This blog is titled “Despite My Doubts,” and there are two reasons for it. One reason is that the title is an incomplete sentence… in my mind it is followed by “I know that God exists and He cares for me.” The other is that I have doubts. All the time. Every day. Sometimes I have doubts even while I am praying. “Is this really normal? Who am I talking to? Do I even need this? This is silly.” I hope I am not the only one who has these moments.
(I need to digress for a moment. Lightning in August is a dangerous presence on my property. I call my house “Lightning Central.” If it is cloudy or raining, or if there is thunder, and it is August, you stay in the house. About ten years ago a blast of lightning hit right outside my kitchen door, just about 15-20 feet away. I had just walked through that door with my dog and an umbrella. I had the dog out for a walk in the rain. I love walking in the rain. As I closed the door there was a HUGE flash and explosion. It scared the hell out me! I looked outside through the kitchen door and saw that a large area of my lawn was scorched all crisscrossed with crazy lines. Also, there was no grass where the lines were, and one area about 3’x3’ was completely devoid of grass–the grass was gone! It took a few seconds, but I eventually realized that lightning had hit just where I had been standing only seconds before. The lines were the imprint of the lightning. After the storm I went outside and looked. The grass and some dirt had been literally blasted out of the ground from the heat and was thrown over the roof to the other side of the house. I just missed getting blasted.That’ll make you pray: “Thanks, God, I really appreciate me not being blown up.” Grass didn’t grow on those areas for several years. Nothing did.)
So, back to my point. Yes, I continue to pray despite my doubts. And God continues to show me that He exists. Sometimes he shows me in ways that are profound. Other times, he shows me in ways that are, well, downright humorous. I take note of all of these moments. Sometimes I recognize them immediately, other times I realize his message upon reflection.
And so it was a few days ago that before I went to bed I opened my Bible at random. Just opened it not looking for anything in particular; and I came across the story of Saul of Tarsus. You know, Paul. A bright light flashed around him and he fell to the ground and Jesus speaks to him. He wants to know why Saul is persecuting him.
How many of us have thought to ourselves “it’s a lot easier believing when Jesus actually knocks you down and talks to you, or when God appears to you.” That’s what I was thinking as I read this. Not a good thought, but, hey, we all have doubts–don’t we? Not being in a particularly prayerful mood this night, I closed the Bible and went to sleep.
At 3:30, I woke up. I thought I was hearing things. I figured it was distant thunder, but I wasn’t sure. Then I thought I saw the reflection of an ambulance light on the bedroom wall–or something like that–coming through the window facing the road. I turned and looked at the window and there was a very faint light of some sort outside. I couldn’t tell what it was. The day before I had an electrician come to the house to work on the feed line which somehow got knocked down. It was connected, I still had power, but it was hanging lower than it should. And in my tired state, I thought “I wonder if there is a problem with the electric line? I wonder if it is sparking?” Now I’m thinking “What if it’s dangerous? What if there’s a fire on the line?” Hey, it was 3:30 in the morning, and the brain wasn’t quite functioning yet.
So… I decide to go outside to investigate. Put on the clothes and sneakers and walk to the driveway and look up to where the line connects to the house. And it wasn’t the line. It was the sky. There were very small lights in the clouds. Obviously some kind of lightning, but different. Very faint, weak. But the sky was glowing with them. So I stand there, head back staring at the sky and say “wow, look at that…”
FLASH!! BOOM!! EXPLOSION!!
Lightning exploded in the sky right over the house where I was looking–just above me. Eyes wide open, it took a second for me to be able to see again. I thought “Oh, Shit! Get inside!” So I ran inside as fast as I could and stood in the hallway, thinking to myself, “You stupid idiot. You stupid, stupid moron! It’s August.” And I realized I could have been killed.
So, I get a glass of water, drink it, and go back to bed.
And I see my Bible.
And I remembered what I read and what I was thinking before I went to sleep. I had to laugh.
Okay, God, you got my attention–again.
You can call it coincidence, you can call it whatever you want. But it happened. There have been a few other moments in my life when I truly believe God has profoundly obtained my attention. Two of them were amazing. Yet despite them, I still weaken, falter. I doubt. But this last one, I will not soon forget it. It was too scary, it was too funny; and, for me, it was just too obvious.
God can be pretty cool sometimes.