I have heard it happens to the best Christians, its never happened to me before. I never expected it to happen. I sort of was “around” and in dialogue with a lot of angry atheists, a lot of people seeking god, or denying him.
Some insulted him, some had well rehearsed statements on all manner of things religious. Some were hurtful, some were looking to anger you so they could say “their you go not so christian after all”.
I wanted to help, I wanted to be the Christian voice on an angry atheist right wing facebook page.
But also I had come a LONG way in my journey in a short space, there were unanswered things from the things I had learnt. In my 2,5 years as a Christian I had read the entire bible, was half way through a two year course on Christian studies, been exposed to traditional and liberal Christianity, had all number of views challenged, read books and books of theology. Got a spiritual adviser to help me draw closer and he was and is a great help .
Overall though I was “busy”. Busy trying to be a Christian, busy with family, work, helping my church, the homeless, my courses, my studies. Busy. Prayer, family, church , social life all had alloted spots.
Then I had a hernia, it went off like a grenade in my life, one minute fine, next minute rushed to emergency surgery (it was a big one) and forced to sit for five weeks. So I spent this summer in a chair, in a bit of pain, in my garden.
I studied, assisi, therese of mavilla, some books on ordination, and reflected on may things, I had some intense spiritual moments where I felt guided, rebuked, loved, mostly loved. Oh and close, very very close. I spent a lot of time speaking to these right wign atheists with all the best intentions. But I see now I should have wiped the sand from my shoes much much earlier. Secular, Angry, aggressive, never moving in any aspect of debate quite corrosive over time, making progress one day, right back to square one the next, any point proven was thown back as a rebuke. Just endless anger.
Then I got better, went back to work and reflected as my life slowly sped up again on that last few weeks, and asked myself some hard questions about how much of all that I had learned did I really believe. A reflection on my period of reflection sort of revealed a few things I had just never truly resolved.
Second mistake I used my brain, me to try and work it all out, I sort of floundered about and scared myself really by losing track of the basics, and almost tormenting myself with ideas of doubt.
I slowly over 2-3 emails revealed this doubt to my pastor, who was calmer than I was, and she said “pray and know that you are prayed for”. Habit at that point kicked in and a strong discipline of prayer I had built up reasserted itself. A thing she had got me into and was reinforced my my spiritual advisor and my study group. So although in my doubt my prayers were weak, I can assume my pastors prayers were not, or maybe god saw my weakness and bolstered me.
Through two sessions of proper prayer, no liturgical format, just me and some candles and him and looking for and finding help in my bible, and further emails. I found my way back, switched off my brain and looked for the relationship, switched off the part of me that long ago sought him in a repeatable science model and remembered where he always was, “within” ans ought that place out and asked him to come into my life again and to help me, and lots of long unread passages that formed my faith were given to me, from a gideons bible, from opening his book, from prayer.
I always had a logical idea that there is a “creator”, science in my view and increasingly so as I learn about time, space, the size of it all etc. To me its inescapable that there is a god, my relationship was stronger, and then I had to ask the hard question.
Was Jesus really the son of god? The bible is clearly a divine book, way to clever, intricate , interwoven, remarkable in its deep truths, and explanation of the human condition to be anything BUT a work of god, or inspired by god. If you read it you will think that, if you havent then you may not because you havent seen the total wonder of it, books thousands of years apart interwoven, such guidance, love, etc. But I had and I knew that
So it was I said god where DOES it say without doubt from your word , not Paul or peter but from you?? That he is my Saviour and died for me and my sins and was from you? With my gideons bible in my hands I asked that very question. Where does it say that from YOU god, just from you.
Matthew 1-21. One of the very first verses I ever read, now answered THAT very question.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins
And that was that,
I could have said when in doubt ask your pastor for help, pray and be still with him, ask him back into your life and admit you have wandered off and want to come back? You didnt mean too in fact you did some of the damage through the very best of intentions.
But I think the longer story may help others.
Shortening it more?
Pray, pray often, pray when your strong an really pray when your weak.