Is God Really There?

is god real+

 

“God, if you are real, please show me.”

He was desperate. In prison. Hopeless. His life was a mess and he figured he’d give God a chance. If God even existed, that is.

So he prayed. And waited. And looked for signs of God.

There were no answers written on the sky. But slowly God brought people and circumstances and books to open his eyes. A random cell mate reading a Christian book from Christian Library International passed it along. Which led to a Bible study. And a mentor through CLI.

Soon he knew. Beyond any doubt. This God that he had heard about was indeed real. And had called him out of darkness into light. And the world would never be the same again.

As I listened to the speaker, now out of prison and serving in full-time ministry, I was both grateful and amazed.

Grateful that God calls us through no merits of our own. And that He uses people and circumstances and ministries to show us His truth.

Amazed that I had spoken those very words to God the night before He revealed Himself to me. My story was very different but my words were spoken out of desperation as well. Life wasn’t turning out the way I wanted. My days seemed meaningless. My many questions unanswerable.

God couldn’t be real, I had assumed. I had given up believing in God a long time before. There was little evidence of Him in my world.

My life had been difficult.

I contracted polio as an infant in India and lived in and out of Canadian hospitals for much of my childhood. I spent months on end living on a hospital ward, isolated from my parents, my sister, and my peers.  By age 13, I had endured 21 operations.

While hospital life was lonely, it was less painful than the constant bullying that I experienced in the real world.  Nearly every day I heard the word “cripple.” Through elementary and middle school, I buried the hurt of that teasing deep, yet it constantly whispered to me that I didn’t count, that I didn’t belong, that I’d always be an outsider.  I learned to stuff my feelings, to please others, to be the good girl on the outside, but inside I was a self-absorbed mess.

I grew up in the church, but I wanted nothing to do with this God that I heard about. But at the same my life had no joy, just bitterness and anger. I knew something was missing.

So one night, in the darkness, I cried out to Jesus. I wanted the issue settled. I wondered, is God really there? So I simply whispered, “God, if you are real, please show me.”

My question was sincere, and I waited for a response. Some indication that I’d been heard. When nothing happened, I rolled over and fell sleep, my suspicions confirmed.

When I woke the next day, I wondered if I’d get an answer. I didn’t expect to. But to cover my bases, I decided to read the Bible. Reaching over to my nightstand, I pulled out an unopened RSV translation that had sat there untouched for years.

Flipping aimlessly through the pages, I read whatever passages my eyes landed upon. They didn’t make sense. As usual. Leviticus had weird rules and Chronicles had endless pages of names.  I was about to put the Bible away, convinced that God indeed was not real, when I stopped to ask a question.

“Why?”

“Why did all of this happen to me?  If you are so loving, why did I get polio?  Why have I had to struggle my whole life? How can You possibly be good?” I thumbed through the Bible one last time looking for answers.

It fell open to the Gospel of John and I began reading at John 9:

“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.” (John 9:1-3 RSV)

Jesus’ explanation was a little different than the disciples’ question: they were focusing on the cause of this man’s disability while Jesus spoke to the purpose behind it.  According to Jesus, this wasn’t a punishment or even random misfortune. It had been planned all along by God.

Those words took my breath away. God was answering me. Arrogant, self-pitying, angry me was being answered by the God of the universe.

My suffering had a purpose: to bring glory to God.

To some, those words may seem puzzling. Maybe even disturbing. But when they are spoken to you by the God of the universe, those words change everything.

It was the most amazing moment of my life. I will never forget it. Even now, as I remember that morning, it brings me to tears.

Just as God opened the eyes of a blind man to bring glory to Himself, God was opening my eyes. For the first time, I could see Him. Sense His presence. Understand He was real.

I closed my Bible and knelt down by the side of my bed. As the sun streamed into my room, I committed my life to a God I didn’t know but was certain knew me.

He had created me for a purpose – to bring Him glory. And all that I had endured in my life was to accomplish that end.

God, who knew me, and each of us before the foundation of the world, calls us uniquely. Not based on anything we have done but based solely on His irresistible grace.

And this call often begins with Him answering a simple prayer. Not a theological or learned one. Just a sincere cry.

So if you’re reading this post and don’t know Jesus, I’d humbly ask you to consider praying, “God if you are real, please show me.”

