At about nine o’ clock on April 15th, 2010, 7:07 let out at the BCM building on campus. And all the questions my life had ever generated was pressing on my heart at once. I was a true, die-hard atheist, so the questions were a tad different from the norm. I found myself asking, “Why on earth would anyone believe in God?” “How is God any different from Santa Clause?” “Is anyone else in this church going to realize that this whole thing is complete nonsense?!”
So, why was an atheist in church? Simple. I did my research and attacked logic and faith on all sides. I never bowed my head with anyone else; I simply came to prove my knowledge to myself. I’d listen to the minister, and everything he said, I would think to myself, “Ah, but you’re wrong! This article/book/research/scientist says…” I didn’t go every week; just often enough to get my fill of superiority.
I had spent long enough trying to prove there was a God, but to no avail. I was devastated at first, but then I realized that I had something Christians didn’t, which was peace of mind. I didn’t have sin to worry about, and they were all busy trying to please a God that didn’t exist rather than enjoying the life they had.
This particular night, I asked the minister one last atheist question: “How do you get saved?” He didn’t answer my question. Instead, he offered to pray with me. I turned him down, of course. He always prayed for me when I asked him questions, but I wasn’t letting him this night. I told him, “I would give up my life as I know it…” No one knew what my life was at that point, but it was mine. I was okay with it. Then, a couple of hours later after turning him down, God had enough. And He gave me a salvation story that I’m convinced He had no intention of me keeping quiet about. So, naturally, I told everyone and their mother and their mother’s dog.
I’m choosing not to retell the story here, though. It was published in a previous note, and it’s in my upcoming book. But I went outside tonight with the Bible that played a part in the events of that night, and I reread what I came across that led me to believe. I sat outside in the cold, much like it was cold that night, and I read the Bible by the light of my phone. When I was finished, I thanked God for the year and asked Him to guide me in the next anniversary. I can honestly say that this has been the best, most amazing year of my life. And the best part is, I’m just getting started. God’s power and reign is just beginning in my life.
I often felt small in relation to other followers of Christ around me who had been believers for years, sometimes coming from Christian homes where God’s name was honored. I didn’t have any of that, and I certainly don’t have much experience. Apart from that, before my son and little cousins were born, I was the baby in the family. At BCM, while I wasn’t the absolute youngest, I was pretty close to it. I felt very young and inexperienced. Of course, no one regarded me as having this standing other than myself. Now, a year later, I feel closer to being able to answer the hard questions I asked others. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve come to know a lot more than I did way back then.
First and foremost, I’ve learned that God is love. And at times when life doesn’t make sense, or something happens that we don’t understand, it’s because, while everything about love is beautiful, absolutely nothing about it makes sense. I’ve learned that love is absolutely blind ONLY in the eyes of God. Everyone in your life, even Christians in some ways, will only offer conditional love at their very best. But with God, it doesn’t matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done, or what has been done to us. God’s love is absolutely blind to our shortcomings and mistakes. You can say, “But I’ve killed someone,” “I was abused for years and years,” “I’m so ashamed,” “I did,” fill in the blank. But none of that matters. God already knows, and He’s saying that it’s okay. He still loves us no matter what.
Another piece of knowledge I’ve come to learn is that logic and faith must coexist. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian, an atheist, or a Muslim; if you think you’re right, you’d better have faith in your decision. With Christians, we have to believe based on what we know. Of course, the Bible says that God doesn’t have to prove His presence because His proof in the everyday, natural world is just so overwhelming. And we can also remember, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.” So logic isn’t required for faith, but it becomes such a normal part of truth after a while. How many times have you experienced an eerie timing for some event, or just seen something you couldn’t explain? Not even in the sense of a miracle, but how about something so simple as a star, and no one knows why it’s really there? How does the earth know to rotate? How does gravity exist? What makes wind exist? We can ask an endless amount of questions, but can we use a combination of logic and faith to call these simple things… miracles?
In John, chapter 20 after the resurrection of Jesus, Thomas remains to be the only follower who hasn’t seen Jesus since the death. And Jesus tells him, “Feel these scarred hands for yourself.” Thomas, with doubt, put his fingers through the holes in Jesus’ hands. And Jesus says, “You believe because you have seen with your eyes. Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!”
There’s one other thing I’ve learned in the past year, and it’s so hard for me to even pick out a few out of all the things I’ve learned. Nothing is more important than the other, because God wants us to know Him. That would be like saying Job is more important than Psalms. Is any word of God less important? So with this last thing comes with a little footnote that this is not the most important, but rather the most precious thing to my life right now.
My last lesson is this: We pass, on any given day, at least one person who doesn’t believe, who is hurting, who is lost, or who may never have even heard the name of Jesus. Acts 1:8 says to tell the world about Jesus. Tell others about God’s love, about His word, His miracles, and how He sent His precious, precious Son to earth so that we may live and be forgiven of our shortcomings. Tell everyone on every chance you get that there truly is a loving God and that He is not a children’s story. God is very, very real, even more than you and I. We were created from dirt, from dust, and we’re as fragile as what we’re made of. God is far more real than any of us. Who will you tell today?
There is something beautiful, precious, amazing and wonderful happening all around us. Why not just stop and reflect, and take a moment to breathe everything in? Sometimes, we can get so busy with our lives and the trouble within it, that we miss out on God. He could be whispering to your heart, but you may not hear it over the world. Could it be that right now, God is trying to get your attention? Could He be trying to lead you to Him in a time when you don’t expect to be found? Is He saying to you, “I’m with you,” in a world that gets too loud and busy for us to just stop and listen?
God is with you. He loves you. And it’s just possible that He’s trying to remind you of that. A year ago, God found me in a little house when I thought I was alone. Where will He find you?
2 Corinthians 12:10