By Noah Haverdink
I was raised in a Christian household. My parents have now been happily married for 27 years, and I have come to appreciate their relationship more every year I get older. Growing up I never really figured out the transition between doing what my parents told me, and making my faith my own. In middle school I became a façade. I did everything a ‘good’ Christian boy was to do, I memorized verses, I routinely attended church and youth group, I kept my tongue in control, I was respectful to authority, and my faith was still my parents’. This turned into pride as I grew older. I started thinking I was morally superior, because I was doing all the right things. Through maturing and a healthy high school small group environment, I started to make my faith my own. During this transitory period, I started to tackle the doubts that lured in the back of my mind.
I am a person who has struggles with the concept of complete and scientifically provable Christian faith. A doubt that occasionally trickles into my mind is the validity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. How am I supposed to truly believe in my heart that this man, who lived more than thousands of years ago, was raised to life after dying? For me, Biblical history and application is a starting point toward my faith. I’ve come to find peace in my life in believing that the Bible points to Truth. The Bible has been prominent throughout generations in application to humanity; is this just coincidence or does this point to a reality that there is a person who holds these truths as the Truth? Either Christianity is false, the entire way, or it is true, the entire way. In other words, the resurrection of Jesus is far more logical for me to put my faith in, rather than a coincidence that this book contains so much everlasting truth. Once I embraced this faith centered upon the Truth who is alive today, my façade broke down.
Northwestern College has been a huge blessing in my life, specifically the required theology classes. By requiring me to sit in a classroom I otherwise wouldn’t have been in, my faith has been unexpectedly refined. The life of the mind is important to my faith – we’re called to love God with our minds. Ultimately, seeking Truth isn’t simply a fact to know, but rather a person to encounter. I think the same applies for redemption. We’re invited to encounter this personal salvation, a present-day salvation. But this sort of salvific redemption isn’t a one-time decision that we move on from, it’s a relationship; a journey everyday as we face trials, turmoil, triumphs, and even doubts.
So I can’t help but ask myself: does God simply want to be known about or does He want to be personally encountered? Well, both. Redemption extends beyond knowledge, redemption is about relationship. We’re redeemed not unto a fact but unto a person. Redemption is a battle we’re living through. So no matter if I’m in a spiritual rut, in a time of doubt, or asking myself yet again the infamous question – “what is truth?” I can rest knowing that He is the Truth and is faithful to continue to pull me toward a faithful life as his redeemed.
Noah, thank you for sharing! As Psalm 8:4-5 writes, “What are human beings that You are mindful of them, mortals that You care for them? Yet You have made them a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned them with glory and honor.” Why is He mindful of us, care for us, reach out to us, and pursue us as the Truth so that He may crown us with glory and honor in a personal relationship with him? Indeed, as you clearly articulated, His redemption is for our good and for his glory.