Salvation. It’s a concept that has confounded me for most of my adult life. I’d never even heard the term “saved” until I was at least 15–growing up Catholic and spending a chunky hunk of my most religiously formative years overseas among other Catholics, my salvation was never called into question until I was 15 and pregnant and living in the Deep South.
“So are you saved?” well-meaning friends would ask as they passed around a cigarette behind the gym. “Um, I think so…what do you mean, ‘saved’?” There were no stupid questions except for this question. “Like, do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and that there’s no way you can go to heaven without believing in Him?” Was the incredulous response that always followed.
And being the Mary-worshipping Catholic weirdo (I feel the need to point out an obvious sarcastic tone) that I was, I would reply “Well, duh. Are you just now figuring all that out? Cause I’m pretty sure I’ve been ‘saved’ my whole life.”
But conversations like that got me thinking. I had always been so sure of what I knew…until it was brought up. I believed HARD until I had to actually think about my beliefs. I want to assume this happens to a lot of people regardless of their religious affiliation–at some point, we’re all faced with perhaps the scariest thing about faith: doubt.
But you guys know what? Those seasons of doubt weren’t necessarily bad. Reacting in anger, stubbornly digging in my heels and turning off my ears–ignorance and juvenile mistakes gave way to humility, and I got schooled hard about what it means to have compassion for those who don’t see things the same way I do. God has a way of turning my disobedience into painful life lessons.
Salvation is a gift that’s offered to everyone. Every single person. We don’t have to be able to write a three page essay on the concept or understand the complex theology behind it all, but it’s available and it’s undeserved and it’s given freely out of love alone.
Come to find out, the world is full of people who are different from me. And Jesus loved them all–even the ones who offend Him. He died so that they could live. Protestants. Catholics. Liberals, conservatives, democrats, republicans. Bombing people was never part of Jesus’s agenda. Hate was not his language. Political power was not part of the game plan.
He wanted to people to be able to experience forgiveness and reconciliation and love. He wanted to save the world. He wanted to build His church and he wanted all of us to be a part of it, in Heaven and on Earth.
I’ve been chasing after Jesus for a long time–some years more than others. And one thing I conclude through my experiences and through prayer and through reading the Bible is this: the more I learn about God, the less I understand. The less proud I am in my knowledge of anything. The more I realize how much I will simply never know about God; the glorious mysteries of His universe I’m not meant to solve here on earth. How much of the bigger picture I actually cannot see. How general conclusions such as this one show exactly how small I am and how big He is. How my rants and raves and wants and desires might seem to Him; He is the father who knows what’s best and I am the toddler throwing a tantrum for reasons that are not important at all in the grand scheme of things.
Doubts are okay. They can represent opportunities for growth. Questions bring answers. Faith has the chance to strengthen. Your journey becomes even more beautiful; your story more inspiring; and His glory more evident to those around you. Stay on the path. Keep asking. Keep searching. Keep knocking. God is good.