The Trinity has always been a weak spot for Christians when we are asked about it. Trying to explain something that is literally impossible to explain is a pretty hard task, so I won’t focus on the metaphysics of the Trinity itself. However, whenever there is something that cannot be explained in any way at all, I am filled with questions and concerns. For me, the idea that the Trinity couldn’t be explained wasn’t the issue. The creed of the Trinity on the other hand has given me some troubles.
When I first encountered Jesus, it was simple. Jesus was my God. Then the Trinity hit me like a train. All of the sudden, I found myself struggling on how to pray, worrying if I am doing it right and so on. When before I would get on my knees and simply talk to Jesus like he was my best friend. I wouldn’t always get on my knees either, sometimes I’d just talk to him in my head. That being said, I remember when I was introduced to the Trinity I felt intrigued, but also in a way it felt like it complicated my relationship with Jesus. Allow me to explain.
The Trinity involves the three parts of the ‘Godhead’. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I never really had an issue with the idea of the Father and the Son. Back when I was first introduced to the Bible by Jesus, I just took things as they came to me. I simply thought Jesus is my God and Jesus has a Father, who is obviously also a God. I looked at the relationship between myself and my own Father for understanding. Yes, he is older than me, yes he is further in life then I am, and yes he is wiser because of his experience. However, we are still both equally human. In every real standard, my Father is no greater than I am. This is how I saw Jesus and his Father. Yes maybe Jesus’ Father was further along in life so to speak, but they were both Gods of the same standard. That is, one was not greater than the other. They were simply Father and Son.
So I would pray to Jesus, and pretty much leave the Father aspect to him. To be honest, I didn’t really think Jesus’ Father was my God on a personal level. I literally thought he was my Gods Father. From the way Jesus spoke about Him, I thought he seemed pretty cool. After all, if He is Jesus’ Dad, He has to be cool right? Yes, of course, I came across lines like the one in John where Jesus says something like ‘If you know me, then you know my Father.’ Yet, even this didn’t phase me. Again I would think about it and I could see myself saying something similar to a friend about my own Father. For example, I could say something like, “Oh you want to know about my Dad? Well, You know how I am? My characteristics and the way I look? My Dad is basically the same only he’s about 18 years older. Seriously, it’s almost like if you know me, you pretty much know him already too.”
However, this became a bit of a problem when I came across the creed of the Trinity. I really didn’t think much of it at first. I thought, ‘Yeah I can see why a few Christians might believe that.’ Then, I learned it was more than a few Christians we were talking. This was by far the belief of the majority of Christians in the world. It was even considered to be one of the most important beliefs in Christianity. I think it was at that point where I decided I had to finally take the Trinity seriously.
It was frustrating, to say the least. Doing the research and finding evidence in the Bible didn’t bother me. In fact, I kind of liked that part of it. What I didn’t like was the strain it put on the understanding I had when it came to my relationship with Jesus. I didn’t know if I could pray to Jesus alone anymore. I felt pressured to pray to the Father in Jesus’ name. If I am being honest, it really took some sincerity out of my prayer life. I found myself so focused on who to pray to and in what way, that my prayers began to feel like they were on a Ford factories assembly line rather than coming from my heart with expectancy and boldness. To this day I struggle with it from time to time and don’t truly understand it.
Through time, I found implicit evidence for the Trinity throughout the Bible. So now it was becoming more complicated because it wasn’t just outside pressure anymore, it was coming from within. I found myself having to admit it was reasonable to conclude such an idea is evident in the Bible. I went through months of reading more about the Old Testament God and Jesus and trying to find similarities. I tried wrapping my head around how they were one, but somehow different at the same time. This quest led me to losing the feeling I would get when I used to read Jesus’ words in the Gospels. That was devastating to me and my faith.
Then, I realized something. When Jesus first came into my life, I knew it was truth. The relationship I had with him was true and I felt it deep inside my heart. So deep that it made me feel like I was home, even though the home I was in I had never been before. Everything seemed familiar, even though it was totally unfamiliar. Jesus woke something up inside of me that I didn’t know was there, yet I had this intuitive sense that at some point, somewhere, and somehow I knew this feeling before in a very intimate way. The truth speaks to you through the Spirit. I had a special relationship with Jesus that I was on the verge of giving away all because I didn’t understand one aspect of the Bible. That was the mistake I made. Like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:1-3, “…while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.“
I started thinking back on my prayer life and realized that some of the craziest prayers I’ve had answered were prayers to Jesus. Before I even knew about the idea of the Trinity. What matters is the feeling you get when you are reading Gods word. How it touches you and moves you. That in itself is the testimony of truth. However God reaches you is how he reaches you, and he did it that way for a reason. If Jesus and God the Father are one, then there is no problem with praying to one or the other. I find myself praying to both now at different times. Only now, I don’t feel pressured.
Trying to figure out everything in the Bible is not our job, and doing so almost took away the most important thing in my life. Developing a personal relationship with our God, Jesus Christ. Letting the words speak for themselves and penetrate your heart on a personal level. Speaking truth into you exactly when you need it and exactly the way you need to hear it.