This story tells something about the life's journey of a teenage boy and some of the struggles he faced as he tried to answer some of life's dominant questions for himself.
Do you remember your
teenage years? What were those years like for you? Were they
pleasant? Were they difficult? What were some issues that caused
you difficulty and pain? How did you try to deal with those
issues? Were you successful? Did you find the peace and comfort you
Over the years
various friends had alerted his mom to what was going on with her husband, but all that caused was a broken relationship
with the friends who shared the truth with mom. Her husband could be very
persuasive, an ability that was greatly aided by
his mom's desire to believe him.
Additionally, the kid noticed that many people in his religious belief system appeared to be hypocritical. Their religious beliefs did not seem to match up with their day-to-day practices. He saw they would say some things and yet would do other things that contradicted what they said.
Couple these issues
with questions he was struggling within his
own life. Why is life so crazy? Why do such evil things sometimes happen to such good people? Is God real
or just a figment of some people's imagination? Suppose for a moment that
He is real, does He care about me? Then again, why should He? I'm
only one of some seven billion (with a
"b") on this planet.
Then he got more
specific with his questions. He finally asked, "Do I need God?
Is He, as some people say, just a crutch
for weak people, like women and children?
Does He certainly exist? Can I know for sure? How can I know for sure?
Over some time he
struggled with these questions and others.
At last the kid came up with what he thought to be a reasonable
solution. He decided to give the problem (s)
a fair, intelligent, and practical test.
He would ask nothing of God for thirty days. Assuming, of course, that God even existed. To be as fair as possible, he would go one step farther; he would throw out the request, to whoever was listening; that God (if there was one) would leave him alone for thirty days. How hard would that be? No answer, no God, no problem, right? Question answered. Move on to something else.
So, that’s what he
did. He now looks back on that time and sees
it as the point in his life when learned to know
So, what happened? The kid respectfully, as respectful as one can
be when talking to Someone who may or may not even exist, told Him that He
should go away for thirty days. At the end of the thirty-day time frame,
he would decide whether or not he wanted
God to be a part of his life.
Had God already been part of his life? That was a question that lacked a definitive answer. May yes, maybe no. The kid needed to know for sure, one way or the other. If He had been there all along, that would be relevant information to have. On the other hand, if He had not been around, he needed to know that too.
The first day or so into his experiment, everything
seemed OK. Well maybe a little strange, but that felt to be within the
parameters of normal because this was a new experiment after all. But the following days did not bring any
improvement. He grew from being
distinctly uneasy to feeling decidedly worse.
He felt not only empty but void, filled with nothingness. His happiness and peace were rapidly
This sensation he was feeling was not pleasant. Something had to change and soon. The kid had never experienced anything like this
before. Why now? Was it precisely because he had asked God to
leave him alone? Could that be it?
He didn’t know, but he did know this present experience was not tolerable. Something needed to change and fast. He recalled that his life had been OK until he had undertaken the test about God. It seemed the logical thing to do was to undo his request that God leave him alone.
So, he wasted no time and did that right away.
Now here is where things get a little strange. The kid’s earlier experience with the experiment might be explained by the early stages of an illness coming on. Or his body fighting off an infection of some sort. Moods are not a reliable measure of reality.
But here's the fantastic thing. No sooner had the kid asked God to please return to him that he experienced an immediate flooding of peace and contentment to his heart and mind. No waiting and wondering if anything would happen. It happened right away.
That experience is almost as fresh in my mind today as it was over fifty years ago. I view that event as my own conversion story.
Today, when I hear
someone say there is no God, to me what they are
saying is God is not real to them. That
is a tragedy. It doesn’t have to be that
If you doubt the existence of God, it means you have not talked with Him lately. What are you waiting for? Go ahead. Give Him a chance. You’ll be glad you did!