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Why do I believe in God? Apart from my personal response to a challenge to believe when I was twelve years old (conviction) I could list many reasons. I am not a scientist, but faith is not the result of scientific research; it occurs because of grace. I am a former Merchant Navy navigating officer who subsequently acquired a geography degree. Perhaps for me the combined background of sea and geography is more important because it helps me to see where God has been? In no particular order I believe in God:

Because of grapefruit. My wife and I start each day with half a grapefruit. When the flavour of my favourite fruit explodes on my taste buds I just know that there is a God. Then I think of other fruits. Raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants. Fruits of the forest, all of which cry out creation to me every time I taste them. The sharper the better. Who needs sugar?

Because I have stood on the bridge wing of many a ship in mid-ocean at 02.00 hours and gazed at a cloudless sky to see the universe displayed in a way that it just cannot be seen from land. I learned the names of the stars at sea and used them for navigation long before GPS replaced the sextant. I recall being overwhelmed by what I know was the presence of God. I wasn’t living a ‘Christian life’ at the time but I knew there was a God.

Because of storms. There have been occasions while serving at sea when I wasn’t sure if we would see out the night. I well remember being broken down on an old ship in hurricane force winds twelve miles off the coast of Newfoundland in winter. Our aerials blew down and all sorts of other damage occurred. That was a night when I was aware of my mortality. That was a night I knew there was a God.

Because of my children. I have been present at the birth of all five of my children. I cannot put into words what I felt when my first son was born in 1980. Thoughts of evolution never entered my mind because I knew that this child was created, and once again the presence of God was very real in the delivery room.

Because I have received healing for a serious medical condition. Coventry Cathedral July 2002. Ten years have passed and I am still fighting fit.

Because of the birds. I put food out daily and I watch the birds feed in my garden. I marvel at the intelligence of some, and at the stupidity of others. The starlings have worked out how to get what they want from the feeder designed for smaller birds, while the pigeons struggle to understand anything. The finches have the best manners, while the blackbirds and the robins are the bravest and will feed while I am standing there. I look at the birds and I know there is a God. A God who cares even for the sparrows.

Because I choose to believe. Others choose not to believe. We all have a choice. I believe I am right. Non-believers think that they are right. But who is the risk taker here? If I am wrong I have lost nothing, but gained plenty. If a non-believer is wrong ….. ? If you are reading this blog and you do not believe then I pray that God will open your eyes as He opened mine.