Why should you believe in God? If you are asking this question, then at some level, perhaps subconsciously even, you are searching for a reason to believe. I have been there, and I am going to try to answer your question as best as I can by telling you about my own struggle to believe.
Why I Stopped Believing in God
It was my first marriage that caused me to turn from God, or more accurately, it was my desire to get a divorce. When my then-husband and I went to marriage counseling with the pastor of a local church, I was told in no uncertain terms that I had no choice but to stay married. The Bible did not allow for divorce at all.
Instead of searching the Scriptures for the truth, I took the pastor’s word for it and turned away from God. How could a God who would require me to remain with an abusive husband possibly love me? It didn’t add up, and it broke my heart—causing actual physical pain. I decided I could no longer believe.
Reading the Scriptures to Find the Truth
It took me eight years to realize that God does indeed love me. I hope it doesn’t take you that long. It took hitting rock bottom before I realized that I was missing something and started searching again. This time, I turned to the Scriptures, which is what I should have done to begin with.
I decided that I would read the entire Bible all the way through with an open mind, and I did. I learned a lot along the way. I learned that when you read the Bible looking for a reason not to believe, that is exactly what you’ll find, but when you read it with a heart to learn the truth, your eyes will be opened to see things in a different light.
Maybe that sounds corny, but it’s true. And when you read the same Scriptures again, you can get something completely different out of them the second time that you completely missed the first time you read them. It’s not that the message has changed, but rather that your life circumstances are different now and something that didn’t jump out at you the first time around might be exactly what you need the second time, so your mind zeroes in on it.
How to Handle an Abusive Spouse the Biblical Way
As I was reading through the Scriptures, I came across a passage in Matthew that helped me understand how to handle the situation of an abusive spouse. This is something that most churches don’t teach. In fact, the passage I am about to quote is not specifically about marriage, but about sin in general:
15) If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16) But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17) If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
So what should I have done differently? I should have confronted my husband privately first and given him an opportunity to repent. If he continued to abuse me, I should have taken it before a couple of witnesses. And finally, if that didn’t work, I should have taken it to the church elders.
And if none of that worked? Then I should have treated him as a pagan or tax collector, not as a husband. What that means is that our relationship would change. I would still be expected to love him, but not as a wife loves a husband but rather in a “love your neighbor as yourself” sort of way—the way we are to love everyone.
Now, since we are treating the unrepentant husband as an unbeliever (pagan), this passage would seem to apply:
10)To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11) But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
In the above passage, we are hearing from the Lord. Paul goes out of his way to mention that. The first part would seem to be a hard-and-fast rule: wives cannot separate from their husband. However, in the very next sentence, our Lord acknowledges that there are circumstances in which a wife will feel that she needs to leave even though she knows it is not the optimal choice. In such a case, the wife must remain unmarried so that there is some hope that the marriage can be reconciled if the husband repents.
The next section is about husbands and wives that are unevenly yoked:
12) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13) And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.
1 Corinthians 7:10-15
Paul again goes out of his way to say who is giving this command. This time, it is Paul, not the Lord. That is worth noting. This is not a command that comes from the Lord, but rather an instruction given to the Corinthian church, which may or may not be meant to apply to other circumstances. In the early church, when Christianity was brand new, it is likely that there were a lot of mismatched couples. Paul didn’t want them to divorce one another just because one had gotten saved and the other hadn’t yet. Paul’s instruction in this passage was given in a completely different context than that of a wife who is being mistreated by her husband.
Why I Believe in God Now
As I read through the Scriptures trying to discern the truth, rather than looking for ammunition to back up my decision not to believe in God, I constantly came across passages that made me realize I had been wrong about God. I can’t list them all here because it was a long time ago and I didn’t take notes. But eventually, I came to the point where I realized that I had been wrong and I repented and turned to God.
Since I started trusting God, my life has turned around. It’s not perfect, mind you, but it is very different and much, much better. Remember how I said that I hit rock bottom before I got to the point where I was ready to seek God again? I had lost everything chasing some get-rich-quick scheme. Maybe I’ll tell you that story later, maybe not, but my point is that I really couldn’t get much lower. I had lost my house and spent a month living in a tent before moving in with relatives. I know what it is like to be destitute and feel like you have nowhere to turn. I also know that it doesn’t have to be that way, even when things are bad.
I am now remarried and my husband was recently unemployed for over a year. It was tough, but we trusted God and He came through for us in miraculous ways. Around the time the 401(k) money was running out, we got about six checks in the mail that were completely unexpected. That was God. I found ways to make more money from my articles than I had previously been making. That was God too.
I have seen God working in big ways and small in our lives. I am an absent-minded person who tends to lose things. I can spend hours looking for something on my own and not find it, but when I pray and ask God to help me, I usually find what I am looking for within minutes. I am not saying that if you turn to God, He will help you find things. But for me, it is one way He shows me that He is here for me, even in the little things.
Are You Ready to Trust God with Your Life?
Maybe you are ready to turn your life over God but you’re not quite sure how to do it. I have broken it down into three steps for you here. These are the ABCs of salvation.
A: Admit that You’re a Sinner
23) …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
You first need to admit that you are not perfect. You have done things in your life that were wrong and therefore you are not right with God. You can’t be saved if you do not believe you have done anything that would keep you separated from God.
B: Believe that God Sent His Son to Save You
16) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
23) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Next, you must believe that the punishment for sin is death, and that God loved you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth to die in your place. Jesus took your place by dying on the cross even though He lived a perfect, sinless life. He died so that you could live.
C: Confess Your Sins
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Now you need to confess your sins and accept God’s gift of salvation, which He gives through His Son. To do this, you just say a little prayer. You can say it out loud or in your head. If you don’t know how to pray, that’s OK. It’s just like talking to anyone else, but you are talking to God instead. He doesn’t expect your prayer to be perfect, so don’t stress over it. Just tell Him that you know you are a sinner and that you believe He sent His Son to save you. Tell Him that you accept His gift of salvation. Confess your sins and resolve to change your ways.
That’s all there is to it, but if you’re not quite ready yet or you need to talk to someone first, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.