I don’t think I’ve ever truly doubted God existed. I have, however, lived very much as though I didn’t care whether he existed or not.
I was chatting to Sam C, who is in first year uni, at church tonight about my uni days. I guess you could say that was the time of my life that I went off the rails, though by most (non-Christian) peoples’ standards it’s probably pretty tame (though I look back on some of it now and can’t believe some of the stuff I got up to).
But no matter what I did or didn’t do, the point was that although I believed God was there, I just didn’t care. I didn’t blame him for the things that had happened in my life up until that point (family breakdown, the death of a loved one, and some other stuff) I just didn’t want to put any effort into the relationship. Basically, I just didn’t want to think about him. So with every decision I made and every day that passed, I moved further and further away from him, and for a while I was quite content to live as though he wasn’t there, even though deep down I knew he was.
Then, seemingly all at once, I finished uni, the relationship I was in broke down, my living situation (which hadn’t been great) got worse, and after not too long I just fell apart. My great life of bohemian independence and adulthood was shown to be the cardboard cutout that it was.
And I just knew what was missing. I could feel the giant gap in my heart that only a relationship with God could fill. Even though I was ashamed and didn’t want to admit that the answer had been there all along, I meekly went to church alone one Sunday and started the long journey back to Jesus. Well, not long in one sense – of course Jesus accepts you immediately when you turn back to him – but long in that taking my rebellious heart and changing it to be more like Jesus…well that’s a work that won’t be finished until he comes again!
Tonight, in his sermon, Dave said something that really resonated, especially after my conversation with Sam: “Don’t get sucked into the lie that life is more fun without Jesus.” I know that to be true (even if I still sometimes try to pretend ignoring him is okay). I rejoice every day that I know I will be face to face with Jesus someday and I will be welcomed in to be with him, not cast out and made to suffer God’s wrath. That’s a better choice than any fleeting pleasure this world can bring.