Walking home, I had debated in my head the wisdom of publishing this post. And if I’m honest, the only reasons stopping me are fear and shame. Fear of judgment and sadly, ashamed of God. I’ve been an atheist a good part of my thinking life and consequently, I know a good many people who stand on the same camp. People who, as I had been, would seriously question the sanity and intellect of theists. This is no joke for me. I’ve been wrestling with notions of my potential dementia or stupidity.
For months now, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with the concept of a loving God, our Creator, His omniproperties and His supernatural ability. My faith in Christianity has been, hitherto, experimental. In fact, oh my God, I’ve just remembered that now would be about time my timeline expired. Wow, great timing, God. So, in my hunger for The Truth and partly because of a personal ‘immersive’ side project to ‘field research’ for a module I was taking last semester (PH2211 Philosophy of Religion), I joined The Outreach and was soon convinced by Daniel to challenge the existence of God by means of an experimental faith that will span 6 months. And let me tell you, I had been fully prepared to walk away smugly in 6 months, all equipped with robust academic reasons against the existence of this being. Unfortunately for my conceit, He triumphed. Kind of. But in return, He is giving (has given and will give) me so much more.
My experimental journey with the Creator began with a tearfully uttered sinner’s prayer at CKRM, a church that move(d) in the power of the Holy Spirit, the second (?) time I visited. Why tearfully? I don’t know what came over me, I attribute it to fatigue (don’t wanna be presumptuous yet). That day was business as usual for the ‘crazy church’ (yes, that’s what I called it), manifestations all over the place that sent me to fits of hilarity. I have to admit that part of the reason I bothered spending my Saturday over there was the entertain I got in return. The presence of God in that place, apparently, was so strong that people drop like flies under the Spirit all throughout the preaching. Not only that, people laugh and run around the place, roar and tremble and all that stuff. I don’t even hear half the things the pastor says. (You people are so thinking we’re loonies.) That day, AGAIN, one of the pastors called me up to pray (with the intention of causing my manifestation-unsuccessfully). By the way, Dick is scared to death of that place because of that. Sorry your secret is out, dear. This time I was really scared because Dick had just fallen under the Spirit right before my eyes. I was totally NOT laughing anymore because I know him and I know he wouldn’t fake something like that. It was either delusion or the presence is real. So by that time, I was bawling my eyes out worrying for him. And honestly, I was half prepared to flee from this cult parade. Ok because I had been crying at the time, this part is a bit blurry. I can’t remember what the pastor was praying but she made me cry even harder, in a not-so-bad way, with me all the time trying my utmost best to stand on my wobbly feet and finally surrendering my full weight on Janice. Then I just felt, I don’t know, like, ready. I felt ready to get to know this God and see if He works out for me. So that was it–my first step, with Daniel and Janice and Dick holding my hands.
The past few months had me catapulting from vibrant belief to stubborn unbelief, desperate longing to incredulous disdain. Midway through this journey, I realized that no academic grounding can keep my faith until I experience the full glory of His word fulfilled for me. I completed that philosophy module defeated in my search for Truth because philosophy did nothing for me except give me false excitement only to take it away with each counter-argument and counter-counter-argument. And in the end, it left me with an inconclusive conclusion that made me wildly ravenous for a transcendental understanding of this world.
I began praying to God for a revelation. For such a spectacular revelation of His existence that I would have to be stupid to deny it. For such an intimate display that would only make sense to me and me alone and in that instant, strengthen my faith in Him so that I can never be the same again. For my own story to tell. A proof of Him so strong that my testimony can bring glory to Him through its impartation to disbelievers because I had been one of them. I don’t want a subpar understanding, I don’t want a subpar faith. I don’t want signs that I can rationalize to shreds of useless paper. I don’t want a squeak. I want to shout it out. I want the best or nothing at all. And if He was so great, I want to see Him do that.
Today, He finally moved a muscle. Today is the beginning of my never-be-the-same-again.
Today started out bad for me. In fact, it had started being bad since about that day I clubbed. God must be finally doing something about my social smoking. (Yep, secret’s out, not everyone knows that.) Long story short, I felt like crap after that day. In fact, on my way home at 4 a.m., I felt so remorseful I went to sit at the park and prayed for God to keep my bearings. Mostly, I also felt guilty towards Dick for dishonoring God. Weird how my brain works. That was Saturday. And then I couldn’t get my lazy ass to run. So I’m in desperate want of endorphin and I just felt ready to blow my top at some poor guy (namely, Dick). He really doesn’t deserve that so I prayed before leaving the house that God will bless the poor guy and bless me with some joy until I get my runner’s high.
We have theology classes by Chris the Genius, B.A. Theology, in Daniel’s house every Tuesday and today’s lesson on the apocalyptic worldviews of the Israelites pre-birth of Jesus -??- did nothing for me. But after class, I was fixated with Daniel’s gossip sharing with Dick and somehow the conversation evolved to him telling me about manifestations and testimonies of people who only experience it after years of desiring it. I began tearing and holding back tears. Specifically at the time Daniel mentioned his experience when he prayed for the Spirit to come and be his friend, stretching his hand out, it happened. It swept over him. Couldn’t complete his sentence, reduced to fits of giggles. And then I started sobbing, full force, like someone died. Ok I may be emotional but I don’t quite SOB at nothing. How do I explain what I felt at the time? Just…moved. Profoundly touched by some unnamed event or feeling or something. An opening in my heart. We joined hands in prayer and I just…felt. I felt that God…is. He exists. Period. You can have a bunch of academics postulating until the cow comes home and not reach a satisfactory conclusion but I tell you, this feeling. It’s like “Shut up, I am here. See? You can quit speculating.” I have NEVER felt like that in my life. Doubt consumes me. Doubt is me. But at that moment, all my heart and mind were in complete agreement to a fact that just happened. Wow. And I was uplifted.
Call me delusional. Then again, I wouldn’t even say this is a full revelation from God. He knows it’s not enough for me. It’s just a stir from Him. Something to keep me going, or just to cheer me up, or maybe He’s just being kind to Dick. I still have my doubts but now, I have no doubt that He will make Himself real to me… IF He really exists.