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God’s Not Dead

In Testimony
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Amidst all that’s happening around us, amidst everything that’s happening in your personal life, there is a question that may arise and shatter your beliefs.

DOES GOD REALLY EXIST?

This question haunted me last year. It started with a healthy God-seeking attitude, like how I used to be skeptic about my beliefs and ended up more in love with God, looking deeper in theology and learning how to reflect on what God has to do with the wonders of science. But last year it was different. I ended up actually doubting the existence of God.

I wonder what made it different.
I wonder why I suddenly found myself in that crazy place of agnosticism I thought I’d never see.
I wonder how someone like me, a believer for the vast majority of my life, ended up doubting God
What tossed my beliefs back and forth by the waves and blew them here and there by the winds?

IT IS PAIN.

Pain, especially emotional pain, can make a person’s defenses shoot up. We know how hard it is to make sense when we are in pain. A person hurting is mainly focused on how to take the pain away, just like how you felt when you first had a boo-boo. You cried the loudest to express how much you want the ache gone ASAP, hardly noticing other things around you. Even if you learned to hold your tears, your head is just all around how the boo-boo makes you feel, liquidating other thoughts that have nothing to do with the agony, fixated on the pain.
Just like physical pain, emotional pain can really blur our viewpoint.

This is what pushed me further from God and nearer to agnosticism.

All of these things happened in a short span of five months: school’s difficulty level skyrocketed; the imperfections in my family were haunting me; some friendships were hanging by a thin thread; and also, quite interestingly, an unreciprocated infatuation on a guy I know I can never be with unwelcomely sprouted. Normally, I would plead to God to help me and sure enough, the storm in me would calm down as He comes to my rescue. But last year, I let the overconfidence in myself reign in my decisions.

I thought I was doing it for God, I focused in my studies even more, allowing myself to fool around a bit, thinking that I needed it, I started doing things that were once against what I believed in (like going to parties and … going with the flow), slowly forgetting God. I did all those things thinking that they were essential to remove the pain, justifying them by convincing myself that were necessary in my “ministry”. (I don’t think that I can really call it “ministry” though, ’cause I barely asked God for help.) I was unconsciously letting my faith in Him slip away. I was consciously choosing self-pleasure, in other words, sin, to make me forget all this world’s troubles.

It was terrible.

Since I was too indulged in the things of this world, the little lemons life threw at me were extra hurtful. Sadly, the more pain I experienced, the more I hated God. How much more pain would He send my way? How much more pain should I experience before He comes to my rescue? Testing how far God would care, I deliberately chose to sin, knowing that it inflicted even more destruction.

Eventually, I took pleasure in disobeying God.

It was when I chose to entertain the thought that there may be no God at all. In retrospect, I think it’s because I hated the truth that God allowed me to experience pain, yet He would not allow me to experience “pleasure”, a.k.a. sin.

I hated how much He wouldn’t be supportive of what I was doing (if he exists).

I hated how He would surely tell me to let go of my feelings for this agnostic guy (doesn’t he know how hard it is to un-like a person? maybe the Jesus concept was not true, because he doesn’t really understand).

I hated how much He hated sin. (why would he hate homosexuality? why would he forbid me to do what i think would give me a good time? it is just hard to rationalize why the things He considers as sin are for my good; i cannot see anything wrong with them. “god” and his rules just do not make any sense)

And yet, the very things God hates were the things that made me feel even more miserable. Nothing fell into place. They pushed me to have a secret life that gave me tormenting guilt. And worse, the secret life I had did not bear much fruit. Peace was still absent, hope was no more than a dim light. I was happy but joy was out of the question. Sorrow filled my heart inexplicably.

Just when I was about to be devoured by all these, I decided to spend a full week to just reflect on everything that happened. At the end of the week, I would decide, whether I will still believe in God or not.
I jogged every morning and sorted my thoughts without any outside influence. I did not talk to any of my friends, church and family about this struggle. I did not visit any website or read any article. I wanted it to just be between God (if he really does exist, i thought) and me (if the human mind is indeed as super as what agnostic/atheist scientists say, I would be able to win this).

I read a lot of agnostic and atheistic materials even before all this happened. Maybe this is why I readily entertained the possibility of going to the other side of the fence? However, it was hard to base my decision on which belief system was more rational, because if you’re going to be a skeptic as you probe deeper into the arguments of Christians, agnostics and atheists, each one of them have loopholes. And yet, every loophole in Christianity was drowned by the tangible fingerprints of God in my life. I wasn’t looking at this with bias because I hated God. But the changes He has made in my life are just.. undeniable. I remembered how, when I chose to be in God’s team, I witnessed miracles upon miracles — people who don’t believe in God or who don’t know how God works would call these mere coincidences, but once you experience His divine intervention, how everything indeed work together for your good eventually, you can never un-see that it is indeed God. I remembered the actual people I know who had radical lifestyle changes only God could effect; drug addicts who surrendered their drugs to the police, murderers whose hands are now free from blood, rape victims who rose up and helped other women to be free from the venom of hate and to bloom. These people, more than me, have deeper understanding of pain. And yet, they were healed and they stand to help the heart-broken.

It was during that week that I had a deeper understanding of seeing through pain and finding God in brokenness. At the end of that phenomenal week, I fell down to my knees, repentant, and amazed of how patient and faithful and loving God was during the months I seriously doubted Him.

All the world offered me were shallow peace, shallow hope, shallow everything, compared to what I experienced in God. Yes it offers a lot of pleasures, entertainment, but their effects are temporary. They cannot remove pain, let alone heal a broken heart. And, sin, no matter how pleasurable it may seem, can never bring healing. The world in its glory, with the sin it gleefully caters, can never turn pain into a testimony. But God can.

This is what turned me back to believe that God exists.

He does not just merely exists — He is alive, transforming lives, manifesting His glory and power in His Creation.

MY GOD’S NOT DEAD, HE’S SURELY ALIVE!

I don’t regret going through this, because God gave me victory over what could have been creeping inside me long before, that which cripples a Christian and takes the place of faith: doubt.

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