Over the past 2 years, I've had probably a half-dozen instances where I woke up in the middle of the night with this fear that God didn't exist, or if he did, he certainly could care less about me. The very first time it happened was during a particularly difficult time and it was a borderline panic attack as a jumble of thoughts bounced around my head. "Maybe God doesn't exist", "You are all alone, no one can help you.", "When you die all this will be meaningless, you wont even know that you ever existed, dieing now or in 30 years won't make any difference".
None of the episodes that followed were nearly as severe as that one and I believe a major reason for that is due to God revealing to me that my life lived in him is not to be lived out Religiously, but Relationally -- even the phrase 'relationship with Christ' that I often used (religiously) has taken on a new meaning. Still I have had a couple of recurrences. Even though they are pretty minor these days, I've started wondering what that is all about. I've prayed about it, and I've asked a couple of trusted friends what they thought, and all of them have helped me to think about what is going on. Even though the details of what my friends have suggested have been different, a general consensus is that God is working out something deep within me and I'm beginning to think that the issue is something that happened in my childhood. Something unresolved that has been buried in my subconscious for quite some time and has kept me from trusting Father.
I hesitate to give details of my childhood because someone might get the idea that my life as a child was all hell all the time, but it wasn't. I do have some wonderful memories of my childhood and of my family. But there was abuse in our home, and there is no way to sugar coat that reality. There is what you could call a defining moment in my memory that I still remember vividly to this day. I'll spare you the details, but after I had received a particularly severe punishment, I was crying out to God. I begged him to take me out of the family that I was in because I couldn't take it anymore. I was desperate, and in pain, and probably in need of medical care. I even gave God an ultimatum, "Please take me out of this family, or I won't believe in you any more." My prayer was met with silence, God didn't take me away to live with another family and, at 11 years old, I learned that I was on my own that day.
I think that if I'm brutally honest with myself, to this day, I don't ask God to do anything difficult out of fear of disappointment. Somewhere deep down, I don't think he would do (fill in the blank) for me. Who am I after all, just one of 6 billion on this planet.
I know that there aren't too many that read this blog, but if you've ever had to deal with anything like this, please drop me a line. Let me know how God worked it out with you. As for me and God, we are going to have a weekend alone soon and, just maybe, like Mack and his encounter at The Shack, I'll come away changed.