You can, I did.
So I was raised Christian only in the sense that Jesus and God were about as important as Santa. I remember as a child, once I figured out Santa wasn’t real, beginning to question if God was a big lie made up by adults as well. By the time I reached adolescence I realized I had no real reason to believe in God and began identifying as an atheist-I believed in no gods. I pondered the subject greatly and decided that it made much more sense that all religions were wrong rather than one being right, that there was no hard evidence for God, and that everything in the Bible sounded like absolute nonsense-especially in light of my education in the sciences.
The thing is that I understood that nothing could possibly matter but the answer to the question, “Do I have a purpose?” and I never stopped seeking if there was an answer. Nothing else was worth seeking so I never stopped thinking about that very subject. All the conclusions I had came to, everything I saw pointed to religion being utter nonsense, the religious being the foolish and the uneducated, and that all of life and existence was some random accident that just happened to occur and would be over as soon as it started.
I never questioned that stance until the day I had a good friend talk to me. He didn’t have incredible thought provoking statements, he didn’t have nearly any answers, but he had faith. I was mocking this man to the face for the beliefs he held dearest and he was brushing aside my rudeness as if it were leaves in his path. His message was clear-it was that he knew that there was a God and that He was Jesus Christ. He confessed himself that he didn’t have all the answers but he knew religious leaders I could talk to that did. He was sure. I laughed off the entire conversation at that moment but I distinctly remember in the moments before I fell asleep that night asking myself, “Could I have been wrong all this time?”
It was the first time I was no longer 100% sure there was no God and it opened a new chapter in my life. I had spent years finding every single reason to not believe in God but had never taken the time to consider that there might actually be reasons to think that He exists, and I began to see them. The fact that the theme of human existence is the struggle between good and evil point directly towards Him. Without God defining good and evil all of our struggles, all of our dreams, all of our desires, all of our love-all of it was just a bunch of complex chemical reactions. Everything I knew told me that all that we experience and live is real, it’s tangible. I was living it. Not only this but I realized that this universe was made so that life-the only thing that could give existence meaning and purpose-could and would occur. Whatever caused this universe to happen made it so that it could and would have purpose. That demands sentience. That demands God.
These thoughts continued for a month until I realized one day that it was true. It was all true, there was a God and His love for us was so evident. The love of a God that put breath in our lungs, the love of a God that lets the sun shine on our backs, the love of a God that lets us look into our loved one’s eyes is the same God that multitudes had claimed to have witnessed to walk this earth in the flesh and lay down His life to save us. Everything became so clear in that moment.
That night was the most incredible night of my life as I fell on my knees in repentance of my sins, willing to follow Jesus as my Lord. I received the Holy Spirit and was born a new man-a new man who put all of his sin behind him in that moment. I went to all those in my life-all those I had instilled my brand of atheism into-and professed to them that I was wrong and that they needed to repent as well. I had found myself in the midst of a group that was getting more heavily involved in crime to fuel our drug usage. I was laughed to scorn and quickly found myself living my days alone.
It’s been quite a few years since that day and I now find myself in a thriving church community that is living in obedience to Jesus and I couldn’t even begin to explain to you the joy and mirth of knowing your Creator, of knowing your purpose, and of knowing your family that you will go to spend eternity with. This world is just the beginning-the beginning that only those who are willing to repent of their sin and obey God will find eternal paradise to be their end. If I hadn’t found Jesus I know I would have been found guilty at the judgment of my sin and justly been condemned to an eternal hell for what I had done. My Creator loved me enough to give me a second chance, loved me enough to seek me and show me His love, loved me enough to walk the earth in the flesh and die at the hands of His own creation so that He could pour out His blood as payment for what I had done. He rose from the dead to the witness of hundreds and has given His Spirit to countless thousands so that we could know that this was the truth.