Yesterday in church the Gospel reading was John 3:16 - 21
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.For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
I often wonder about people who reject God...it is difficult for me to understand on the surface. But this passage makes it clearer for me. No one likes being told what to do. People love to think they have control over everything, themselves, their destinies, other people....and they don't want to give up control. I know I like to try to do everything myself...to have control, even if it is just cleaning the house. My kids and husband, no matter how well intentioned, don't do it like I do it. LOL! But when I let go and let them help, things are better for me, and for them too. I share the burden and they learn to help and not take me for granted.
The illusory sense of "control" is seductive. It draws us away from the light and makes the darkness seem attractive. It is a lie, a lie that we tell ourselves...."I have control over my life. I can do whatever I want. There is no God sitting in judgement over me, no God to answer to, I am god of myself." And the more we adopt this attitude, the deeper we go into the darkness. If we keep going into the darkness there will come a moment when we will no longer see light at all. No direction will lead us out, we lose track of where we came from, where we are going, and we become "lost." CS Lewis, in "Mere Christianity," talks about this. He says that every little step away from God makes the next step away from God easier. So we are tempted to step away and every step gets easier to take until we are, like Hansel and Gretel....lost.
I know people in my life who have rejected God. There is no God, they say, God is just a construct used to opress people...the "Opium of the Masses." But when one rejects God, there is always something to take the place of Him. Love of self, love of pleasure....ideas and other constructs fill the gap. I know someone who fills that void with conspiracy theories and belief about aliens. It is impossible for them to believe there is a loving God that ordered and created the universe, but easy for them to believe that cures for cancer are being suppressed, that the government is trying to poison us with our water, that aliens are out there and have made contact but the government is not telling us. If the "government" could keep a secret then there would be many fewer scandals. There is a theme of mistrust and paranoia with this line of thinking.
I choose to believe in God, His love, His justice, and His mercy. I just know it in my heart, and have always known it. There have been times when I started to step away and I have been pulled back. I always fervently pray to God that He keeps me close and never lets anything come between He and I.