A Love Letter To The Non-Believer

Dear You,
I know what you’re thinking. I know you already have your guard up, your metaphorical blanket wrapped tight around your shoulders, your eyes a little squinted at the screen. I know you’re wondering who the hell I think I am writing to you—as if I know your life or what you’re going through, as if could even begin to understand the depths of your trials, or the aches in your heart.

I don’t. I’ll fully admit that.

But see, I’m not writing to you from a place of perfection. I’m not writing to you from a high horse, from a chair of confidence, from this all-knowing stance, or from any ground other than the one you’re standing on.

I’m not writing to you because I think I know who you are or where you’ve been, or because I think I could ‘fix you’ or that you’re even in need of fixing.

I’m writing to you in my brokenness, in my failure, in my fear and insecurity and sin and mistakes. I’m writing to you because I am you, in so many ways. I’m writing to you because I want you to know you’re not alone. You’re heard. You’re noticed. You’re loved.

See, there’s a big misconception about my faith—that we’re people who think we’re better, that we’re trying to ‘save’ people that need saving, as if you aren’t capable of helping yourselves. But that’s not what Christianity is about. It’s not about telling people that they’re damned and sinful. It’s not about trying to act like we’re better, just because we believe in the unseen.

I’m writing to you, not because I think you need help, or because I think I’m in a much better place, or because it’s some moral duty of mine—I’m writing to you because I care. I’m writing to you because I used to be you. The person who was fine on their own, or broken and alone, or just swimming through life, attempting to find my own direction.

And I want you to know you don’t have to be lost.

I want you to know that life is all ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll feel incredible. Sometimes you’ll wake up and know that you do this on your own. And sometimes you’ll be totally able to.

But then other mornings you’ll wakeup and stub your toe on the cabinet. You’ll be out of milk for the cereal you just poured. You’ll be late to work and have your new car rear-ended at the stoplight. You’ll strain your back lifting groceries from the trunk. Your significant other will break up with you. The list goes on—you know what I mean, don’t you?

Sometimes life just gets out of our control. One minute we’re fine, the next we’re flat on our faces on the concrete, wondering what the heck we slipped on. And that’s where faith comes in.

Faith is trusting in the unseen and knowing that there is a God, a God who loves you all the time. Not just when you’re ‘perfect’ or ‘good.’ But not just when you’re broken either.

Faith is knowing that this God gave His son, His everything for you. For me. For us. So that we don’t have to face this craziness alone. So that when we’re up, we can celebrate. So that when we’re down, we can hold onto Him to guide us through.

See, this is why I’m writing to you—because I want you to know that love, to feel that love soak into your pores, to understand that no matter what happens or where you wander or how many times you fall short, you are forgiven and loved.

I want you to know that even though you don’t believe in Him, God is here. He’s waiting for you, and He’s guiding your life. He’s sending you miracles and signs. He’s blessing you. He’s calling you to Him when nothing else in life is going according to your plan.

I hope you listen.

And I hope you understand that I’m writing this because I care, not because I want to shove my beliefs down your throat, not because I have biased intentions, not because I think you and your way of living is ‘wrong.’

But because I know my God is a good God, a wonderful God, an incredible God—and I want you to know Him.

So please, know that you are loved. Know that you are strong. Know that you are beautiful and wonderful and complex and made by a God who will never leave or forsake you, no matter how much you push Him away.

Know that you don’t have to face this world alone.

Know that someone is fighting for you.

Know that my God cares, and I care.

Know that it’s okay to be skeptical, it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to wonder and ask questions and be angry. But know that the anger you feel in your chest can be released. Know that the pain pulled into a tight knot around your heart can be untied. Know that the bitterness can be let go of.

Know you can begin again in His love.

So I hope you let your guard down, just a little. I hope you read these words, and then re-read them, just to know His heart a bit more.

I hope you know my door is open to talk, as is any Christian’s. And I hope that if and when you’re ready, you’ll reach out—to us, to Him—and know that you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

All my love,

Cliff Ochomo . 

A Prayer For The Days You Feel Broken Beyond Repair

Dear God,

I come to you with every part of myself shattered. I come to you with the person I used to be so far gone, I can hardly remember him. I come to you with honestly, nothing.

Because I not only have lost my way, but I’ve lost myself.

Today I looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognize the reflection. There is an ache that I can see in my face, in the lines around what used to be my smile, in the hollowness of my eyes.

Father, I’m sad. I’ve been betrayed. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hard on myself. I used to be so strong. I used to be so happy. Life used to bring me down, but never this far. I always had the strength to rise again.

But now, I don’t know what happened.

Maybe I’ve strayed too far from your light. Maybe I let people pull me away from your mercy. Maybe I’ve trusted my own feet to guide me, when I should have been following your footsteps all along.

