I have become friends with some of these people, and we continue to talk after our initial podcast recording. I've also become friends with a lady after she and I had a cultural debate on twitter, and now we chat, call and Skype fairly regularly. In all these cases, both parties respect the culture and opinions of the other, and we're always interested in hearing the other person's point of view, even if it differs greatly from ours. This has helped me understand many things better. It has also placed a painful burden on me, and I've been holding it in for too long. Now I must speak.
I'm writing this for my atheist and agnostic friends. For those who are willing to hear my point of view, even if they disagree with it. This isn't for those who don't even want to hear anything about my faith, or who are coming just to bash what I say.
I'll start with an allegory. This isn't a perfect example, but it will have to do. I have never met many of the people who have inspired me to write this post. I may never meet them physically in person. What happens if you try to convince me that they don't exist? Well, good luck with that. I've seen pictures. I've heard their voices. I've made video calls with some of them. I've seen their work. I know others who have seen them or heard about them. I've made them angry, happy or surprised sometimes. They've told me stories. All of it can't be coincidental. Can't all just be in my mind. It isn't blind faith in technology.
Now, what happens when you tell me that God doesn't exist? See the previous paragraph. He has never come to me in person physically (though I know people He has done that to), but I've seen His work. I've heard his voice (literally). I've made Him angry, happy and surprised sometimes. He is more real to me than my internet friends, because He never changes. Because He isn't putting His good foot forward. I don't have to wonder what the not-so-nice sides are that I can't see from my vantage point.
One thing that baffles me is how people somehow ignore all the physical proof God has provided them. To explain that, let me point out something first. First of all, I know that the spiritual isn't always the spectacular. TV and fiction has made people think that if something spiritual was happening, then we should be seeing a supernatural and dramatic suspension of natural laws. That is the exception, and not the norm. I will give examples of both from my life (and the life of my close relatives) later in this article. So back to my initial point, I've noticed that even in those exceptional cases, where the spectacular actually happened, people try to explain it away as smokes and mirrors, or they straight up don't talk about it.
Isn't it in the last 150 years, when cameras and audio recorders already existed for irrefutable proof, that we had people like Kathryn Kuhlman, Kenneth E. Hagin and Smith Wigglesworth? Between them, we've seen limbs grow back, dead people come back to life, terminal diseases instantly vanish and so on. I know thousands of people who have experienced this on a more personal basis, but I mentioned these preachers because they're the ones who we have video or audio evidence of such miracles.
Could it be the counterfeits that cause people to write off even the real ones? Could it be those people who stage their miracles that have made skeptics out of people? If so, let me remind the skeptics that there's never a counterfeit unless there's an original. There's a reason you never see a fake $37 bill. No one would fall for it, because there's no real $37 bill! That's why religion exists. It is the counterfeit to a relationship with God, which exists to lead away those who aren't atheist or agnostic from the true God to false gods, or to limit their relationship with the true God even if they aren't in a wrong relationship.
Let me give examples of the supernatural that I have experienced either directly, or by witnessing someone else experience it. I'll start with God's normal mode of operations, which are not spectacular, but no less spiritual. I was born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit by the age of 8. I've been speaking in tongues since then. The wonderful thing about the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that it clears your doubts. A mere Christian/church goer can doubt everything he has heard, but when the Holy Spirit lives in you, it's a simple case of "if they made all this stuff up, did they make up the person in me too. Did they make up the tongues?"
Many Christians, even the Spirit filled ones, have a hard time learning to listen to God, because they expect a regal, audible voice. But the Bible talks about the "still, small voice". That's the way he typically speaks with us. We ignore it as our own intuition or imagination, until we learn to know the difference. It took me years, but now, I know the difference between when God is speaking to me, and when I'm just thinking stuff up on my own. And He typically confirms it by telling someone else to tell you the same thing. The Bible proves this. Most of the time people were led in the Bible, it wasn't by an angel or an audible voice or a vision. We just tend to remember the spectacular cases more readily.
Another example is healing. I haven't been ill since 2008 when I accepted the free gift of divine health that Jesus provided for me. Most people expect miraculous healing, but they fail to see that most of the time, it was taken/received, and not dumped on us. It has already been provided. You can give a man food, but will you also shove it down his throat? All these are simple truths that can easily be confirmed from looking at biblical examples. Now let's move on to more spectacular cases.
The only time I audibly heard God's voice was when Jesus came to my youngest brother in a dream. We (his two older brothers) were overhearing our little brother's voice and the voice of a man while we slept. I actually woke up thinking my brother was trying to talk to me, and I was like "yes?", but I saw he was asleep. I couldn't understand why I was hearing his voice and a man's voice, and I didn't know that my other brother was hearing it too. It was when he went to tell our parents the following morning about his dream that I realized why God had let us hear it. He was probably about 5 years old then. If his two older brothers hadn't confirmed it to our parents, they might have thought he had a random childish dream, and not a spiritual one.
Which reminds me of the day my direct younger brother told us that God had asked him whether he wanted our dad to come home that morning (our dad was out of the country). He said he did and God showed him where our dad was seated in the plane, and said we'd have to pray if we wanted to see him that morning. So we prayed against a plane crash and all. After that, my mum tried to convince my brother that God might have been speaking figuratively. Maybe daddy would come home next week....because he hadn't called to say he was coming, and she wasn't expecting him. But my brother insisted that God said he'd be home by 10am, and he was home by 10am. We asked him and he sat exactly where my brother said he sat in the plane.
In October 2014, within a 3 day period, my mum, my brother and my former roommate (who graduated before me so I was alone on campus at this time) all separately had dreams in which I died. And in one case, I died swimming, something that should be a piece of cake to me. I never swim when I'm in school, so I kept trying to figure out what that could actually represent. I rode a bicycle almost every single day when I was in school, so I had become good at it. It didn't occur to me that it could be what swimming represented in my friend's dream, but I had an accident later that day at a turning where a car could have come and hit me if it had happened at the wrong time. Of course, I went into full battle mode like we do whenever shit gets real, and fasted and prayed that spirit of death away from me.
|I'm hiding my friend's name for privacy, but you can see the date the chat happened|
|Only about 5 hours later...on the same day...|
|So I reported the incident on my family's WhatsApp group|
|Still hiding whatever I consider personal information|
God watches over His own. I have peace because I know I CAN'T be ill, I CAN'T die an untimely death, I know the purpose for which I exist and I know I'm on the right track, and I know that my life isn't by chance, but is in the hands of someone that loves me more than I love myself, and has better plans for me than I could ever dream up myself. He's my father, and He's my friend. I have a real relationship with him, not religion. This is why it hurts me so much when I hold back truths that I know from friends that I know won't believe me.
Even now, I've held back so much from this post because from my experience on the vgchartz.com forums, people can and will explain away anything they don't want to believe. They will use natural, physical logic to try and explain the spiritual world. Just as the natural world has the laws of physics, which many of you have learnt to various degrees, the spiritual laws has the laws of the spirit, which believers (and occultists and so on) have learnt to various degrees, and those laws will work for anyone who applies them, and ignorance won't stop the laws from working for or against a person.
I couldn't rest during my prayer time this morning. Writing this post was laid so heavily on my heart that I've written the entire thing at one go without pausing. I searched my WhatsApp chat history and took those screenshots while I was still writing this. In fact, episode 44 of this blog is still in draft format, but I had to get this out. I know it may change my relationship with some of my friends once they read it, but I have to do it. And I'm posting it without checking for typos or political correctness or anything, before I let external factors water down what God has placed in my heart to say today. *Mic drop*