DEAR MISTER SEAN:
I’m having doubtful thoughts with everything going on. I’m confused and disappointed. I want to ask you a question. Is God real?
Hoo boy. Why couldn’t you have asked me about my favorite brand of mayonnaise instead? I’m an expert in the field of egg-based dressings.
I am not, however, the guy to ask about God. I have few answers on such high-minded matters. I can’t even figure out which eleven herbs and spices go into KFCs Original Recipe.
And believe me, I’ve tried.
Yeah, I know you’re confused about the current state of our world. I am, too. There is a lot of uneasiness right now. There’s a lot of confusion in the air.
All I can say is, try not to worry about it. You don’t have to understand the mysteries of the universe. Nobody does. Mankind has been fussing like this since the dawn of Duke’s mayonnaise.
Once, I saw a fight break out in an Alabama beer joint. I was young. The subject of high tension was: God.
A loud-talking man claimed that God was nothing but barnyard fertilizer. It offended my friend, whose mother sang in the church choir. Thus, he challenged this man—who was six-times his size—to a fistfight.
Before we knew it, my buddy went down under the power. His cheeks were being polished by a man who was built like a GE appliance. A pocket-knife was pulled. And the night went to hell in a hurry.
On the ride home, we four black-and-blue teenagers discussed mysteries of the eternal, using our serious voices.
Finally, someone asked, “You think God’s real?”
And I was the one who answered. I answered without thinking. And in a single sentence, 900 years’ worth of Bible-Belt heritage came out in me. I answered brashly.
I said, “You [cussword] right God’s real.”
Even at this age, I regret that comment. Because I am no authority on the matter. I am a nothing. I am the village idiot. My remark sounded like a boy who needed help spelling his name.
Still, the fact is, I’ve found that when some folks talk about God, they’re not talking about God at all.
They’re arguing about miracles, angels, greasy televangelists, faith healers, crooked churchmen, abusive clergy, or a celestial Santa Claus with a great white beard.
Well, I may be uneducated, but those things aren’t God.
Nevertheless, you asked me a straight question, so here’s my straight answer:
Cassidy. Cassidy is my answer.
Cassidy was 19. Beautiful. Her parents died. Her grandmother raised her. One day at a gas station, a man followed her to her car. He raped her. He beat her.
Police caught him. He went to prison. Nine months thereafter, Cassidy gave birth to a son. His son.
Many years later, the man made parole. Cassidy organized a meeting with him—against everyone’s advice. She met him in a public place. She embraced him. She gave him the brief privilege of meeting his biological child.
Cassidy told him, “You tried to ruin me, but it didn’t work. I love my son. And I love you, too.”
Now there’s a person you should ask about God, friend. Not me. Because Cassidy touched something I have never touched. Something big. A thing so wondrous that Cassidy once told me, “To me, God is something so beautiful I am compelled to share it with the ugliest soul I can think of.”
So. Is God real?
You’re [cussword] right he is, sweetie.
Elisabeth Hess - October 15, 2022 1:11 pm
Sorry, that story angered me. Certainly didn’t make me feel godly or enforce a belief in God
PSC - October 15, 2022 3:53 pm
Some of us PKs — preachers’ kids — followed the pathway laid out for them by their pastoral parents. Some, like me, rebelled against them and against God. The faith tradition I follow preaches “Prevenient Grace,” the Grace of God that we can accept or reject. I kept feeling God nudging me back to faith through His Grace that remained available. Hallelujah!
Thames Robinson - October 15, 2022 1:30 pm
Amen and amen. Preach it, Sean.
Nancy - October 15, 2022 1:42 pm
Dear Cassidy, thank you. Thank you for affirming that we don’t always know WHY?. But our faith can turn the despicable into glory for God. Thank you for your example.
Sean, thank you for sharing.
Dear Confused, keep searching for your answers in God’s Word; they are all there, and He will reveal what you need to know each time you ask Him.
Harriet White - October 15, 2022 1:43 pm
Good one Sean.
William J Webb - October 15, 2022 1:45 pm
Yes I believe in God, and Jesus Christ is our savior. I always have and will.although there may be things in the bible that are questionable.
The key word is Faith. I have Faith that it is all true. Unlike my father in law. He is retired USAF, he was also a Biology instructor. So anything in the bible, he has a scientific explanation.
He, like you Sean is an author, his first published book will make you question the Bible. His title is appropriately called, Did God Make Man, Or Did Man Make God.
All I can say is it is better to believe in God and find out there isn’t, than to not believe and find out there is.
FrankinSC - October 15, 2022 6:22 pm
chip plyler - October 15, 2022 1:46 pm
Lynn B - October 15, 2022 1:55 pm
For someone who often claims not to know much about God, you certainly seem to know Him. I was an avid church-goer for years before I experienced Him in earnest. The hardest thing for the human mind to understand is why He grants us the freedom to make our own decisions. We can decide to do horrible things to one another. We can even decide to reject Him completely. In a world where everyone wants the right to do whatever they choose, He fully explains the choices, shows us how very much He loves us, and then says, “okay, choose.”
