How does a college student get interested in reading theology in her spare time?
My life doesn’t have an exciting tragedy to share with you. It isn’t a tearjerker story, and I doubt it’ll inspire or impress you. So I’m not going to tell you that I became a Christian when I once was a hopeless drug addict with no family and living on the streets.
I had a happy childhood growing up in a Christian family. My family loved and cared for me. I was raised on Bible stories and worship music. The story of Moses and Amazing Grace were like the Pledge of Allegiance or ABCs. I knew all the right answers in Children’s Church.
Christianity was woven so tightly into my early life that I believed everyone I knew also knew Jesus and would go to heaven. I remember being shocked in middle school to meet a girl who said she didn’t believe in life after death.
“What about heaven and hell?” I asked.
She shook her head. “They don’t exist.”
For the first time in my memory, I had to face that not everyone believed the same things I did. Which made me wonder, why did I believe the things I did? How could I tell others there is a heaven if I couldn’t back it up? I held onto my faith, but these questions grew in my mind.
In ninth grade, God answered my unspoken prayers. I went to a youth group conference and found an interesting book on the merch table. The cover had a hand print with a blood red blot in the palm. The back cover asked in bold caps, “WHO WAS JESUS?” As I read the back cover, I found out a legal journalist wrote the book after investigating evidence for Jesus.
Lee Strobel, a highly critical atheist, spent nearly two years researching the credibility of Christianity after his wife chose to become Christian. He eventually compiled such a staggering amount of evidence in favor of Jesus and the Bible that he concluded it would take him more faith to continue living as an atheist than to trust in Jesus. I bought the book, The Case for Christ student edition, and finished reading it that weekend.
Reading this book marked the turning point in my faith. I realized I finally had real evidence to defend the faith I had kept all along. I found the Bible was accurate and reliable. It proved to me most importantly that Jesus was a real person and none other than God himself. With those realizations, I put my faith in Jesus for the first time based on what I knew was true. Not because my parents told me so. And not because I had heard it in church.
In that moment began an obsession which has still yet to burn out. I sought further research outside of The Case for Christ. I continue asking difficult questions, questions that some people use to deny God and the Bible. God keeps giving me answers, feeding my appetite to know more.
Perhaps something I prize the most in the Christian life is the encouragement to ask questions. Other faiths I’ve studied disapprove of doubt and shun those who question. The Bible tells us to embrace doubt and search for the truth. God wants his children to seek him.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7