How Do I Know God Even Exists?
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9
Throughout my life, I’ve had a couple of questions that have made me doubt God’s existence. Philosophically, the problem of pain and suffering in the world has always bothered me, but my greatest crisis of faith has been much more personal – stemming from my addiction. In my addiction, I turned to God, asking him to take away my self-destructive appetite (how could that not be an appropriate prayer?) but he didn’t. When my life absolutely came apart due to my addiction, I questioned God’s existence. If you’re even there, you don’t seem too concerned about me!
I’d always believed in the existence of God, but at that point, I couldn’t feel him. For me to truly place my faith in something, I must experience it. I need to feel it. So, I took what I felt was a pretty low risk gamble at that point. My life was already a total disaster. I began making a genuine effort to abandon my way for what I understood to be God’s way. It was only in doing so, that I began to genuinely experience God. I began to feel and know him in a very real relationship that profoundly changed my life. That’s how I know God is real – because I’ve experienced the reality of being saved from myself.
The problem for many of us of course, is that we have no such experience. We’ve never tangibly felt God, so we feel we can’t really place our faith in him or follow him. To experience him though, we must place our faith in him and follow him. You see the conundrum.
God rewards those who seek him (James 4:8). If we truly want to know if God exists, we must genuinely pursue him. He will reveal himself if we do so honestly. Unfortunately, most of us simply try to test God. If you’re there God, give me a million dollars. That isn’t seeking God. It’s simply attempting to use him. It’s a dangerous prayer, but if we really want to know God, we must go to him, asking him to make himself real in our lives so that we may experience his transforming power. The problem of course, is that often, we just don’t want him to be real because we don’t want to change our lives or follow him. To truly know God, is to be profoundly transformed by him as we’re saved from ourselves.