Read His Words Before Ours!
I have never tried one of those charcoal peel masks. Have you? I have watched several of the videos of people wearing them and somewhat comically and painfully peeling them off. The process is challenging, yet oh so beneficial. As I look in the mirror at the end of the day, I discover the pores that could benefit from being introduced to one of the masks. Imperfections stand out and I recognize my complexion would improve from a bit of external help. One of these days I will invest in one of those masks (now taking recommendations 😉 ).
Now that I have you thinking about face care, let me explain why that is even remotely on my mind since atheism is the topic of today’s journey study. In order to gain more insight into the thought process behind atheism, I visited the American Atheists website. Here the definition of atheism began to take on clarity. Atheism is the belief that gods do not exist rather than not believing in a god of any kind. While this may not seem like too much of a difference, the analogy provided on the website is quite helpful. “While there are some religions that are atheistic (certain sects of Buddhism, for example), that does not mean that atheism is a religion. To put it in a more humorous way: If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.”
As I read this, the picture of the charcoal mask came to mind. Atheism exists in a vacuum of sorts in its belief that no gods exist. This is the face without the use of a charcoal mask. Technically a face can survive a lifetime without ever encountering a charcoal mask or believing that one even exists. Thus far in my life my face is one such example. However, believing no masks exist means I would never benefit from experiencing one.
This paralleled with believing Jesus is real took my breath away as I tried to put myself into the mindset of an atheist. I started my relationship with Jesus at a very young age, young enough that I have very few memories from before I was a Christian. Jesus has become my best friend, and I truly cannot imagine my life without Him. But that is exactly what I tried to do in picturing life from an atheist’s perspective. How I ached as I detached myself from the Lord in my memories.
I remembered a time in junior high when a group of girls intentionally left me out of an event. The pain of the rejection had pierced my heart. In real life I had taken my wounded spirit and tears to Jesus for comfort. However, in envisioning that memory from an atheist reality, my options for comfort resided only in the other people around me. I am very grateful for the support system that I have both now and then, but even that is built with broken individuals. All of us humans have challenges, issues, and shortcomings; no one is perfect. Therefore, no support system is either.
I pictured my time in college when all the voices of authority were telling me I was a failure. How that rocked my identity to the core. Once again my view of that memory from an atheistic perspective resonated with hopelessness without Jesus’ presence. No higher authority existed to speak to my identity. No Bible verses challenged me to press on and endure because good could still come from the experience. The Holy Spirit did not strengthen me to make progress in my life.
So many different snapshots from my life came to mind throughout the process of seeking to comprehend what life might be like as an atheist. I could see how those experiences would have shaped me differently without the hand of the Lord, how the scars would not have healed as well, how my life would have far less peace and joy.
How do I know these things to be true? Because I have lived the reality of a life with Jesus. I have felt the balm of His presence on deep wounds. I have experienced the hope of being told I am wanted, loved, and called a child of God. Jesus is to my life what the charcoal mask is to my face.
May we live our lives in such a way to display the beauty and hope of the Lord because we do not live in a vacuum. May we allow the Lord to address our imperfections in order for us to shine His glory just like a charcoal mask does for a face.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!