Five years ago, I had just given birth to my second child. All of my close friends had moved away, and I was exhausted, lonely and depressed. I felt like I was in prison. Then, one day I was reading something written by a guy who does not believe in God. He suggested imagining that God is not real. I did it. And just like that, my faith was gone.
I think I was disillusioned with God and wanted him to go away. I thought I would feel a sense of freedom without God. "I can do whatever I want now." But I only felt emptiness. I stared out the window at the trees, and they just looked so empty.
What would I change in my new life without God? I realized that even without God, I still couldn't do whatever I wanted to do. My actions still had consequences. Ironically, the principles that I had learned from the Bible about how to live still applied. My biggest concern was how I would tell my family and friends that everything I had believed my entire life was gone.
A week later, I was sitting in the same seat in which I lost my faith staring out the window at the same trees, and I had a small thought, "Not too long ago, a baby - a human being - grew for 9 months and then came out of my body. How in the world do I explain that without God?" I started thinking about the trees. How does everything in the world work so well to make trees grow? I could see God (although still distant from me) in the universe. It wasn't like my faith came back to me all at once. In fact, it took a long time for it to grow. After the initial thoughts about nature, I thought about history. I wrote in my journal at that time something Paul said thousands of years ago -
"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile."
I thought that if it can be proven that Jesus came to earth and died and rose again, then I am dealing with a God who is real. So, I started reading books that document the historical reality of Jesus and the reliability of the Bible (Josh McDowell's books Evidence that Demands a Verdict and A Ready Defense as well as a book by Josephus, a 1st century Jewish historian). And now I am reading them again with my daughter.
Yes, I believe God is real. And I believe he cares enough to give me a week of unbelief for the sake of breaking my uncaring, unsympathetic faith... and for the sake of my daughter, who has the guts to ask real questions.
(The photos in this post highlight another question my daughter asked me this week - "Is it OK to like weeds? Because I think they are beautiful.")