I was born to Christian parents and I was raised by memorizing Bible verses and being taken to church three times a week. If anyone should have been a Christian by default, it was me. I was homeschooled through a Christian curriculum, and we had meetings with other Christian families quite often.
I was also a people-pleaser, and I knew that my parents wanted me to be a Christian, like them, more than anything, so I did what I could to make them happy and I said the “prayer of salvation” when I was five years old. I thought that was enough. Even as I grew up and matured, I continually ignored any misgivings I might have had about the state of my soul. I dismissed them as an “attack from Satan,” as my pastor would have called it. Eventually, however, these doubts became strong enough that I realized I could no longer ignore them. Then I realized I didn’t care.
What difference did it make if I was really a Christian or not? The only difference between all the Christians I knew and the rest of the world was a set of unnecessary rules, which included the phrase I hated the most – “honor your father and mother…” I heard that more times than I could count growing up, and I had no desire to become just another person that could spout off phrases and rules just to get what I wanted. So when I was thirteen, I turned my back on all of it, and spent my time worrying about what I thought were more important things, most of which were whatever made me happy at the time.
Then, when I was well on my way to being an atheist, my entire world slowly imploded. I began developing nearly unbearable stomach pains that started reaching across my entire body. After two months, it only kept getting worse until I couldn’t stand the thought of eating anymore. During that summer of my freshman year of high school, I dropped from 185 lbs. to 110 lbs. in three weeks. After being taken into the emergency room, I was eventually transferred to a specialist in another city. This specialist then told me that he had no idea what the problem was, so he inserted a feeding tube that bypassed my stomach simply to let me last another week or two. By this point, whatever faith I might have ever had in God completely dissolved.
After returning home from this ordeal with a feeding tube and a backpack pump that made me feel like Darth Vader, I basically gave up on life. However, the doctor’s office called us a few days later because they had found a specialist in Kansas City who had seen this kind of problem before. As what I would later realize was God’s providence would have it, one of only six doctors in the entire world who knew what my problem was happened to be only five hours away from my house. Within hours, he diagnosed me with nerve damage in my stomach and within days he had worked with me to the point that I could finally eat again.
Riding home from the hospital, we stopped at Taco Bell to have my first real food in months. As I was sitting there eating my quesadilla, I had this thought come into my head as clearly as if I had said it out loud. “Something like this doesn’t happen by chance. There’s a plan – a design,” is what I heard. I’m not saying I literally heard God’s voice or that I felt a certain feeling that changed me. I just knew it was the first clear, logical thought I had considered since I had decided to stop believing in God altogether.
As I continued the recovery and healing process, it became more and more apparent that God was real. I later found out that if I had gone to Kansas City two days later, I would be dead. At that point, I knew without a doubt that God had designed all of this for a purpose, and He had taken care of everything from the very beginning.
I am a Christian because I’ve seen God work with my own eyes and my own body. It’s the most real thing I have ever experienced.