The scientific method is useful for observing the world around us and learning more about reality. Unfortunately, many have begun to misuse this method to determine things that should not be determined in this way. For instance, we try to categorize God along with the observable world that we experience, but when He does not fit with the measurements we normally use, we assume He is not real. Furthermore, misunderstanding God in this way can cause us to misjudge aspects of ourselves and our journey with Him.
God is beyond our senses. He is beyond our understanding. We can grasp aspects of Him with analogies like, He is strong like the ocean, as vast as space, or He loves us like a mother deer loves her fawn. However, even these analogies do not quite reach the reality of who God is. Thus, we need to stop thinking of God in the same way we might study wild animals in a forest or microorganisms in a lab.
Furthermore, we cannot think of our spiritual life with God in this way. Our lives are spiritual just as much as they are physical or observable, so we need to remember that sometimes we will be led by God to hope for something that completely contradicts our understanding of the observable world. This is what happened in every story of the Bible, including Noah, Joshua, Abraham, Moses, David, Mary, Jesus, and many more.
We, too, will have moments when trusting in God will go against our understanding of reality. However, by following this, we will come to know that trusting in God is more logical than trusting our observations of the world. Later, I will share some steps to ensure you are not making a mistake or venturing outside of what God is truly calling you to do.
First, I would like to share a story to better explain. If the world of science had the final say, I would be dead.
The summer before my senior year of high school, I was riding in the front seat of a car with friends when the driver went off the road a little. While steering herself back onto the road, she overcorrected, went across a two-lane road, and crashed into a telephone pole right where I was sitting.
Honestly, the only thing I remember of this incident was waking up almost two weeks later. While many terrible consequences came from this event, God brought much good from it as well. By focusing on the good, I have been better able to discover more of how God has acted in my life.
After one of my friends called 911 and the first responders arrived, I was cut out of the car by the Jaws of Life and airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Both of my lungs collapsed en route, to which the paramedics responded by giving me a tracheotomy, essentially making an incision and inserting a tube into my throat so I could breathe. I made it to the hospital, but my battle and the mighty work of God were far from over.
I received a traumatic brain injury and the swelling in my brain was tremendous. The intracranial pressure (ICP) for a human is normally 7-15 mm Hg, with anything over 20 being considered pathological. However, during the first night, my ICP went above 50 and ultimately reached over 60. The doctor residing over my case told my parents he had never seen a patient fully recover from an ICP at this level, and it was unknown whether I would survive or not.
I was put into an induced coma and lay in a hospital bed for 12 days. I can only imagine the torture it was for my family. After waking, I could only communicate with a piece of paper and a pen. I learned of my situation and the many things I suffered besides a head injury.
I had received a fracture in my neck about one millimeter away from causing full-body paralysis. I had a seizure, caught and recovered from bacterial meningitis and pneumonia, and, at my worst, I had 12 tubes connected to my body. I still remember my first meal after they removed my feeding tube. I ate one green bean, and I was absolutely stuffed! I couldn’t eat another bite!
It was truly a miraculous recovery. Even the doctors who worked on me said so. After realizing I would survive, my family was relieved; however, it was still unknown to what extent my recovery would go. I remember the limitations that the doctors placed on my future seemed to change each week.
Amid my few-weeks’ stay at the Shepherd Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta, I re-learned how to walk, feed myself, and eventually even remembered how to play the guitar. Afterwards, I was sent to outpatient rehab and then allowed to re-enroll for my senior year with a plan to graduate on time.
My parents, while still regarding the data given to them about my condition, decided to not give up on me and trusted in God. Many might scoff at this and call them silly. However, their hope was validated.
For some reason, accidents, illnesses, or other life-threatening situations do not always end in this way. However, we can still maintain we can have hope in the unobservable reality of heaven, trusting that those we love and lose here on earth will be known by us again.
I have other experiences in my life when I have been given the difficult task of trusting against the evidence to follow a certain path given to me by God. I will share links to these stories below, but to name a few, I have been told to wait a year for my girlfriend, who is now my wife, to come back after she ended our relationship. I have been given the task of waiting for particular jobs that I have eventually received, and God even had me quit my job to start Zenith Ministries.
All of these were difficult, yet still exciting. I truly believe the Lord guided me through these experiences. However, it was not always easy to be confident and patient in the moment. If you are ever wondering if God is calling you to something that contradicts what you know in the observable, physical world like I have been, here are some steps I have learned to ensure you are not going off the deep end.
- Make sure your beliefs do not go against scripture or church teaching. God will never call you to do anything that contradicts His teachings. If you believe you are being told to do something like this, you are not hearing from God.
- Talk to people you trust with spiritual things. God will move through other people in your life. This is not to say that you will never be given bad advice; however, it is still good to bounce things off others and share your interior life of prayer. The last thing we want is to be isolated with just our own thoughts.
- Ask God to take away this calling or feeling if it is not really Him. God responds to our prayers. He wants you to know what He is calling you to do and what He isn’t. However, He also does not want us to fall into the trap of thinking that He is merely a vending machine meant to serve us only on our terms.
- Nurture a relationship with God so that you can know His voice. This is ultimately what God wants for each of us. He wants a relationship with us so that we may have the full joy of being in a relationship with Him. This relationship with God is heaven on earth. It also allows us to know His calling better so that we can know if it is Him that we trust when we encounter difficulties in life.