How does conviction occur? What does it take to believe something is true? What persuades others to believe it, too?
Studying the facts, searching for clues, and deducing through logic lead to undeniable truth.
I do love a good mystery.
I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. Later, I moved on to Mary Higgins Clark. Plot-driven novels drove me crazy while I attended college and worked as an editor. I became what my husband called a crabby reader. So, I sought out deeper literature with character development. I started and joined book clubs. When my mother introduced me to Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series, I was captivated by mysteries again. I introduced Louise Penny’s writing to my literary friends, and they, too, were hooked.
This spring, my youngest son and I ventured with friends to our local science museum where I gained a new appreciation for a good mystery.
I became the detective. With pencil and notecard in hand, I listened to testimonies, read placards, and studied the clues in an attempt to solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery. I took dutiful notes. But, my friend’s oldest daughter had a decided advantage over the rest of us. A voracious reader, she had read her mother’s copy of Sherlock Holmes. Although this particular mystery was devised by the science museum staff, she solved the mystery. She had a clue based on what she already knew from the source.
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
Arthur Conan Doyle
With this quotation in mind, evidence and experience together convince me of another mystery.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NASB
Why am I convinced?
There is a series of books contained in one volume full of evidence about how God shows His love to people. It’s the best-selling book of all time. Some people read through it every year. More people read from it every day. Even in small portions, there are vast implications. Filled with plot-driven stories and character development guidelines, it is a book many claim to be a life-changing read.
Just as many critique it as hype or tripe. They chalk it up to children’s stories and a historical teacher’s biography. But, they leave out the most important part of the evidence.
All the evidence means nothing without experiencing the scene of a crime firsthand. The firsthand accounts within this book add to its validity. The clues found in the early books match with what the eye-witnesses experienced when a man-unlike-any-other walked this earth. They still had their doubts. Even the day their teacher died, they wondered if giving up everything was worth it. What happened three days later changed everything. Forever.
I wait with anticipation for a new Louise Penny book every summer. I awake every morning with the anticipation of reading something new from God’s Word. The words may be the same as the day before, but something changes in me when I read them.
Why am I convicted?
At the foot of the cross, everyone is a suspect. His blood is on my hands because of the sins I have committed. I am the one who deserved to die. No earthly sentence I could serve could pay my debt to this world. My sin stabbed His side and pounded the nails in His hands.
Why am I convinced of God’s love for me?
Through Jesus, I am not condemned to death. My life is redeemed. Not only am I forgiven, I am accepted as a member of the family. That doesn’t mean life gets any easier. It means I am not living it for my own self-esteem. I’m living it to give Jesus the credit for what He did for me on the cross.
Some days are so difficult, I don’t even know what to say to Him, how to ask Him for help, how to handle the people or the situations in my life. Nothing makes sense in those times like confusing, incomplete evidence in an unsolvable mystery.
But, somehow God turns all the bad into good. He does this because He loves me. He mentors me to be more like Him. What He is doing in my life doesn’t make sense to other people, even other people He has saved. They may try to convince me that He doesn’t love me when struggles happen. When every day I feel their condemnation like a death sentence. But, His love connects all the pieces of the evidence together. He solved my original case, and I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else to figure out the rest of them. We are inseparable.
I have this clue based on what I already know from the Source. Jesus eliminated the impossible. What remains—though even Arthur Conan Doyle might have thought it improbable–is that my life-changing experience becomes part of His redeeming-love evidence. That is truth worth believing.