How do you know that God exists? How do you know that God loves you? How do you know God is present versus absent? These questions, upon the hearts of so many, have answers as real as the formative moments in your life.
As I have aged I seem to grow more and more prone to nostalgia. Many of us do this instinctively, clinging to memories past, perhaps looking backwards with the hope of seeing a purpose for our lives. When I travel to India, I make it a point to revisit time and again those significant marking points of my own life. As I recall these moments past but not forgotten, I hear the gentle voice of the God very much in the present. And God says: I was there. When on you were on your bike contemplating suicide, I was there. When you were but nine years old and your grandmother died, I arranged for her gravestone to hold in time the very verse that would lead you to conversion. I was there.
It is often in these harrowing moments—your parents’ divorce, your child’s birth, the death of a loved one—where God leaves a defining mark. There is reason you remember such moments so vividly. We have a choice to hear or to ignore, but regardless his voice cries out in our memories, I was there. God has been in our past. God is here today. God will be there in our future. We have this promise in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.
God exists, as C.S. Lewis worded it so well, in the “eternal now.” And the psalmist, always writing with feet firmly planted in time, but arms ever reaching for the eternal, beautifully explains, “Thou art God from age to age the same.” While hindsight is often God’s means of gently revealing his presence all along, we can be comforted in the peril of the moment nonetheless. For as we encounter these markers in time, our sorrow is held in the beautiful mystery of one who wept with a friend, who answered her question “Where were you?” with tears of his own. Beside Lazarus’s tomb, Jesus offered Mary a glimpse of the present love of God, though he knew an even greater future both for Mary and for Lazarus. Christ is God’s living promise: I was with you then. I am there with you now. And I love you.
William Shakespeare once reasoned, “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.” How do you know that God loves you? While you and I were yet wandering, Christ was wandering after us, pursuing even by way of the cross. Love seeking the lost in human flesh. And this sacrifice stands as the greatest marker in all time.
Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.