How You Can Know God Is Real
By: Noelle Kirchner
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. —Hebrews 11:1
Now that I have a baby again, I am especially fond of taking walks outside with my boys. I buckle the baby up in the stroller, and he inevitably ends up chewing on something as he explores his view of the world around him. My older boys like to ride their bikes, rollerblade, or sometimes walk beside me and talk—the latter is my favorite!
The other day we took a walk together. I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude as I simply enjoyed my children. It was cold, so we had to stay moving. As a result, everyone was singularly focused on the task at hand, which led to good conversation. My boys took turns pushing the stroller as they flirted with some heavy questions. That’s when the conversation often gets good, like today.
My ten-year-old asked, “Mommy, how do you know that God is real?” Admittedly, questions like these do make me squirm a bit, even as a pastor, because I want to get them right. I quickly reminded myself, however, that an honest answer is all that’s needed. It’s conversations like these that can serve as a reference point in my sons’ minds for years to come.
“That’s a great question,” I replied. I told him about how theologians, or people who like to study God, believe that there is a God-shaped hole in our hearts. Our hearts will not feel complete without knowing God. People, no matter how hard they try, can let us down. Even Mommy and Daddy, who only want what’s best for you, are not perfect. God, however, is the one Perfect Parent who loves each of us with an everlasting love (Romans 8:38-39). God will always be with you to guide you, even when Mommy or Daddy are not right there. That’s why it’s so important to know him.
“You can know God is with you in a variety of ways,” I continued. You can feel God when you love another person or do something special for someone in need. The warm glow that you feel inside of you is God (I John 4:7). I also sense God, I explained, when I read the Bible and come across a perfect word—one with important advice exactly for that moment (Hebrews 4:12). It is like God himself is right there teaching or comforting me!
Our devotional passage contains an answer to my son’s question as well. The author of Hebrews describes faith as the “assurance” of what we do not see. The Greek word for assurance here is associated with the court of law. Its use implies an airtight defense for the legitimacy of faith—what we believe and hope for as Christians can be trusted.
While Hebrews is traditionally attributed to Paul, its authorship has long been debated. Regardless, Paul came to know the truth of God’s existence one day on the road to Damascus. He was knocked to the ground, blinded, renamed, and altogether transformed. His singular purpose became to build the church of the One whom he had met that day and knew was real (Acts 9:1-31).
The Bible is full of people who, like Paul, believed in God and staked their life upon it. The God of the scriptures is still alive and at work in the world. Those who seek God will find him and discover that he is real indeed, when they seek him with all their heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Perhaps that lingering invitation is the best answer to my son’s question. I can’t wait to see what he discovers, and that same invitation extends to each of us too!
What are the ways that you’ve experienced God and know he’s real? Comment below!
Rev. Noelle Kirchner, MDiv., believes we don’t have to live with full schedules and thin souls. A busy mom of three boys, she is passionate about making faith fresh and relevant. Noelle is a graduate of Princeton Seminary and an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served in churches for over ten years. She has written for places like the TODAY Show Parenting Team, Huff Post Parents, The Laundry Moms, and (in)courage. Her faith and family cable television show, Chaos to Calm, features parenting hot topics and has hosted two New York Times bestselling authors. Watch her episodes or sermons, connect with her on social media, and follow her blog by visiting her website, or receive her free devotional e-book.
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