I don’t consider myself a person who has much to hide. I know we all have a certain amount of depth to us but if I can be honest, I’m just not that complex of a guy. You don’t have to break down a lot of walls with me for me to share my heart. I’ll talk to a rock if it sits next to me long enough.
Being like this makes me really enjoy having friends I can get real with. If you are my friend and we haven’t gotten real yet, just wait, I’ll try to get really real with you at some point. I can’t help it. #dealwithit
A certain friend and I have shared quite of a few of these real conversations over the past few years. We have good conversations. To me, a good conversation doesn’t mean it’s an easy one to have, it just means that it makes you think.
He believes there is a God of some sort but doesn’t exactly have God on speed dial. In fact, I don’t know if he even has God’s number in his contacts. I’m not at all angry with him about it. If anything I can kind of understand why he doesn’t.
My life hasn’t been so terrible that they’d make a Lifetime Original Movie about it, but I’ve had my share of lows. As a result, I’ve had many times where I have wished I were an atheist.
I figured if I were an atheist I would be able to look at situations that I hated in my life and say, “That’s just how life works.” But believing that God was there and wasn’t doing anything about my pain was a different kind of torture. I would scream at him in my room and ask him how he could just stand there and watch me lose so much and not care. How could he see his child he supposedly loves doing everything he knows to do and not get involved? How could he see me cry and not show up?
I would literally yell, “I wish I didn’t believe in you! It feels worse knowing you are there and not doing anything. Is this what I get for my faith?”
I can also say that if I had been an atheist then I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now. I might have ended things a while ago. But I couldn’t shake myself completely loose from all hope. Even though my life was completely dark, there was a small light in the corner that I couldn’t put out.
Maybe you’ve seen that light that flickering in the corner of your own life. It never goes out. You try to stomp it out. You try to pretend it’s not there. But it won’t turn off. It won’t blow out.
I’ve had atheist moments, but I’ve come to realize that I was an atheist towards a God that didn’t exist. A God that had been presented to me. One that I had made up. I didn’t believe in a God that I was told wouldn’t let me get hurt. I didn’t believe in a God that I was told would never embarrass me. I think that is the God that many people do not believe in. But I know that after experiencing the true God, he is undeniable.
We get frustrated with the God we’ve been presented with because we probably haven’t been presented with the true God. Or maybe some moments we’re just weak because life is hard. But I think this God is more understanding of our struggles and questions than we give him credit for. (I also don’t think he is as uptight as a lot of people wish he was.)
We want big, explosive changes on the spot, but we usually do not get them. It’s not because God is unjust, it’s because that is just not how life works. So we get frustrated. We burn out. But God is bigger than our doubts. He’s bigger than our anger. He’s bigger than our minds.
Some of the strongest people in their faith were the ones who at one point had the least amount of faith. C.S. Lewis was an atheist at one point. God didn’t zap him on the spot and change his mind. He found God through a process.
There’s a reason that AA has a twelve-step program—it’s because steps work. I think more of our churches need to preach a step program. I’m not denying the power of God or saying that people can’t change on the spot, but I’m also saying that we don’t have to change like that. Some of us take time.
We always want God to show up like he did with Elijah on Mount Carmel. We want him to come down with the fire and prove everyone wrong. And sometimes he does. But he also showed up to Elijah as a whisper. After the wind. After the earthquake. After the fire. He came gently. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
He came in a manger.
He came as a carpenter.
He blended in so much with the people around him that Judas had to point him out to the Romans.
Just because God hasn’t busted through the walls of your life like the Kool-Aid Man doesn’t mean he is any less prevalent. It doesn’t mean you are unfixable. It doesn’t mean that true change isn’t happening in and around you.
I’ve found that I’m just not smart enough to be an atheist. I about failed chemistry, and just looking at physics books makes my head hurt. So I have to rely on faith. I don’t have a choice. Not that there aren’t intelligent people who share my faith, but at some point faith has to throw out the formulas. It’s a requirement.
Some days I want to be an atheist and move on with my life. But I can’t. The light in the corner won’t go out. There may be times it flickers and bends, but it doesn’t die.
I’ve found that my faith in God is a lot like that light. It bends but it doesn’t break. It dims but it doesn’t go dark. This little light of mine. It’s not much, but it’s strong enough.