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Why was it so much easier to believe in God when I was a child?

It’s true that children seem to have a natural openness to the existence of God. Yet as we grow older, our childlike understanding of God meets a lot of painful awareness.

Consider the analogy of outgrowing a pair of shoes. If I have a single image of God and this is decisively contradicted by a new and painful experience in my life (God will always protect me, but last week I was beaten and robbed), in a sense, it’s like outgrowing our old favorite footwear. We are challenged to change our assessment of the shoes, even if they were our favorites. I can continue to wear the same shoes and complain that they do not fit (why is this good God punishing me?). Or, I can quit wearing shoes altogether (become an atheist or an agnostic). Perhaps I can find shoes that fit (find images which do justice to all of God’s self-revelation and to all of life as I have experienced it).

A Christian who chooses the third option must reexamine the Scriptures and reconsider the lives of holy Christians to see if he or she has missed any key information. In fact, this third option is a commitment to continual growth regarding the person’s images of God.
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