Te - October 15, 2022 1:58 pm
Isn’t it something! People continue to amaze us with their altruistic, unfettered love despite all evidence that most humans aren’t that lovable, and you find them and tell us about them, and I can’t tell you how their stories have encouraged me that there is hope for the human race! Humans will never figure out God. If we could, it wouldn’t be God. But real? That’s where “faith” (which we probably understand even less) comes in. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.…” There are manifestations of God everywhere. Even if someone could prove beyond a shadow of doubt that God was not real, it wouldn’t matter. We’d just smile and pat them on the shoulder and say, in our best Southern drawl, “It’s all right, honey. You’ll get over it.”
Anne Arthur - October 15, 2022 2:04 pm
Yep. He is real. Proven in so many ways, and if we take the time to open our eyes we can see his works.
Bob - October 15, 2022 2:32 pm
Patricia Gibson - October 15, 2022 2:41 pm
Absolutely he is real and you explained it so well! It is hard to define or explain God. We just share the best way we can and let God do the rest🙏
julie bordelon - October 15, 2022 2:41 pm
Ann Chumley - October 15, 2022 2:48 pm
Yes, God is real.
Suellen - October 15, 2022 3:00 pm
I don’t know how people can look at the world around them and think that it was all created by some freak accident. The more you learn about the human body, for instance, and the very complexity of how it works is a testimony to a grand design. The whole of nature and the universe is the same. One thing dependent on another to survive. I know that I was created by a merciful and loving God that I rely on to get me through every day and He is very real.
David Guthrie - October 15, 2022 3:42 pm
Thank you Sean.
You say you are uneducated and I assume you mean as a theologian, but the truth is True knowledge of God doesn’t come from the brain or education. It comes from the soul.
Your work is one of the most profound I have read and is at the heart of who God is.
I am going to use this in one of my sermons.
Blessings to you and your wife and four legged sons and daughters.
Chasity Davis Ritter - October 15, 2022 3:44 pm
Jayne Loetkeman - October 15, 2022 3:46 pm
Yes God is real! The Bible is real! If it was not for heaven when we die it would still be worth the peace and joy here on earth. Sean please search for Him and invite him into your heart. You will never regret it. Life just can’t get better. Life sucks and many things happen that we can’t help but with God all things are possible. Please believe!!
Gigi - October 15, 2022 4:12 pm
God is absolutely real. His existence is evident in Cassidy’s life and mine as well. He’s seen me through a divorce I didn’t want, cancer, financial problems, and my husband’s illness. I honestly don’t know how people can look at the world around them and not realize there is a God who created everything. When you study the human body, animals, plants, etcetera, and all of the minute details and intricacies about how they function, it’s mind boggling. Only God could create that, no explosion, no “Big Bang”. Scientist who didn’t believe there was a God and tried to prove He didn’t exist actually proved He did exist and they became Believers. “The Case For Christ” by Lee Stroebel is only one example. If you want to see a good movie, watch “God’s Not Dead”.
Jim Francis - October 15, 2022 5:39 pm
You’re [cussword] right, Sean.
Beau - October 15, 2022 5:53 pm
Sean, I enjoy reading your column. Yep, God is real. I’m 70+ y.o. I have almost been killed 5 times. Would be in the grave, but God said No. Not yet. I was Episcopalian for 48 years. Like most folks, the questions you cant answer. Well, God will answer them someday. Then I met the Seventh Day Adventists, and studied the Bible in depth for 5 years. Dont think they are always right. But closer than any others, so far. Yep. God is a REAL Person. Yep, He created us, with free will. We are made to be able to think like Him, and love like Him. Satan, Lucifer gets in the way sometimes.
mellenymunsell57 - October 15, 2022 6:00 pm
Yep he is real ! Just keep beliving . Somedays are easier than others , just keep beliving .
Jannie Bryant - October 15, 2022 6:18 pm
God is real and always will be. I also believe there are angels who help him. My faith has sustained me through the good times and the bad times. Life is messy and often painful. It is also wonderful beyond words.
Linda Moon - October 15, 2022 6:54 pm
Wow. That’s a profound question you were expected to answer. Even with preachers in my family and lots of Sundays spent in church, I’m not sure how I would’ve answered the teenager except to quote your answer to Cassidy…… because the world is all [bleeped] up, yet many of us still Believe.
Katherine Hagen - October 15, 2022 7:23 pm
Beautiful. Gol-darn right….you see it all around you and it’s called love and good and kindness. 🙂
Kay - October 15, 2022 7:25 pm
God is certainly real, and He lives in us all. Cassidy embodies the idea of God, and that is to love your neighbor, just as Christ loved us. Keep sending these powerful messages, Sean. God works in little ways at times, and just to get one person at a time to be reminded of HIs love, grace, and mercy, is God at work in us. Thanks for the reminder.
