Questions about God
“Where God comes from? Since He created the heavens and the earth, where was He before all that?” These were questions I asked my aunt as a child. They reflected my stance regarding the person of God.
My aunt told me she had no answer to my questions but that they would be the perfect ones to ask God when I got to heaven. I wasn’t satisfied with that answer, but I let it slide.
You see, I knew a lot about the bible at a very young age, I was active in church, sang in children’s choir, partook in several Bible quiz competitions. The problem was I had not encountered the God of the bible and this left me wondering of His realness. I was very close to my Aunt who stayed with us at the time, and it was she I turned to for answers.
There was another time, we were in the kitchen, and she mistakenly poured a little hot water on my hand. As I gasped in surprise and pain, she only smiled and said, “Hellfire would be so much hotter than that, and that’s why you need to get to heaven.”
My fear of hellfire began
I remembered vividly another incident where ants were inside a pot of food. She put the pot on the hot plate to get the ants out. And as the pot got hotter, I watched how the ants scampered out of the pot only to fall into the bright red element of the hot plate. She used that scenario to again point out my need for salvation to escape hell. And that was how my fear of hellfire was born…even though I still did not know who God was.
It didn’t help matters that in the children’s church this same hell issue was being repeatedly reiterated. My teachers would say, “if you lie, you would go to hellfire. If you abused you would go to hell,” and so on.
I became so afraid of hellfire that I was always confessing sins just in case there was any sin that could prevent me from getting to heaven.
During my teenage years, I left the choir and I stopped being actively engaged in church activities. This exposed my disconnect from God. The questions came again, but this time they were deeper.
My aunt was married, so there was nobody I could ask. I began to really question the existence of this God, although I never vocally expressed my thoughts… I was afraid of what would happen if I did, especially considering the faith of my parents.
I became tired of the charade of pretending to believe in a God I wasn’t sure even existed. Since I couldn’t abruptly stop going to church for fear of my parents’ reaction, I simply went to church to sleep. I would start sleeping almost from the time I entered Church until the end of the sermon of the day; and on days when I managed to be awake, my mind would simply not be in church. This habit stayed with me for a very long time.
My real plan was to discard this ‘God thing’ once I got into the university but God didn’t wait that long to reach out.
My first glimpse of God’s Love
One Sunday after church, the teenagers in the church were each given a form to fill. As it’s usual with such forms, one of the things we were asked was if we were born again. I ticked No; I was tired of pretending, of deceiving myself and everybody else.
My youth leader came to visit with me the following week in reaction to my response I’d say. After the usual small talk, she asked a simple question, “do you even believe God exists?”
I was shocked to my marrows. When I got over my shock, I asked how she knew God existed. We had a long talk that day that made a lot of sense. But one thing stood out and most probably convinced me about the existence of God, and it was that simple question she asked. I never expected anyone to ask me such a question if God had not revealed my innermost struggle to them. Why? I was the perfect child on the outside, the one who ‘knew a lot of Bible.’
This proved the probable existence of God and the fact that He knew the secret thoughts of my heart.
A while after she left that night, I knelt beside my bed and I prayed. That was something I had not done in a long time. I received Jesus that night in prayers, and when I did, I felt the presence of God in my room, and deep in my spirit, I knew that God was not a myth. I cannot logically explain how this was, I just knew with some deep sense of knowing that He was (and is) real.
I got admitted into university the following year. Struggled for a while to be assured of my salvation. I had a standard of what being saved was and it centered more on my works and outward appearances than it did on God’s grace and my faith in what Christ had done for me in His death and resurrection.
I was falling short of my standards, was struggling to please God by my works, and whenever I failed I felt guilty, confessed my sins, tried to ‘feel’ forgiven and continue to please Him, still by my strength. It was tiring.
Maybe I wasn’t predestined for heaven
After going through this Cycle a few times, I gave up. I thought I was just not predestined to make it to heaven. Then I used to wish God created me to be anything but a human being, that way I wouldn’t have to deal with the question of heaven and hell. This continued until my fourth year in the university, and again I found strength.
It came through a UJCM programme I attended. It was one of the few times I honored the invitation to go to a program organized by UJCM; I rarely went for any programs outside my denomination. Yes, I was that type of person. The guest speaker still spoke with a theme that still somehow centered on the need to escape hell, referencing Lot’s escape from the destruction that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah.
I surrendered again to Jesus and asked him to help me be the person he wanted me to be, and he did. I then made the mistake of assuming that since I was now safe from hell, I had no business pursuing God again. I went through the motions of praying, reading my bible, going to church because I felt it was expected of me. It was not done out of the love of God or the need to know him, I still somehow lived with the fear of missing heaven.
A prisoner of religion
I didn’t know God and I felt no real need to know him. I always looked at some of my friends that go the extra mile seeking for God as overzealous people. For me as far as God could help me live above sin by his grace and am assured of heaven, I was fine. I guess I lacked understanding, I failed to understand what kind of life I had been called to live.
As a rule, I never read Christian books or listened to sermons from other preachers outside my denomination. My close friends knew I had an unspoken rule; you don’t discuss deep spiritual things with me. Anything that didn’t correlate with what I believed was wrong as far as I was concerned. I was stubborn and close-minded, a willing prisoner of religion.
But God never leaves us and again He came through (Hebrews 13:5), all it took was a broken relationship, a cry for help, a change in the minister at my local church, a book (The Man God Uses), random Christian blogs by strangers and here I am, joyful, seeking, loving God. I overcame depression and thoughts of suicide up until my dad even said that I’d become so joyful. Even I knew it was true.
I Used To Wish God Created Me To Be Anything But A Human Being – Alice
Photo by Nicholas Githiri from Pexels
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