By the time I started university I was pretty arrogant. I studied Mathematics and Science, including Evolution. I could see how it all fitted together.
I remember one day sitting around with some fellow Science students and someone mentioned “god”… “You don’t believe there’s a god do you?”
“Nope”, shaking my head dismissively.
(But inside my head I was thinking, “I hope he doesn’t kill me for saying that.”)
That thought really disturbed me, because logically I really didn’t think there was a god… but somehow I felt inside me that there was.
A few years later I studied Philosophy. Part of that was “The Existence of God”, and I was looking forward to hearing some high powered arguments to prove that there is in fact no god.
I read many articles and papers, but was always left disappointed, feeling like, “is that the best argument we have?”
Then for my assignment I had to contrast with “the other side”… so I had to read a few of those too. I read a paper by William Paley which had a couple of arguments that made sense to me. One of them, about a man who found a watch in a place he knew for sure nobody had ever been. While we accept it when Science tells us that evolution, “just happened”, we would never accept that this watch, “just happened”. A watch is a complex thing, it is clearly designed, it has clearly been deliberately constructed. Somebody made it.
And yet, a tree is so much more complex than a watch.
So why do we accept that a tree, “just happened”, it just evolved, but even though we never met the designer, we know a watch was designed?
I realised that there is a god.
I didn’t know his name, I didn’t know where to find him. But I knew he was there somewhere. I didn’t go to church, I didn’t read the Bible.
But I started talking to him.
Mostly just thankful prayers when things went right.
The city I lived in at the time gets a fair amount of rain. And I used to go everywhere by bicycle. So I was used to riding in the rain.
But after this, I started to notice that I never seemed to get wet. Even if it was raining as I set out, the rain always seemed to stop almost immediately. And if it looked foreboding, and was about to rain, somehow I seemed to get where I was going before it started.
To be honest this freaked me out quite a bit. I felt that it was from God, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what he wanted from me.
After that life went on for a couple of years. I experimented with the rain a bit, to the point that unless I was bushwalking I would confidently walk out into the rain with no umbrella or coat, knowing that it would stop and I would arrive dry.
Then I screwed up. I did something I’m pretty sure God wouldn’t be happy about. I know for sure most of my friends weren’t happy about it… they all abandoned me. To the point that they would literally cross the road to avoid me.
One friend didn’t abandon me. She told me she thought I had done the wrong thing, but she offered me a room in their family house until I got myself sorted.
She gave me a Bible. (Even though she thought I was already a Christian. Actually so did I! Because I believed there was a god I thought I was a Christian.) And she invited me to go to church with her. I had never been to church, I had just talked with God.
After a couple of months I had made a few new friends, and started going with them to study the Bible with an old Bible teacher on Saturday evenings. I had been reading it a bit, but it seemed pretty boring… just old history stuff.
But this guy explained the Bible in a way I had never thought of. But he helped me see that it was powerful. He showed me Yeshua in the Old Testament! He showed me that the passover, 1500 years before Yeshua was born, was about him! He showed me that details of his death were foretold more than a thousand years before…
There was something about this book that was different to other books.
I started reading the Bible I’d been given. I started reading it a lot. It started touching my heart.
A couple of months later it was Sunday. I’d been going to church every week with my new friends. But this weekend they were all away on some church camp, so I was thinking of not going…
As I was cooking my dinner it was also raining heavily, and nobody was around to pick me up and take me… I remember thinking about that mile or so walk to church, and thinking I just wouldn’t go that week.
I looked at the clock, and decided I didn’t really have time to eat and still get there… but I was quite hungry, so I said, “If I finish dinner in time - I’ll go, otherwise I’ll take a night off.”
I finished dinner and still had plenty of time! So I changed my plan, “If I finish washing the dishes in time, I’ll go, otherwise I’ll take a night off.” It was still raining hard.
I washed up so slowly, very thoroughly cleaning every plate, I was sure it was too late. But when I finished I was really surprised that I still had 15 minutes to get to church.
“Oh, but the rain… “ It’s a fair walk.
But then I remembered my history with rain over the previous two years.
I actually laughed to myself, and said, “OK, I’ll go. The rain will stop.”
I headed out the front door in really heavy rain. No coat, no umbrella. And before I took the 20 steps to the gate, the rain had stopped.
I walked down to church smiling and laughing to myself all the way.
15 minutes later, the minute I stepped inside the church the rain started again. It hammered down. Worse than before.
Church was fairly empty with everyone away.
I sat near the front by myself.
As church started I looked up and saw the communion bread and wine on the table.
I had never taken them. I was never sure if I was allowed. But just that week I had asked one of my Christian friends and they said I could. But in that instant when I saw them, I understood what they were about. I realised that “I belong to Yeshua.”
I sat there by myself for the whole church service, tears of joy streaming down my face. I have no idea what the sermon was about. I don’t remember any of the music. I don’t recall talking with anyone.
I walked home by myself.