Melissa - October 15, 2022 9:49 pm
Melanie Johnston Levy, LPC - October 15, 2022 10:16 pm
Sean…I would love to meet this sweet soul and acknowledge her grace and loving kindness…does she need a “Mimi”? One can never have too many Mimis…love, M3 MelMomMimi
Rose - October 16, 2022 1:46 am
“To me, God is something so beautiful I am compelled to share it with the ugliest soul I can think of.”
I had to sit with that for a minute. In an adult faith class, we had a discussion about who God loves, mentioning our families, friends, difficult people, then moving on to dangerous, terrible people. It’s a hard thing to acknowledge that God is so beautiful that it can be shared with the ugliest of souls.
Trudy - October 16, 2022 1:52 am
I wish you wouldn’t regret the statement that you made as a teenager. It came straight from the heart without even thinking about it. You were right then and your answer to Confused was right now. And bless the heart of Cassidy. I wish I was more like her.
rainee - October 16, 2022 6:29 am
Dear Confused: Is God real? Absolutely! I see Him in your reaction to the crud that goes on in this world. That’s a response of one who is, like all of us are, made in His likeness. And, dear Sean, I see Him in you, too. I feel His pride in you every time I read your writings. Having said that, I really wish you’d stop putting yourself down. YOU, sir, are NOT a village idiot. You have a powerful mind, and it’s growing every day. Not to even mention how many people you lift up every day, just by being you. That’s what Papa’s babies were meant to do. You both are soooooooo flippin’ loved.
Melissa Armstrong - October 16, 2022 12:15 pm
This is another precious gem of a story. Thank you Sean for using your God given talents to glorify Him.♥️
Diana - October 16, 2022 12:16 pm
Another beautiful, touching story and again I’m tearing up. Your stories bring me too tears a lot, but in a good way. Thanks.
Cathy M - October 16, 2022 2:09 pm
Every time I hear a new born baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky then I know why I believe. Tom Jones sings the song , I Believe , beautifully. For me , the song says it all. Google it and listen closely. Happy Sunday to Sean and all his followers❤️🙏🏻
Ed (Bear) - October 17, 2022 10:51 am
I know how you feel.
At first, God doesn’t speak or show Himself in a clear and precise way so we have to figure out on our own whether He is real. We figure this out from living and thinking about what in means to be alive. If we’re fortunate, we begin to see God everywhere in everything.
I started with a twig and worked my way up… literally. I picked up a twig and studied it for a while and thought about how it had changed quite a bit from its beginning as a seed. And I also realized that the little twig is part of a tree’s natural life cycle and has a “family” history.
A parent tree and it’s parent tree and so on until the very beginning of everything.
Scientists call the beginning the “Big Bang Theory”. Scientists figured out from studying the physical make up of the cosmos that the universe shows evidence of a very hot and compressed beginning. And since the beginning, has been expanding and cooling.
Expanding very rapidly at first but gradually the expansion is slowing down. The cosmos is on the move and constantly changing.
We are a part of the cosmos. Our Earth’s spin is very gradually slowing down. The moon is very gradually moving away from us. Change is the only constant.
We humans are not unlike a twig. We are an offshoot byproduct of the beginning. And we constantly change as we grow through our lives. We follow a natural path until death.
When we study a twig, we realize that something or someone made this twig happen out of the “thin air” of the beginning. We further realize that we haven’t a clue how to truly “create” a twig.
This is a first step in realizing that God is real.
When we see the miracle of creation from a humble human vantage point, we fall in love with creation. Thereby falling in love with God. God is reflected in creation. God is reflected in a twig.
Next thing we know, God is “speaking” to us through a sunset, cloud, flower, rock and occasionally… some other human.
That’s how we know God is real.
johnallenberry - October 17, 2022 6:08 pm
Goodness, that’s just about the most [cussword] beautiful thing I’ve read in forever. Yup… He sure is real. I know He is every time I look at my beautiful bride, at my nieces, and think of the story about how my Mom asked Him to watch over me when she was sleeping with her hand on my croupie two year old chest. 50 years later, I’m still here. God is real, He’s bigger than anything that faces this world or any of us, and He is love.
johnallenberry - October 17, 2022 6:12 pm
You said it. that’s the most beaufiul thing I’ve read in a long time. You bet He’s real. I see him every time I look at my beutiful bride. Every time I look at my three beautiful nieces. Every time I think of the Mother who asked Him to watch over me when she was having to sleep with her hand on my croupie two year old chest to make sure I was still breathing. 50 years later, I’m still here. He’s absolutely real, and He’s bigger than anything that comes down the pike. He loves us and He is incredibly real.
Carol - October 17, 2022 10:21 pm
My God is real, dammit! Is that a cuss word?