And then look around to see how He is answering you.

 

 

 

photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar
  • June 26, 2015 - 10:41 am

    Christianna Hellwig - Isn’t it interesting how we often look at suffering through the lens of what “I” can get out of it? Instead, God doesn’t always do things directly because of us, but for His own glory. The wonderful thing is, that when we endure things for His own glory, we get the most benefit out of it. We were hard wired to bring glory to Him and are at our absolute best when we decrease so that He may increase!
    Thank you for your lovely post.ReplyCancel

    • July 12, 2015 - 7:44 pm

      Dr Ee - Thanks and true the main object or purpose in life is we bring God glory in our adversity and situation but how is God really glorified in john 9 and why It is when the miracle took place not just spiritualising or spiritual reality but a true experience and transformation manifestation of the miracle with an encounter that transform a blind men to be able to see The word became a reality an d flesh not just an ideology or theologyReplyCancel

  • June 26, 2015 - 10:50 am

    Brenda McKee - Thank you for your writings. They challenge me, inspire me and helped me in more ways than mere words can express. I thank God for you. Thank you for taking the risk of being real. People that write or live with their mask on of everything is “fine” are only fooling themselves. Life is challenging for most, to say the least, but we are not left by ourselves we have an Almighty God Who sent Jesus to save us, Who sent us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit to empower us. Your writings brings glory to God! We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us! May the LORD continue to bless you. Keep on writing please.ReplyCancel

  • June 30, 2015 - 5:15 am

    Oluwatosin - Just last Sunday, in my kitchen as I was preparing meal for the family the holy Spirit ministered to me that God can actually keep you in the valley because that is just the best for you at the time. Valley is not always a good place because all the junk from the mountain flows into it. We may be allowed to go through all these experiences as God’s children just because God wants us to reach out to a soul who is also in the same ditch as we have found ourselves. Ours is to always give thanks to God just like job did later and as the book Thessalonians tells us;

    “Give thanks in all circumstances ,for this is God’s will for you in ALL circumstances.
    1thessalonians 5:18ReplyCancel

    • July 5, 2015 - 12:42 pm

      Vaneetha - I totally agree! The valley can be excruciatingly difficult, but it truly is where the fruit in our lives grows. And that is the greatest blessing.ReplyCancel

  • June 30, 2015 - 3:27 pm

    Kelly Lessard - Vaneetha,
    I always read your new blog posts, but hadn’t had time to read the newest one and had forgot. Right now I am sitting waiting to speak to a surgeon about two upcoming surgeries I need. I’m nervous, as I realized when I walked through the door that “stuff just got real.” I had a feeling I was going to be in the waiting room awhile and I needed some inspiration, something I could read for encouragement. Wouldn’t you know, you (or God :)) were talking about the exact thing I’m going through. Chronic illness and weariness and wondering why?? Why me?? How is my illness bringing glory to God? God has healed me before and given me an amazing testimony. No matter the results, I know he is at work in me for His good pleasure. Love and Blessings. Keep doing what you’re doing. I love your voice of truth.ReplyCancel

    • July 5, 2015 - 12:40 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks so much for writing. So thankful that God used this post in the waiting room. His timing is always perfect, isn’t it. I am praying as I write this about your upcoming surgeries- for wisdom and skill for the surgeons and wisdom & peace for you. I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet last year at Emily & Christa’s workshop. I hope we can at another time!ReplyCancel

  • July 2, 2015 - 9:09 am

    Mary - This article proves a study about God’s glory that I am currently learning.
    God is so passionate about His glory that He will use whatever means and it’s true what is said that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisified in Him.
    May we embrace suffering with the right attitude.
    Thanks for such a beautiful reminder.ReplyCancel

    • July 5, 2015 - 12:37 pm

      Vaneetha - What a wonderful study to undertake, Mary. Seeing our lives in the context of something greater changes everything. And God’s glory is the greatest context there is!ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2015 - 4:05 pm

    Is My Suffering Meaningless? - Vaneetha Rendall - […] This view of suffering is what led me to Christ. I was born in India and contracted polio at three months old. I endured numerous operations and was tormented throughout grade school for my disability, leaving me angry and bitter at God, doubting his very existence. I couldn’t understand how a loving God could let this happen. […]ReplyCancel

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