Maybe I’ve been trying to do this all alone, when what I really need to do is let go and give this pain to you.

See, God, I’ve been aching for too long now. My heart feels broken. My eyes feel heavy. My legs are like dead weight, dragging behind me with every step. I’ve started to see the world differently. I don’t open my eyes and smile into the sunshine. I don’t laugh easily at the silly jokes of life. I don’t look at strangers, or listen to the birds, or pet puppies when they pass by me on the street.

I’ve just been ho-humming through my days. I’ve just been wishing every second away. I’ve just been dreading, and plugging, and existing. I haven’t been living. And I want this to change.

Lord, I need you. I need your grace. I need your forgiveness. I need your love to lift this heavy weight from my shoulders and help me begin again.

For too long I’ve been carrying this burden. For too long I’ve been letting my heartache determine my fate. For too long I’ve been looking in this mirror and only seeing the cracks, the brokenness, the faults, the flaws.

And I need to see you again.

Lord, I ask that you come back into my life, that you flood me with your holiness and happiness. I ask that you come to me in my brokenness, in my undeserving, sinful nature, and remind me that I am always forgiven, always loved.

Please remind me who I am. Please remind me I am yours.

Please take these shattered pieces of my heart, these tired hands, these crying eyes, this lonely heart and turn my face to you, Lord. Show me how your forgiveness has healed me, and will continue to heal me, every single day. Show me how your mercy will lift me from this place of despair.

Show me that I do not have to live like this anymore.

And brighten my days, bring a smile to my face. Teach me that when I feel irreparably broken, I can always turn to you and you will make me whole again.

Remind me that I am never alone.

And remind me, when I look in the mirror, that I need not look for negativity, for faults, for all the pieces of me that are imperfect. Help me to see happiness again. Help me to see a Son of Christ, beautiful because of His love for me.

Amen. 

An Atheist Letter to God

An Atheist Letter to God

Dear God,

I am not exactly sure who I am writing this to, or if there is that someone at all, but if there really is an almighty Lord, hopefully, I will find out someday. The intent of this piece seeks not just mention my doubts, but to also acknowledge my open mind and uncertainty of anything divine. I contemplate these things every day. I am persistently looking for an answer no living creature has ever known, and most likely, will never know. Often, the search seems hopeless. It’s easy to become a nihilist. I might find out when I die. Maybe, I won’t.

There is a chance I will reside in hell because I am not a devout follower. There is also a chance, as I have been told throughout my childhood and adolescence, a savior will lead me into the light, regardless of my religious background, and God will greet me at the gates of heavy with a tender grin and friendly welcome. My heart wants to commit to this utopia but my mind denounces it as a fantasy. Don’t worry, my Christian relatives and friends, I don’t entirely deny this paradise, but I also don’t devote myself to it. I cannot bring myself to sign my life away, even if it may ensure eternal life. It doesn’t resonate with me. I will not know what happens after death until I actually experience it firsthand and even then I won’t be able to share it. I refuse to commit myself to something that is literally up in the air and only a possibility but I will not reject its existence out of hand because of my ignorance. But, at the same time, I accept the beliefs of atheism. My philosophies are diverse. My mind is open.

For a while, I identified as an atheist, but then I realized I, too, was hypocritical. Not all atheists share my hypocrisy. Personally, I subscribed to atheism as a solely confirmed belief, that nothing exists beyond death and there is no divine supremacy of the universe after all. Despite how naturally I want to believe nothing is greater than human existence, I must allow myself to be open to new ideas, for the sake of art and intellect. A close mind is not attractive, creative, nor intelligent. That doesn’t mean all atheists are close-minded, but it does bring into question how I practiced atheism myself.

I then began to identify as agnostic. Life turned a bit brighter and less dark, but existential thoughts still reoccur. If there is no throne, is there still a kingdom? Is there still oppression without a dictator? Why does life exist if our only objective is to survive? Why are we surviving at all? How are we? The questions add up after a dreary day but I do eventually fall asleep. I carry on in my slumber and explore a false reality, the world of dreams, where heaven is not a myth but a matter of common knowledge to the people of the Earth.

A wise friend once quoted Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor, and I will forever cherish the concept.

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

I cannot emphasize this enough. I will not follow the rules of an organized religion or their texts, in the hope of being righteousness. I trust myself to be righteous naturally, not because I was told how. With that, I will not restrict myself from “living my life to the fullest.” I am self-conscious, but I am not selfish; I am righteous, but not greedy. I hope whatever force out there, if there is one, can accept and admire my decisions. I am proud of who I am and the choices I make. Alongside that, I am mortal and flawed. However, in the context that any superior force cannot respect my imperfections and occasional misbehaving, I might as well not worship that said divine vigor. I am entitled to my precious life just as another being and am also entitled to make my own personal decisions. Why else would we have free will?

Sincerely,

Me