I’ve been meditating further on my return to faith from the brink of nonbelief, and it seems to me there’s one crucial step I left out. I suppose I took the same crucial step of faith the early Christians did. I went from acknowledging the awesome, mysterious transcendent God of the Book of Job to acknowledging the Jesus of the Gospels and the New Testament–a God who is just as awesome and mysterious and transcendent as the God of the Book of Job but who is made human and approachable through the Incarnation. The God of the Book of Job is willing to “bet “on human beings in their cosmic contest with the forces of evil, but the God revealed in the Gospels is willing to BECOME a human being. Jesus preaches with authority, casts out demons, forgives sins, heals the sick, commands the forces of nature, and feeds the hungry by supernatural means–things that only God could do–yet at various times in his ministry is hungry, thirsty, angry, scared, and lonely. Jesus experiences everything human beings experience (except sin), INCLUDING an apparently complete failure of everything he’d worked for, public humiliation, and an excruciatingly painful death. Christians have a God who knows what it is to suffer.
Of course, however, the Gospels don’t end with the suffering and death of Jesus. They end with the Resurrection. The message of the Gospels is that the power of God revealed in Jesus can overcome ANYTHING, even death itself. That is a God I want to believe in. That is a God I NEED to believe in.