“Mommy, do you see that man over there?”
He was tall, with broad shoulders and dark hair and I was pretty excited. They’d been talking about him a lot there and I knew he was Very Important, so was thrilled to explain it all to my mom.
I doubt she was impressed with my first Sunday School.
Years later, she stood in the door of my bedroom and told me that she and dad were thinking about divorce, then she closed the door and walked away.
Alone on my fuzzy, orange, bed, I curled up and sobbed, feeling a great ripping in the fabric of my world. I rocked back and forth and cried wordlessly to God.
There’s no other way I can explain what happened. I felt a deep, spreading, comfort and knew I was not alone. Someone was with me – and he cared.
I started reading the bible.
More years passed and I was again alone in my bedroom – a different one – late at night, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life. I think I was 20 years old. I’d been going to church for years and considered myself a Christian, but God was nowhere. I was alone, praying to the ceiling.
Maybe I’d been wrong all along? Maybe there really was no God?
I couldn’t stand it.
No God meant utter despair to me. It meant I was alone in an indifferent universe, and nothing mattered.
I got mad. At God. For being invisible. I told him I was going to believe him whether he wanted me to or not. If he never, ever gave me another reason to believe – tough! – I’d believe anyway.
I had to.
That was the night I learned that faith is a choice.
It’s been over 30 years now, and God has given me lots of evidence. I’ve had many, many, moments of absolute certainty about his existence and his goodness – but not an unbroken string.
I keep having to choose to believe.
He doesn’t make me.