Don’t You Wish It Were True?
JUNE 21, 2016
I tilted the rear view mirror so I could see the reflection of my kids in the back seat. They sat shoulder to shoulder with blank looks on their faces. One noticed me peeking at them and smiled. I love them so much. I winked and turned up the music.
I was driving them to school, but there’s an education they can only get in my car. Their teachers are Bob Marley, Paul Simon, Mumford and Sons, Dave Matthews, Bob Dylan, and Pink Floyd—just to name a few members of the faculty. I sing along and, from time to time, tell my kids stories about what these teachers taught me. Sometimes I share memories connected to the music, being sure to include the stuff that I imagine many parents avoid. The lyrics lead to lessons of my own.
“Roll away your stone and I’ll roll away mine,” Master Mumford sang.
It was almost Easter. “God is always speaking, kids; everywhere. Especially in music.” I reached back and squeezed the first knee I came across. I looked up at the mirror as Madeline laughed. “Listen. What do you hear him saying?” I asked as I cranked it back up.
“He’s singing about Jesus,” Hannah said. She’s our oldest and she’d been in enough of these kinds of conversations with me to know that Jesus is a safe bet.
“There’s no wrong answer,” I replied. “God can use the same song to speak to you in different ways at different times. But, yeah, a lot of artists are singing about Jesus even if they don’t know they’re singing about Jesus. It happens especially with the best music—the songs that deal with life and death, meaning, suffering, and true love.”
The song played on:
“It seems that all my bridges have been burned. But you say ‘That’s exactly how this grace thing works.’ It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart, but the welcome I receive with every start.”
Ah grace. I thought about the empty tomb and the hope that one day I too will be resurrected and welcomed into my Father’s house. My heart was stirred. I turned down the music and said, “Isn’t it an amazing story? Our heavenly Father loves us so much that when we rejected him and ran away, he moved heaven and earth to bring his children back Home. He sent Jesus to rescue us, to live and die as one of us, but death couldn’t conquer the source of all life. He rose from the dead and ascended to the Father to prepare a place for us.”
I hoped their hearts would be stirred by the story too. And then Madeline replied, “Who made this stuff up?” Ha! She’s a delight.
Who indeed? It does sound crazy, doesn’t it? Dead men don’t get out of graves, fly away, and promise that we will too. If I were going to create a religion, I’d come up with something more believable than Christianity.
Of course there are the classic arguments that will lead an open-minded skeptic to, at the very least, admit that a leap of faith in the resurrection is a reasonable choice. You can read some of those arguments here. But what’s really unbelievable is that God would grant eternal life to those who made themselves his enemies.
Every other religion and system in the world works on merit. You work, you get paid. Be good to get blessed. Do stuff to please God and he might accept you into his heaven because you slavishly performed some arbitrary set of rituals. But not Christianity. Romans 4:4-5 makes that clear:
“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…”
God justifies the ungodly. He calls sinners saints. Outside of Christianity, that’s unheard of. It’s almost unbelievable, unless, of course, you’re so bad it’s your only hope. A drowning man will grab at anything that might save him. That’s why in the Bible we see all society’s losers flocking to Jesus. Religious people rejected him because they didn’t think they needed his grace, they were winning, and they were offended by the idea that God would accept the people they reject.
But it’s different today. Most people I come across aren’t rejecting Christianity because it’s too good to be true. They’re rejecting bad news, not good news. That’s one of the reasons I wrote The Seed: A True Myth. I wanted a way to get past the misunderstandings, to break down the barriers between us, and share my faith in a way that would capture readers’ imaginations, hearts, and minds. I wanted to tell them that old story in a new way. I wanted to ask, “Isn’t it amazing? Don’t you wish it were true?” and then show them that it is.
If you don’t believe in Jesus, give my book a shot. Before you reject the Christian faith, make sure you’re rejecting the real thing. Reject the indiscriminate love God has for you. Reject the message that God helps those who can’t help themselves. But don’t miss out on all the freedom and joy that could be yours because you missed the real Jesus while rejecting the twisted version of Jesus so many offer today.
Click here to get your copy of The Seed: A True Myth. If you’re a believer, maybe get a few copies for unbelieving friends and family. All proceeds go to support the ministry of Key Life.