Does God Exist?
That is a question that many people feel lacks a clear and definitive answer. I could argue the question apologetically, philosophically or scientifically and probably present a pretty good case. Instead, I am going address the question personally…
I grew up in San Jose, California, and being from California, I lived the typical California lifestyle. I drove a jeep. I played beach volleyball. I windsurfed and snowboarded, and “dude” was usually heard out of my mouth at least once every ten minutes or so. In my mid twenties, I was the head of a successful design department at a well-established tradeshow display company in Silicon Valley. Life was good, and it was only getting better.
But I felt the pull to leave that company and start a line of Christian clothing, called Contemporary Christian Wear. It wasn’t as prestigious, but it paid the bills and I felt I was doing it for God. I was a leader in my singles group, I had refrained from dating for a while (which for me was a big accomplishment), and I was pretty steadily in church.
In the MIDDLE OF MAY OF 1996, my partner in the clothing company and I were in Los Angeles at a conference, selling our wares. And I got sick. Like really sick, and the cool tiled floor in the hotel bathroom became my resting spot for two days. Around the middle of the second day, I felt like I heard the voice of God, really for the first time with that level of clarity. It was like Bill Cosby’s “Noah” sketch, a voice broke through the silence, dinged, and then said, “David!” I was spiritually alert enough to recognize that this wasn’t just in my head, and so I said, “Yes?” “I got you this sick, because you’re such a shmuck,” the Voice declared, “that you never would have listened to Me if you weren’t in this state.”
“So, are you ready to listen?” the Voice questioned.
I had no idea how to answer, so I believe I said, “speak Lord, for your servant listeneth,” quoting my best I Samuel. “Okay,” the Voice continued, “your whole life is a lie.” That got my attention. “Everything you are doing, you are doing for yourself, the line of clothing, the leadership position and especially not dating, none of it is really for Me.” “And I’m sort of tired of it,” the Voice asserted, “so you have a choice, you can choose the path I have for you, or you can go your own way, but I will not guarantee I will come back like this again.”
Sick as a dog, lying on the floor in that hotel room, I had a decision to make. Thankfully, I made the right choice. And it wasn’t easy, for I had no idea how far my life had been distanced from where God had desired it to be, and how deep self had taken over my will. I began having 15-minute assessments with God, repeatedly asking Him if that past 15 minutes were for him or for me. Eventually, 15 minutes turned into hours, then days, and eventually it became a new lifestyle.
Early in 1998, I was sitting in a hotel in Los Angeles again, no less, when I felt an undeniable and unshakeable desire that I was to move to Nashville, Tennessee. Yeah, everyone in Cali’ thought I was nuts, but I was listening a lot more intently by this point and so three months later I up and packed up my few belongings (I later wrote a country song titled, “My life fits in nine boxes”) and headed to Music City.
When I arrived, I moved into an active apartment complex, set up shop in the spare bedroom (I was trying to write movie scripts at the time, and, yes, I left California to write scripts in Nashville, TN!) with a nice pool view. Since I only knew one person when I arrived in Nashville, I spent a lot of time in that bedroom writing, until my social calendar began to fill. As I wrote, I noticed a beautiful woman that would frequent the complex pool about noon everyday to share the pool with her baby girl. She was quite the distraction from writing, and I found every opportunity to make my way to the adjacent apartment management office while she was resting poolside.
This woman was at the tail end of a bitter divorce, the circumstances of which are too much for this article, but let’s just say, she was over men for a while, and it was well deserved. It’s no wonder that my friendly hellos were met with a charming cynicism. It was months later that I was in pool “surprisingly” at the same time as her on a Saturday, when her daughter swam up to me and said, “Hi, I’m Randi.” “Hi Randi,” I responded back. “And that’s my mommy,” the little girl, just over two years old, said with a smile. “Hi Mommy,” I smiled back at the woman.
I’d like to say that brought us immediately together, but that would not be exactly accurate. Remember, she still felt the sting of her past life, and so it was a slow and gradual friendship that finally led to a relationship. During this process, God was speaking to me about my life, and the things I needed to do to prepare for this “jewel” I believed He had for me. But I was still a young man, I never had been a father, and so her daughter wasn’t front and center in my life. I was simply the man dating her mommy and I sadly treated the relationship as such.
But God knew best. “David,” came the Voice one day, “if you are going to be with this woman, you will have to care for her daughter as much you care for her mother.” It wasn’t easy, but slowly I fell in love with her daughter, just as I fell in love with her mom. I knew with this woman, that if I was to tell her that I love her I had better be darn certain. So I waited until the feelings I felt for both her and her daughter had coalesced.
I remember that day; we were sitting in her small apartment when I first spoke those words. And, to my delight, I heard them reciprocated. I was a euphoric moment. At that exact time, I also heard the Voice come back. “Congratulations, my son,” the Voice said. “Thanks,” I’m sure I thought in my mind. Sitting there, while still hugging each other, God brought me back to that cold wet bathroom floor in Los Angeles. “I told you I had plans,” He said.
That would have been enough.
Then He said, “What year was that moment in the hotel room?” “1996,” I said. “And what month?” “May,” I recollected. “Right,” He said, “but what day?” “It was the middle of May, I not sure exactly what day,” I mused. “I am,” God said; “What’s her daughter’s birth date?”
May 16, 1996.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NASB
Does God exist? I have a life of fifteen years with that woman and her daughter (who I adopted as soon as we were married) that affirms the answer to that question for me.
I was a California boy with no intention of ever leaving California. I was living my own life until that moment in that hotel room. I wouldn’t leave for Nashville for over two years. I wouldn’t know this woman or her daughter until I got to Nashville….
To me, God is real… and He is good.
I hope you have similar stories, and I’d love to hear them. If not, I encourage you to discover this very real God for yourself.