God exists and wants to fellowship with you. That is GREAT news! God did not predetermine you or anyone else to an eternity in hell. God did not decree evil. God created a universe in which mankind was his most valued treasure. He created us in His image, as persons with a spirit and soul where each was to be responsible for their own thoughts and actions. We are creatures with whom He passionately desires to have a loving relationship. He wants you as his child.
So what happened, why the brokenness? Why all the evil and suffering?
All true loving relationships require a freedom in choice, a true freedom, a freedom where those in relationship can choose otherwise. Each of us was created with a capacity and a responsibility to respond to God's love. The question becomes, "Will we return the love of this creator or will we reject Him?" In creating the perfect world where love was possible, the capacity for evil becomes one of many perfect design requirements.
C S Lewis wrote masterfully:
“God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can't. If a thing is free to be good it's also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata -of creatures that worked like machines- would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they've got to be free.
Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk. (...) If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will -that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings- then we may take it it is worth paying.”
The sad news is that we all, in some way, have chosen to break relation through our disrespect and our disobedience of God and his laws to govern men's behavior. Although the Bible is clear that the payment for breaking His laws is separation from God (death in its fullest sense) God still desires a restored relationship. To mend the brokenness, Jesus, the eternally existing son of God, took on a body of flesh and bones and came to teach of the Father's love. Forcefully rejected by a people group whom God had throughout history actively revealed Himself to, Jesus gave of Himself even to the giving of his life. Although completely innocent and without sin, He was nailed to a cross, taking on a punishment of death and separation from his father, a penalty that we deserve. In this, He demonstrated his love to us. God however raised Jesus to life, providing everyone with that same possibility of a restored and resurrected life as a child of God. God offers this gift of restored relationship as his grace and mercy extended to everyone and not just a chosen few.
So how can we secure this restored life and relationship with God?
God's requirement for anyone desiring of his forgiveness and a restored relationship is that we must call out to Him with a humble heart, realizing that we of ourselves cannot restore the brokenness. He requires we place our faith and trust in Jesus, believing that God has provided the means for this restored relationship. This is the "good news" that while we were messed up in rebellion against God, He still loved us, so much that He would suffer and give his own son to die in our place and then, offer grace and forgiveness to everyone. Through Jesus' death and resurrection, a covering of our sinful brokenness is provided which allows us to be presented before the Father, pure and blameless. For those who come in this manner, God promises to begin a new fellowship with you in the person of the Holy Spirit, communicating and recreating you spiritually with a new heart and mind aligned with His. Now that's good news!
Don't we need to earn this love in some way? Must we not do great works for Him and humanity to secure this love?
No, we can't and no one ever could work so as to earn God's love and forgiveness. He does however expect those who come to Him in faith to now grow in this new knowledge and truth. Our new life is one of striving to know Him deeper. As we do, He will lead us in new paths of love of both our neighbors and Himself.
I want that love of God and have called out to Him for forgiveness through Jesus. What now?
Well for starters, let me know by sending an email to email@example.com! It would give me a great joy to know of this and to rejoice with you. If you don't know of a local body of other believers you feel you can trust in their teaching, I'd also like to communicate with you about how to find like minded people with whom you can live out this new life. This fellowship is essential.
Even if you choose not to contact us, please begin to read the Bible (New King James is a great version). The gospel of John is a good book to start with. Along with your bible reading, I'd recommend the book "Mere Christianity" by C S Lewis.