Because here's the thing: I've always had a hard time with it. I can remember being fifteen, sixteen, seventeen and sitting on my bedroom floor completely distraught because even though I knew God was real, there was no way he could not be, there was that what if that kept creeping up. I wanted more than anything to just believe in God, to not have to worry about not believing, but I couldn't. And it would happen all the time, just out of nowhere sometimes. Not so much a thought like 'God isn't real,' but more like 'what if he isn't?' and 'how could he be?'
I'm going to be real here, and I don't usually like to talk about this just because I feel like it's really undermining--in part to how other people see me, although I know that's silly in some ways, but also to how I feel as a Christian. And let's just say right now that this would all probably be a lot easier if I understood grace, but most of the time I don't think I do, because even though I know what it is, I still work in the fear that I'm going to screw up one too many times and God will just get tired of me. What I mean is that I get afraid of talking about this doubt because what if it means I'm not good enough? And of course I'm not, but it's not about that.
I was walking to my car fifteen minutes ago to leave for my lunch break, and I was thinking about how nice it felt, how beautiful a day it's turned out to be, and then there it was. It just crept up in there. Like, what if this is it? What if this is the best in life, feelings like this, and we would just live until we didn't anymore and that would be it? If life, going to work and school and even the good things like being with people, if that's it and it just ends and there's nothing else--what's the point? What should it matter what I do if what I see is all there is, if everything is finite? If we're just on this rock that spins around a star and for eighty years out of a billion, if I'm around for eight millionth of all time on this planet that's so small and in all of space it's like the corner pocket, tucked away and most everything there ever is will pass by without us ever having touched it. If all that's true and that's all there is, none of this matters. It will all be done and what's a book or monument or even one person's memory in whole universe?
In high school, when I had so much trouble believing, it used to be two things. First, there was the certainty of God. He was irrefutable, something in me couldn't not believe. It was always that--he couldn't not be real. But then I would get to thinking, and that's not even the right word, but these thoughts would hit me, all these what ifs. And now, if I think about, even if I can't make it make sense or make the doubts disappear entirely, I realize at the same time how absurd it is to think definitively that God isn't real. How could all of this mean nothing? Now I'm not trying to say that it's not important to love people and serve them and do things that are meaningful, but I am saying that without anything for that to lead to, without an eternity, you could sweep away all of it and there would be no difference.
I know, somewhere in me, that I everything I see points to God. And still, every so often, I think thoughts like those and I wish I could stop it, I wish that I had perfect faith. I imagine God looks at me like Peter, saying Simon, Simon. Sara, Sara. Oh faithless child. But then, even after I wander away again and again, there he is welcoming me back and he won't ever stop. The thing is, even if there were no God, I can think of nothing better to live for. If I based my life on my writing, if I lived for that, if I lived for family, for people I love, for the way it feels to be in the sun on a cool day--all of that passes, and in the end, even though those things are important to me, everything else besides God feels empty. Even if in the end it all turns out to be made up, I can't imagine living for anything else, because anything else just feels like nothing compared to the richness and purpose of living for Christ. And if I'm wrong, what will I have lost?
C. S. Lewis (or Puddleglum, the Marshwiggle) says it so much better than I do:
"One word, Ma'am," he said, coming from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things--trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's just a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you are right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentleman and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."
--The Silver Chair