In high school, my teacher asserted with a smug grin that humans have hair like apes, and thus we come from apes– or so he told us. I began to doubt whether my relationship with Christ was real. The seed of doubt brooded and grew like a hovering dark cloud for about ten years.
I loved God very much in my youth and was zealous for Him. So I went to Bible College in Peterborough, Ontario, for four years, and then another year after that at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto. Yet, doubts arose off and on during the whole ten years, with increasing intensity. A great dread would sweep over me; A cold sweat.
“Was I wasting my life on a non-existent diety?”
Here I was in Bible College and Seminary, being trained to teach others the faith. Yet, at times I would break out in a cold sweat with this incessant chilling thought, “What if there is no God!” “What if!” “What if!”
This voice of doubt haunted me often.
Waging war in the flesh and defeated
I read a great deal of apologetic material during those years — evidence for Christ. I became an expert in them. But eventually, a pattern emerged. My doubt was external to my own thoughts. No amount of evidence would suffice because “what if?” was a demon, an agent of Satan whispering in my ear.
Yes, “evidence for God” took me back a few steps from that tree, but it never got to the root of the problem. And thank God I never actually ate its fruit, (Gen. 2).
But how do you rebuke a demon that you are not sure is really there?
And so that battle continued.
After Seminary and marriage, in my self-righteous zeal, I helped form an evangelical church that thought itself better than all others. I will tell that story another day.
Unfortunately, our church degenerated quickly into a controlling church that separated my wife and me. It got very dark. It was my personal “Great Tribulation.” And my “Armageddon” came when all enemies converged to destroy me:
- My doubts.
- The depressing warm winter weather. (As said in the previous post, weather has always been huge in my life.)
- My months-long separation from my wife.
But at the darkest time of the year, the light shone. Victory came in two stages.
“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown,” Rev. 2:10
I read a poem by a persecuted Christian. He wasted away in a Romanian prison camp for years. It read to the effect that “O’ God, even if you are not real, my love for you will make it real.” (Not very appealing intellectually, I know, but powerful before God who is quite sure of His own existence!)
Hence, I sacrificed my mind to God.
This robbed the demon of its power but honored God, a pleasing sacrifice.
The truth is that we must all decide whether to give our mind to the Beast or the Lamb — it’s a moral choice and has little to do with the intellect (Rev. 13-14). There are no other options. You fool yourself if you think you serve just yourself.
He gave me a new name and a new song
The second and final victory point over doubt came after devoting seven days to seek God about this matter, Dec. 18-25, 1988. It was the darkest time of the year and soul.
Alone at the time, separated from my wife, sleeping at the church, the Lord spoke in a dream on that gloomy Christmas morning.
I heard one angel (or was it the Lord?) proclaim to another in a voice like thunder and with authority that I have never heard before or since:
“His name is … … … …”
And so the Lord pronounced a new name — one that I will not fully disclose publically, but it’s the name of one “running” and “leaping” past all obstacles — the name of an overcomer.
And so I awoke from the dream, and there beside me was a tape recorder. I pressed play. The recording was that of a new song that the leader of the church had just written. I listened to the song on the tape, never before heard.
“It’s not every time you pray that an answer always comes. But in the Lord’s time, you’ll get the victory and the battle will be won. All our yokes will be broken and deliverance will come. Not by your might, nor by your power, but by obedience, trust, and love.
(Chorus) “My grace is all-sufficient. My strength is made perfectly. My child lean not to your understanding, but wholly trust in me. My grace is all-sufficient and my strength is made perfectly. My child just stay in prayer and I will be with thee.”
A new walk
From that day forward, I entered a new reality. Signs and wonders became common and as normal as taking a walk. (I will recount these many signs in forthcoming posts in this series.)
A new battle
Once the devil saw that the battle for my soul was lost, then, about a month later, another spirit returned with a new message: “Yes, there is a God. And He has given you over to delusion and hell!”
This whispering spirit attacks me to this day. But God’s “grace is sufficient.”
“He that overcometh will I give…”
God rewards the overcomer.
- In place of apologetics based upon human wisdom, God ordained a constant stream of signs and wonders and mathematical evidence beyond my wildest dreams.
- Instead of defeat by gloomy weather, God commissioned me to predict the weather and command it.
- And God restored my family.