“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”1 Kings 19:11-13 (NLT)
Back in July of 2021 I wrote about my breakup with God. This was many years in the making and was no small decision but that is where I was. Saying so scared the hell out of me but there was no other way.
“It’s time to move on,” I wrote, “what could appropriately be labeled as the most influential, life defining and life shaping relationship of my life has come to an end.”
It took a little over a year before I felt comfortable and at peace in this new season of my life. I had some moments of nostalgia along the way and twice tried to muster up some kind of faith I could ground myself in; but those moments rarely lasted more than a day or two. I wrote about one of those moments in April of 2022.
Fast forward a couple of years to July 2023. I headed back to our trailer after my work week to join my wife who had been there all week. The site where we leave our trailer is at Camp des Bouleaux in Grand-Remous, QC. Many of our friends were there that week and on the Friday afternoon I joined them on the beach where we chatted for about an hour. These buddies of mine are outspoken Christians who are grounded in their faith, their love for Jesus and their hope that God is working toward making all things new. Even though I no longer shared these beliefs with them I still continued to appreciate their friendship and being with them.
Later that evening, my wife was going to join a larger group at the main camp fire site. I told her I preferred to stay at the trailer and have a quiet campfire of my own. I was open to people coming to join me but I did not want to be in that larger crowd and their conversations about what God had been doing in their lives. A little while later one of my buddies from the afternoon came to join me and we had a good chat. We exchanged stories regarding where life had lead us up to that point and we chatted about faith. I told him that I was rather indifferent toward it all, that I didn’t think God existed and that the answer to whether or not there is a god seemed irrelevant. Told him I hadn’t been to church in a long time and didn’t really have any interest of going outside of perhaps going once in a while to stay connected with friends.
Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.Matthew 8:2-3 (NLT)
The next morning I woke up and I tossed up a quick thought (or perhaps it was a prayer); “God, if you are there and you want to renew my faith and for me to have faith like my friends, you are going to have to do something pretty amazing because I am so not interested anymore.” Then I got up and went about my morning as I usually do at the trailer. I made my coffee and headed outside to start a nice morning campfire where I would spend the next 2 hours enjoying the morning, sipping on my coffee, reading, watching the birds and squirrels, and listening to the fire crackle.
About 30 minutes in, things got weird. There was no windstorm, no thunder or lightning, no earthquake and no huge devouring fire. I didn’t even hear a whisper. There was simply a moment where my head shot up in surprise as I found myself filled with a renewed faith in God and his project of renewing all things through Jesus. It’s all I could think about. I wasn’t thinking about it in disbelief but rather was filled with excitement and hope. I don’t know what happened. One moment I’m sitting there as described above simply taking things in and the next my whole being felt like it was in hyperdrive with all these thoughts rushing back into my mind with a firm assurance filling my heart and soul. It felt very weird but was also undeniable.
It was not at all what I had in mind when I tossed up my little “prayer” less than one hour earlier. Perhaps it was even more amazing than what I had in mind. Similarly to the leper in Matthew 8, I had sort of asked God if he wanted to restore my faith and he answered with a simple “yes, I do.” And it was done. I don’t have any other way to explain it. Today, one month later, I still feel somewhat shaken and disoriented by that moment.
I’m thankful for the difficult years of deconstructing my faith and the breakup that came out of it. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Now I’m just figuring out where to go from here!
2 years ago I used this blog to be more public about my breakup with God so today I’m using the same means to be public about my restored faith and how God did it. Part of me is worried that you might think I’m a weirdo or that I’ll become like “one of them”. I don’t know what “one of them” means for you so maybe I am and maybe I’m not. You’ll have to ask me.
There you have it. More to come.