect on people. Show me something that will change my mind about You otherwise there is no point in pursuing this ‘fantasy’.
From Ashley*, still hoping.

Dear Ashley,
I don’t usually write letters to people and even this one I’m writing through my friend James. (He doesn’t always get me quite right, but I know he’ll try his best.) You told me that because I’m not always easy to find (because I don’t write letters and that sort of thing) you’re losing your faith in me. I hope this letter helps you because I made you, I love you, and I want you to have deep faith because it’s faith like that that can shape you into who you’re meant to be.

So why don’t I make myself more obvious? Why don’t I write more letters? (In fact, I have written an important letter, but I’ll tell you about Him later.) Why don’t I do lots of obvious miracles for you or send a shining angel to tell you I’m real? The reason is, like I said, that I want you to have faith. When I first made people – human beings – they turned away from me, didn’t trust me. They were faithless. That cut them off from me. It meant they couldn’t grow up into who I made them to be.

I made them to be like me: wise, powerful, creative, loving. But doubt and fear stole their destiny. To rescue my human creatures I had to give them room to have faith. If I made it too easy, if I made faith not necessary, if I just gave them certainty – they’d never grow up.

My rescue plan got going with a man called Abraham. He believed some pretty unlikely stuff that I whispered into his thoughts – about having lots of babies even though he and his wife were past the age to have children. He believed me, unlikely though it seemed. His faith joined him to me. Bit by bit, he started to become who he was meant to be. He wasn’t perfect. He struggled to believe and to understand. But he kept hold of faith in Me. Today he’s got millions of children. In fact, everyone who has faith – who believes – they’re all his ‘children’.

That was the start of My rescue plan, but it went much further than that. It breaks My heart that fear and doubt and death spoil My children. When the right time came, I did write a letter: a letter to every person, everywhere. It wasn’t a letter made out of words on a page. It was a person – Jesus. If you want to know who I am, look at Him, ‘read’ Him. (I got some other friends of mine, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to write down what He said and did, and that might help.

You know about Jesus, of course. But I want to ask you to keep looking at Him, keep finding out more about Him, keep listening out for His voice. That will make faith grow in you – the kind of faith that changes you into who you were made to be.

Jesus had to have faith as well – even though He’s My Son! He had to learn how to trust Me when it was hard to understand or believe. There was one time when He was desperate and afraid. He was praying in a garden and He asked Me to change things, to rescue Him. I had to say no – and Jesus knew I’d said no. He knew He was going to be crucified. At that point He made a decision – like Abraham had, only His decision was even harder – to trust anyway. To believe anyway.

In that moment Jesus – yes, even Jesus – grew up. He became who He was made to be. And His death (and His resurrection because I didn’t abandon Him) meant that he became the Saviour of the world.

I want you to be like Jesus. You’ll still be you – uniquely you, I’ve made no-one else exactly like you – but like Jesus: grown-up in faith and love.

Then you’ll know that it’s not that you can’t see Me – but that by Me you can see everything else.

With love, still hoping,

*Ashley is not the 11-year-old's real name 


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