For the longest time I used to question God’s existence. I used to wonder if He really is up there looking down on all of us. I wondered if He cared. I wondered if He heard my prayers the few times that I would pray. I got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a kid, which is an excruciatingly painful inflammatory bowel disease where parts of the digestive system get swollen and have deep sores. As a 13 year old kid, I used to lay in bed screaming in pain, wondering how a God who loved me could do this to me. I used to wonder why there was suffering and death if God loved us so much.
I went to youth group and church, but it was mainly to keep my parents happy, and hang out with my friends. I heard sermons, scripture, and truth, but I couldn’t care less. I thought I knew the truth. There was no God, no hope, no “good word”. There was only me, all alone, trudging through life, getting made fun of a lot, hating almost everyone. I used to walk past my dad’s gun cabinet, thinking of how easy it would be to find the key, and just end it. Cars would go by, I’d start to walk in front of it at the last minute, but then chicken out. I was suicidal.
I didn’t understand that all these “bad things” that were happening to me and around me were not God’s doing. All of these things happened because of the fall of Adam and Eve. They took the fruit from the tree of knowledge that God told them not to eat, and they ate it. Then, sin took form. It created evil. God doesn’t cause these things to happen. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, this is just the earth doing what the earth does because it is now imperfect.
I used to think “if God’s so good, why doesn’t He just destroy all of the evil in this world?” But that’s the problem. We sin, we think evil thoughts, say evil things daily. If God was to destroy the evil in this world, we would be destroyed too.
When I was 16, my brother told me to go to this retreat weekend called Chrysalis. I really didn’t wanna go spend a weekend singing koom-bye-ya with a bunch of weridos that wanted to talk to me about Jesus, but I looked up to my brother, so to appease him I went. That’s when God and I made contact.
I learned how much Christ loved me, how He came down from His throne in heaven to die a criminal’s death on a cross to atone for my sins, and it’s not by works that I can find salvation, but faith and faith alone.
I still didn’t do anything with God though. I just thought of Him as something that I could put on a shelf of my life, and bring down when I needed Him. I never repented of sin, or even prayed everyday. That all changed though when I went to a retreat with a church youth group my senior year (which if I'm being honest, I only went because there was a cute girl that wanted me to go. God had other plans that didn't end with me having a girlfriend).
I finally realized that I needed to take up my cross, and follow Him, Christ, my Savior, turn from my addictions, my struggles, my sins. That’s not to say that I still don’t struggle everyday. Repentance is a hard, daily practice.
Maybe you think that you need to “clean up your life” before you come to Jesus though. That’s not true at all. In fact, there's a story about two sons that deals with this.
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons.And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
- Luke 15:11-24 (ESV)
The younger son is a sinner. He spits in his father’s face, basically tells his dad that he wishes he was dead, gets his inheritance and lives a terrible sinful life.
Maybe you’ve done that. Maybe you’ve taken YOUR inheritance (your life) and spent it on things you’d rather not talk about. Maybe you think that you’re not worthy to be called someone’s son. That someone is God. And he DOES still want you, no matter WHAT you’ve done and loves you more than you could ever know. When you come to Christ, there is a celebration that happens! The prodigal son (or daughter) has returned! You were lost, but now you are found!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
- John 3:16-17 (ESV)
Jesus loves you SO MUCH that He died on a cross for your sins! Repent and turn to him, because what are you afraid of - good? Love? Joy? Peace? Rest?
Now I’m not going to pretend to know where you’re coming from, what you believe, or what you think of God. I do know one thing though - if you feel anything at all in your gut about this, seek it out. I dare you to pick up a bible, read. Talk to a Christian friend. Pray. You never know what you might find. You might just find God. I did.