Salonen: Nine years of Living Faith in a loving God
Columnist Roxane B. Salonen writes, "I’m as convicted as ever that the Christian story is true; that Emmanuel, God-with-us, came to bring light and save us from eternal heartbreak."
Nine years ago, Forum publisher Bill Marcil Jr. said “Let’s give it a try” to starting a new column focusing on faith. It would be from the only perspective I could offer: my own.
I knew “Living Faith” would be one of billions of viewpoints on the topic. But I hoped, through sharing my lived experience, I could encourage others in their walk with God, and inspire hope in some uncertain of our having been created by an eternal being compelled by love.
In recent years, more have become skeptical that our world became manifest through the heart of a good God. Children raised in homes in which belief in God was taught and encouraged have moved on from the seemingly outdated ideas of their parents and grandparents.
More compelling reasons for human existence can now be accessed digitally in seconds. It’s become fashionable to ditch age-old wisdom for that which seems to feel and fit better and require less effort.
I realize reasons for abandoning faith in God are usually more complex than that, and often have an emotional source. Our broken humanity has led to skewed modeling of God’s perfect plan that has caused disillusionment. But in the end, all must come to terms with whether God exists, and whether to respond to his wooing.
I’m as convicted as ever that the Christian story is true; that Emmanuel, God-with-us, came to bring light and save us from eternal heartbreak. And I believe this Lord Jesus invites everyone into his kingdom of love.
Recently, I’ve been called to task in conversations to make an account for my own beliefs. Though no theologian nor trained philosopher, I return consistently to these basic reasons for my continued Living Faith:
Creation begs a creator. Simply put, something can’t come from nothing. We had to come from a source outside ourselves; one existing apart from us yet being part of us. Though we can’t see, or ultimately “prove,” God through scientific means, God’s existence can be known through reason.
Creation reflects its creator. Led by reason to conclude God’s existence, we can also deduce that God is good. It’s better to exist than not to exist; our existence is good. Therefore, the creator who has always existed must be good.
A good God does not look away from creation. If God is good, as we can reasonably determine, we can also conclude that God is invested in creation. Additionally, the world’s order reveals a purposeful plan. We are not random accidents that a good God would create and then abandon.
Here, we are reminded of these beautiful words from Scripture: “The Word was made flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Thanks to those who’ve engaged respectfully with me in these last nine years of reflection. As we welcome 2023, may we all live our faith with ever more purpose, charity, and hope.
Salonen, a wife and mother of five, works as a freelance writer and speaker in Fargo. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org , and find more of her work at Peace Garden Passage, roxanesalonen.com