Is God Really Real?

 

orange sunset

Dear Friends,

I’d been a Christian my whole life—I’d even taught Sunday School and preached in nursing homes, so when this question rocked my world, it came as a complete surprise. I’d never expected to question God’s existence, but after suffering from a lingering, painful illness, this question could no longer be ignored. Was God really real?

I suppose the root of my doubts stemmed from the deep sense of betrayal that I felt toward God. I had served the Lord faithfully, and in return I’d almost died. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I was in near constant pain. If God was real, why hadn’t He delivered me from my illness? Where was He when I needed Him the most?

After a while, my questions spiraled in on themselves until my life felt like a big black hole of misery. I knew I should have more faith, but it’s hard to be “spiritual” when your hair is falling out and your teeth are all loose. It’s hard to sing songs of praise when every movement causes horrible pain. Anger became my status quo, and I turned that anger toward God.

By the time the question of God’s existence fully formed in my mind, I was actually hoping that God wasn’t real. After all, if God was just a myth and all of the beautiful church services I had experienced were just examples of mass hysteria and delusion, then I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. I could be mad. I could die in anger. My suffering would be over. But if God was real, then I would have to deal with my anger and try to reconcile the fact that the God I had loved had let me suffer—and that seemed just too hard to do.

The lake 2Eventually, after months of struggling with the question of God’s existence, I walked up to the secluded lake behind my house. My body was so wracked with pain that each step was agony. I thought about turning back, but staying inside the four walls of my bedroom was driving me insane—I had to get out. Gritting my teeth, I struggled up the dusty path, dragging my feet, willing my body to move. I remembered how I used to run up that very same path, secure in the knowledge that life was a marvelous gift and that God was good. My lips twisted in bitterness. I was so angry that I felt bile rising in my throat. How things had changed.

When I finally made it to the lake’s shore, I collapsed on the grass and looked out over the water. Was God really real? Even as the familiar query formed in my mind, I tried to shove it away. But as I rubbed a muscle knot in my leg, I knew it was time to face the question. Sitting on the fence was making me miserable. I needed to decide what I believed.

sparrowThe knot in my leg grew worse. As I tried to breathe through the pain, something flew past my face. I lurched back and blinked in shock as another tiny bird flew past my ear. All around me, birds began swooping and speeding past me as quickly as lightning bolts. As I watched, they darted over the water chasing gnats and then swung past me in a lovely arc. The sight was exhilarating. I couldn’t believe how fast they were flying. They were coming within inches of my face—it was almost like they were demanding my attention…

I blinked a little. Turning away from the birds, I looked down at the grass below me. Each strand was radiant with different shades of color. I picked a blade and looked at it closely. It was lovely. I wondered why I had never noticed that before. Looking out over the water, I saw the sunlight being reflected in shimmering diamonds. I gazed up at the puffy clouds floating in the deep blue sky. Beauty was all around me. I paused. How could such beauty form out of random blind luck? Didn’t there have to be a design? And if a design—then a Designer?

The lake 1
As my leg cramped again, I rubbed it absently, ignoring the pain and concentrating on the beauty of the lake. Was God really real? If I decided that He was, it wouldn’t be a decision based out of dewy-eyed naiveté. I knew life wasn’t always fair. I knew bad things happened. And I knew that sometimes God allowed bad things to happen. If I decided to believe in Him again, I would have to deal with my anger and disappointment. I would have to choose to serve a God that I didn’t fully understand in light of a painful illness that I couldn’t ignore.

Was God really real? Even as the question formed in my mind, I sensed a waiting. An almost hushed atmosphere fell on the lake. The sparrows stopped circling. Things became quiet.

Looking down at the blade of grass in my hand, I said softly, “Yes. God is real.”

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3purple sunrise

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20 thoughts on “Is God Really Real?

  1. Danele, I love you and thank you for opening your heart and letting us know you are real today. Real people, with all our gripes and groans, have questions about God. Especially in times of great pain and suffering. But God doesn’t zap us when we are honest and bring those dark emotions to the surface and question. No. He gives us answers.

