It was 1997. By most measures my life was was on track to be more successful than I’d ever hoped. I had money, investments, a house on the water, kids in private school, good friends, respect from those who sought to pick my brain on flipping properties…All the trappings… All the things that were supposed to make me happy. So long as I occupied myself in the pursuit of these temporal highs, there really was little time to take stock of a life that was, as it turns out, woefully empty. Thankfully, God had made a date to meet me one morning in a way I didn’t believe was possible.
I had dropped the kids off at school. My normally frantic pager and cell phone, usually beeping and ringing from 7am on, was mysteriously silent. I used the welcome quiet to ponder my life so far. I started to think about the successes. How I had everything I’d imagine would make me content…And then it hit me square in the chest. For the first time I heard myself utter these words aloud ” So why am I so desperately unhappy?” And ” there has be more “.. Then finally ” God, if you don’t exist any more than this I’m gonna run this car right off the road”. A bit of an overreaction to say the least, right?
You see, He gave me a gift that morning. I caught a glimpse of the end of my rainbow. And there was no gold. My response to the emptiness I found there was what I can only describe as a panic attack.
What happened next was the defining moment in my life. I expected nothing. After all, God’s silence was something I’d gotten used to. In my self righteous musings I was giving Him one more chance before I completely discount the idea of His existence. Then they appeared. Like a scene from a movie, words formed in front of me. “Bill, there’s nothing you can do to make me love you any more, and there’s nothing you can do make me love you any less”… I was stunned. I don’t even believe in this stuff! All I could come up with was
“GOD”? Battling tears and these semi transparent words still lingering in front of me I made it into a McDonald’s parking lot.
There is not enough space here to give a proper accounting of all that followed that day. The short version is that I was introduced to my Father, to the reality of His constant pursuit of me through the years leading to that point, and that His desire in our encounter was to build an altar. An altar that I can visit for the rest of my days. An altar where I can stand firm, and declare resolutely.. I know that I know that I know.