In my last entry ‘What is the Gospel’, I spoke quite a lot about faith. The bible says: ‘without faith it is impossible to please him (God), for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him’ (Hebrews 11:6). For this reason, if you are an agnostic, ‘sitting on the fence’, maybe thinking that you’re not a bad person and that if there is a God, you’ll get by okay, I’d urge you to think again. I’d suggest to you that the fence you believe you are sitting on doesn’t exist; it is purely imaginary. If you like to imagine fences where there aren’t any, try imagining this particular fence as being so narrow that there isn’t room to sit on it. You must be on either one side of it or the other. As Jesus said: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30).
If we are not on the right side of the imaginary fence and don’t already have this faith, how do we get it? I can only answer this by quoting the words of Jesus: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matt 7:7-8). To do as Jesus says, we need to remember Hebrews 11:6, open our mind, and admit that just maybe we’ve been wrong up to now. This may mean eating lots of humble pie and backtracking, which may in turn make us look stupid in front of our family and friends. Well if that’s the case, so be it.
I’ve always believed that if we reach the point where we are truly seeking God, ready to get off our imaginary fence (and our high-horse) and take the first faltering steps towards him, then God’s hand is already on our shoulder, gently guiding us towards himself. Put another way, if we’re searching for God, he’s already found us. There is a great mystery here. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” says Jesus to his first disciples (John 15:16). I believe he says the same to those of us who believe in him and follow him today.