    A year after our 28 year old daughter was taken by a hemorrhagic brain aneurysm I found myself at the same place you described, only I didn’t have a beautiful lake to flee to. I sat on the back patio and shouted at God “If you’re real I need to know it. Now!” And in His graciousness He didn’t blot me from the planet. A soft breeze literally enveloped me, like one of those warm micro-waved blankets from the Emergency Room. Like you, I felt His presence and all my questions were answered.

    However, I’m not a quick study. I was so wrapped in grief I didn’t realize I was angry…’til two years later when my iced tea glass came into contact with the wall and shattered. Then I had to deal with the fact I was angry with God.

    But He is so gracious and kind. So merciful to the likes of us. He is indeed our perfect Father in Heaven and hallowed is His precious name.

    I can only pray your testimony and mine of the reality and emotions of pain and grief we’ve gone through will help someone out there today. God’s love has no confinements. Deep and wide…deeper and wider than we could begin to imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Diane, you just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing about your struggle. You’re right, God is so wonderful. I’m so glad that He not only answers our questions, but that He does it in love. I hope you have a beautiful day.

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  2. Ladies, these are amazing testimonies of passing through the fire.
    I’m humbled but also rejoicing that God proved Himself faithful and you
    want to tell of it.
    I haven’t been tested like you (and to be honest, I don’t want to be!)
    but these stories and your honesty and passion and love are inspiring.
    Thank you both for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Danele, I have gone through the same anger – the same questions. This is such a lovely transparent post and I have come to the same conclusion. Every time I sit on my swing (many times in pain or just pure dizzy), and see the hummingbirds fly up to the feeder, every green blade of grass, and all the different species of flowers remind me…yes, there is a God! Whether I ever get to drive again doesn’t change the fact that He is. And I believe I will be able to drive and do the things I once used to do. Because the enemy is constantly telling me I never will and he can’t tell the truth! Thank you for this beautiful testimony.

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    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful words, Diana! The beauty of this earth really does testify to God’s existence. Even when I wanted to deny Him, in the end, I just couldn’t. I will be standing with you in prayer concerning your illness. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful blessing to me and to so many others.

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  4. Wow, what a wonderful, amazing testimony! While I’ve not experienced a huge tragedy or debilitating illness, I’ve had my issues – and my doubts about God. But how beautifully you’ve described the struggles here. Thanks so much for posting this!

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  5. Danele, I love you, but you know that! LOL You, like my husband, are a testament that this life can be brutal and if we are anything, we are human. But when we are weak, He is strong and can face the day. Thank you for showing your struggle. You’re an amazing woman and He’s an amazing God.

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  6. As one with chronic illness, I too, have been near where you are. But this I know–He has something better planned for me. My job is to spread the Gospel, even if I’m having pain, etc.

    Thank you for sharing this testimony. It’s affirmation for me today.

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    1. Dear Cyn, I’m so glad that this post was an affirmation for you today! Chronic illness is so hard to bear, but you’re right, God has something beautiful planned for you! Something wonderful is just around the corner! When I was ill and got discouraged, I would think about the seasons. Winter never stays forever. Spring always comes. Things always change. Beauty, joy, happiness, and peace will always take the place of pain and heartache. It is Spring’s eternal promise written by our wonderful Creator’s hand. Blessings to you today, dear Cyn! Thank you for the way you are courageously spreading the gospel even though you are in pain. I will stand with you in prayer!

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    1. Dear Susan, you are such a blessing!! I appreciate you so much! I will never forget how you prayed with me the day we met. It meant so much to me–more than you will ever know. Thank you for allowing yourself to be used by God to bless other people. You are a beautiful person and a wonderful friend. You’re terrific!!!

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  7. Dolores Ensinia

    Within the steps we take in life I’m sure we have all questioned if God is real…yet the answer is all the same . He teaches us to have faith and to trust, He has showed us so much love and patience, God is real…as real as our troubles being solved , as real as our illnesses being healed as real as can ever be, thank you for your beautiful words of inspiration !! Love your posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Dolores, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It really spoke to my heart. You are right, God is as real as our troubles being solved and our illnesses being healed. What a wonderful way to put it!! I appreciate you so much!! Thank you for taking the time to brighten my day!

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