Just recently. I truly went through a period of days and months doubting, thinking and wondering if God is really real. I never stopped going to church. After all going to church, for me, is just like getting up daily and going to my Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 - it's a ritual, a routine. So not going to church would be like quitting my full-time gig. In addition to that not going to fellowship would be like cutting out a big piece of what I do.
BUT going to church and believing that God is real are two different things.
I don't know what happened, what words were spoken to me, what I had watched on TV... Perhaps while I was in bible study someone asked a question and the answer offered didn't have any weight to it. Maybe it was while reading the paper or witnessing evil shadowing this world. The "God Seed" was planted in me by my mother long ago... I do not remember a time in my life when I did not believe yet somehow my faith was breached.
I am known to overthink. I mean I pensively rip things a-part. You can't just tell me to believe and I do. I cannot just have faith. Not me. I need some proof, intangible proof, in order to believe.
And believe in what exactly... Cosmology? Religion?
I did not stop praying. I did not stop studying. I didn't give up or throw up my hands but those actions can be considered habits and not true acts of faith. So I asked God if He was real, prove it to me. Give me a sign that You are out there, You hear me, and You've got all sides of me.
This past week two events happened to me. I asked God for proof of His existence and he gave me two. One sign nearly made me piss my pants, literally. I won't go into detail about it but I will say it was one of those "that could have been me" incidents. I suppose I needed that. That jolt, that shock, that fear that stunning experience where the words "God! Help! Me!" naturally fell out of my mouth. The other event was something mild and sweet, something where if I blinked I would not have noticed. If God didn't already astound me, He would not have been able to wow me - which is what He did. I would have taken this second experience for granted.
Is God really real? I am sure we've all asked that question. And truthfully, unless we simply believe and have faith - unless we see a sign or have a Daniel, Jonah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego experience - perhaps we'll just have to live out this life until we close our eyes and wake up some other side to shall receive our answers.
As for me I do not believe in coincidence and I don't think that those two experiences were unrelated events. I believe God is real. He proved His God Self to me and I realized that I had taken God for granted.
I know that rainbows after heavy rainstorms are God's sign that he's keeping His promise to us. I saw two of them last month but still I doubted God's reality. I've seen prayers answered and breakthroughs happen and still I wondered if God was just a label for all unexplained happenings. God saw that my faith needed to be shocked and stirred to the point where when I think about what could have happened to me my heartbeat increases and when I think about what He did for me a fullness fills my heart.