Joe, thanks for your great writings! I completely understand the conclusions you have purported, and I understand how it is easy to develop a God phenomena out of the mind. But I want to share something with you, that I can't explain, nor, as a script writer, could I ever have made up. It's a little long, so indulge me, and I don't share this very often. When you finish, I'd love to get your thoughts on its viability and, more importantly, its probability:
In 1996, at the age of 26, I started a small Christian clothing line in San Jose, California. In the MIDDLE OF MAY of that year, my partner and I were selling our wares at a music conference down in Los Angeles. Long story short, I got really sick the first night we arrived in LA. I laid on the floor of the bathroom in an illness-induced stupor while my partner sold shirts in the lobby of the hotel.
As I was lying there, face affixed to the cool porcelain toilet seat, I felt like God came to me and said, “I am the reason that you got really sick, because you are such a schmuck you couldn’t hear me in any other state… so, are you ready to listen?” Honestly, I hadn’t heard God very much up until that time, so I said (like an idiot) “Speak Lord, for your servant listeneth” (taking my cue from Samuel in scripture). I felt like God said, “okay… your whole life is a LIE. Everything you
are doing that you claim to be doing for Me is really for yourself. And I’m tired of it. So I’m giving you a choice, you can either come back to me TODAY or you can go your own way, but I’m not guaranteeing I will come back like this again.”
Well, that’s not what I wanted to hear, especially since I was a single’s group leader at my church and an owner of Christian clothing line. But deep down I knew He was right. In that moment, I chose to follow what He said. For the next two years, I re-crafted my life around God's will, instead of my own. It was a slow and painful process because, like God said, I was pretty
arrogant. Then in 1998, nearly two years later, I felt like God said to move to Nashville.
Now I’m a California boy, I drove a Jeep, played beach volleyball, Nashville was the LAST place I would have gone on my own. But I knew, or believed that, God said to go.
When I got to Nashville, it wasn’t long before I noticed a beautiful woman down at the apartment complex’s pool with her very young daughter. After many attempts, and many “chance” encounters down by the pool, she agreed to go out with me. She had recently come off a brutal divorce from a man who... I'll leave it at, wasn't a good guy on many different and sad levels. When I first started dating this beauty, I really focused on this woman and not her daughter.
I felt like God came to me once again and said, “If this relationship is going to be all I’ve designed it to be, you need to be as much in love with her daughter as you are with her.” After that word, I began to cultivate my relationship with her two year old. Eventually I cared for both equally. The day I told this woman that I loved her God brought me immediately back to that
event down in Los Angeles, and said “See I told you I had plans?” “Yes, God, that’s awesome,”
I’m sure I said. That would have been enough. But then I felt like God said, “Oh by the way, WHEN was that I told you I had a plan for you?” I knew in that moment that it was May of 1996 and around the middle of the month, but I couldn’t tell you the exact date, so I shared that back to God. I felt like God said, “Oh, I can… what’s her daughter’s birthdate?”
May 16, 1996.
In the middle of May in 1996, I was lying sick on the bathroom floor in Los Angeles, while over 2,000 hundred miles away, in Nashville Tennessee, that woman was giving birth to her new daughter. I wouldn’t know her or her daughter for over two years, I was living a pretty blissful life in California; I never would have gone to Nashville on my own. I wasn’t even supposed to be in that apartment complex (that’s another God story), but God had orchestrated it all. God didn’t tell me the whole story, but He was making sure I would become a man that was worthy of His jewel, the women who I now call my precious bride, and her beautiful daughter.
After we were married, I adopted her daughter. We have been married now for over 20 years, and we have another daughter in 8th grade…
Do I believe in a REAL God? Absolutely. But He's more than real, He's loving.
Again, I'm not a fan of most typical angry, arogant and misguided Christians, but I can't explain this one, nor hundreds of other realities in my life. I really look forward to your thoughts. Thanks Joe.