Viewpoint from Rev Jemma Sander-Heys 31/08/2018
Rev Jemma Sander-Heys
Team Vicar in the Great Yarmouth Team Ministry
as published in the Yarmouth Mercury
How do you decide what to believe? Even those of us who consider ourselves pretty sceptical spend our lives taking things ‘on trust’: from believing that a bus will eventually pass our bus stop, to trusting the ingredients list on a packet of soup, or believing that the voice on the other end of the phone is the person we dialled. Human life is full of acts of faith – it’s not a religious thing, it’s just part of life… But how do we decide what to believe when it comes to core life beliefs?
For me it was a question of test everything, cross reference, challenge, and get more information. With an atheist scientist for a father and a natural tendency to challenge authority, I was probably many schoolteachers’ worst nightmare as I never take anything anyone says ‘on trust’, always checking facts and quick to argue, my textbooks were full of question-marks. So how did I get to be a Christian, and believe and trust in God?
It started with a hunger for Truth, and an early realization that there was more to my identity than other people understood or could tell me about – I was aware that I had an inner life and was more than just flesh and bone: I wanted to know and be truly known. Mum took me to church: a bunch of random people with nothing visible in common – but the words I heard about us being known by God– struck me… plus I loved that even the people in the Bible messed up and made mistakes – they were real
So where was God? I started talking to God regularly, asking for stuff. Occasionally my prayers were answered, kind of… but though I talked lots, it seemed as though God was only listening to me some of the time- which made no sense. Then, eventually, I realized that if in fact God was as big and clever as people seemed to suggest, if he really knew me then maybe He had something worth saying to me… maybe this was a conversation and I needed to do a bit of listening too! So I started reading God’s words in the Bible and praying The Lord’s Prayer … I started asking God what were HIS ideas on life… and that’s when it started to get exciting… when I started cross-referencing with, and being challenged by God
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