In the past month, two people have asked me the same question in different ways. My dad asked me, “If you believe in God, why?” and my friend M’s husband said, “After all that has happened to you, I’m surprised you still have faith, and you go to church, too,” which I took in as a question for me to consider about why that is.

This week, I’ve been listening to a man named John Chandler preach on Revelation 7:14-17, and I finally was able to articulate this question. So here it goes . . . I believe in God because I know, somewhere in the core of who I am, that good has to win, that suffering has to be redeemed, that pain ends in good. And I know – and this is the big one – that I am loved. In the center of myself, I have no doubt that God loves me beyond my greatest imagining.

Life hasn’t been easy for me the past few years. My husband left, I worked at a place where doing good was very hard, I loved a man with an addiction he couldn’t beat (yet), my mom died far too early. . . life has been very painful. And yet, somehow, through all of this, I believed – I do believe – that I am loved and cared for by a God who has got this under control.

Today, Facebook gave me a little gift (actually, Literary Living gave me the gift) and pointed me to this TED talk by Brene Brown. In this twenty minutes – which if you want to show yourself a little love today you will take the time to watch – she says, “Connection is why we’re here” and then goes onto to say that shame is what keeps us from connection. But through extensive research, she comes to find that people who were “whole-hearted” were able to get past shame by believing that “vulnerability made them beautiful.” She finishes the talk about listing three things that people who were vulnerable did (and to find out what those are, you need to watch the video – REALLY, watch the video.) In my life, I have been immensely blessed to be able to be vulnerable. I have had parents who live that way; I have had friends who celebrate that in me and in each other; and most importantly of all, I am loved by a God who wants me to be vulnerable and totally wide open so I can feel that love.

One of the images that John Chandler mentioned this week was the image of the father racing to embrace the son, the prodigal, who has walked away from all the goodness he has been promised. This is the God I know – the one who runs full-tilt when we turn toward God. . . arms out, tears streaming, running to embrace us. That’s MY God.

So, Dad, why do I believe in God? I believe in God because God loves me, and while I have my doubts about a lot of other things, I do not doubt this.

The Prodigal Son is Embraced Detail from Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal Son”