I own a plain, navy blue T-shirt with the simple words “I believe” printed on it. Whenever I wear this shirt to school constantly friends ask me what my shirt means and what I believe. My response is quite simple: I believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, that He is God Himself, that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and that He rose on the third day, giving all the opportunity to know God personally and spend eternity in His presence.
In this modern day the belief that I state and the beliefs that shape my life are often ridiculed as intolerant or even irrational. Because I have attended public school since my kindergarten year my faith has been tested but these tests have only served to strengthen my faith.
I remember in first grade explaining to my friends as we sat in awe of the sand on the playground that God created all that we see. I remember explaining to my Buddhist friend in the first grade why I worship a God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, but most importantly a loving friend, instead of worshipping “a rock” as she, perhaps confused, told me she did. I remember enjoying learning about my friend’s Jewish background in fourth grade because learning about Jewish practices helped me to better understand the Bible.
Now, in high school, I enjoy being friends with atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Janes, and even Ba Ha’ais. Interacting and discussing current issues with friends of different religious persuasions in fact strengthens my faith because I am forced repeatedly to go to the Scriptures and find out what God has to say on certain issues.
I am an overly analytical person, for me everything must have a logical reason. I have found these reasons in my faith. I have seen God work miracles in my life, taking care of everything from the big things to my petty worries. I especially saw God work in my life this past summer when I went on a mission trip to Lima, Peru with a group of about 700 other teens. Before the trip I was incredibly worried about making friends- meeting new people is not something I am generally comfortable with. When we received the participants list I began emailing other girls from my state and in early June I went to the birthday party of a close friend, where I was surprised to meet someone who would soon be joining me. We met at that party and got to know each other through June. It was amazing to get to Miami for training and have a familiar face to greet me- I know that was not coincidence!
Everything in my life has led me to my faith in the Bible and Jesus Christ and I know that, because of this faith, I will go to Heaven when I die. This I believe.
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