What If This Isn’t Real?

“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree ~ Jeremiah 29:13-14 The Message

jacob and ross
My history buff son, Jacob (r), with his friend Ross in their third grade Civil War play

The other night my son, Jacob, and I were watching History channel’s documentary The Men Who Built America Part 2. We are both fascinated with history and were engrossed in the story of Andrew Carnegie. His rise to fortune was brought about through major technological innovations that made steel suitable for manufacturing structural beams. He is also credited with implementing new mass-production solutions in the steel industry. Because of this, in 1873 Carnegie was able to oversee construction of the longest bridge ever built, just over a mile long. It spanned the mighty Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, and connected the East and West like never before.

Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
( Andrew Carnegie Image Collection)

There was, however, one big problem. At that time, one in four bridges built failed. Therefore, no one wanted to test its integrity by crossing it. Because Carnegie had invested everything in this venture, he needed to do something that would bolster people’s faith in his ‘magnificent’ structure. He remembered a popular myth of the day that elephants wouldn’t cross unstable structures, so he arranged to have one walk across it on opening day.

Elephant walking across bridge
Photo – April Smith’s Classroom


It worked. Steel orders from across the country flooded in.

This story reminds me of a time when I doubted my faith in God. As a busy wife and mother in my early thirties, teaching Sunday School and being involved in numerous other church activities, I was exhausted. Doubts increasingly began to creep into my mind.

As I sat in my car one evening after returning home from yet another church meeting, questions started whirling around in my head. What if this isn’t real? What if there is no God and I’ve been wasting all of my time for nothing? Why on earth should I believe God is real and that Jesus’ story isn’t something a crazy person just made up?

Despair overwhelmed me as I thought about the possible futility of my faith. I couldn’t keep following and serving a God I wasn’t 100% sure existed. I didn’t want my beliefs to be built on something that fell apart under the weight of my unbelief. So I prayed out loud and gave all of my questions to Him, ending my prayer with a request.

“God, if you really exist and everything I’ve built my faith on is true, prove it. Reveal yourself to me in ways that could only be you. I’ll be watching. Amen”

The Eads Bridge
The Eads Bridge, the longest bridge ever built at that time, under construction – Wikipedia

One of my biggest regrets is not writing down all of the things God did to make Himself known to me over the next period of weeks. I only remember repeatedly being shown His omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience, and my faith was restored. When I doubted the bridge of faith that brought me to Christ, God proved it was strong enough to walk across.

God is big enough—big enough for my questions, big enough for my doubts and big enough to handle it all. So often we think it’s wrong to question God. Those questions, however, can lead us to a stronger faith.

I know for certain I was saved at the time I questioned God. But I wanted to experience Him in more tangible ways. I wanted to know that I’d built my faith and hope on a God who was real and true. Because I was brave enough to ask, God was gracious enough to answer. One of His greatest joys is revealing Himself after we’ve asked for His presence to be made known in our lives.

Lee Strobel was an intellect and an atheist who set out to prove the Christian faith was a myth. Instead, he became one of its strongest supporters. He wrote the well-known book, The Case for Faith, because he wanted to share his findings with other non-believers and doubters.

The Case for Faith
The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel


C.S. Lewis, author of the popular Narnia series, tried to disprove Christianity as well. Even though he grew up in the faith, he fell away in later years. Like Strobel, he also unsuccessfully rebuffed Christianity and became one of the most popular Christian authors ever, using much symbolism about the strength and love of our God and Savior. The book, Surprised by Joy, was his response to discovering the truth about God and His character.

Surprised by Joy
Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis

If you’re questioning your faith today, don’t let it stop you from asking God to reveal Himself to you. He’s big enough to handle all of our questions and doubts. He is, after all, the God of the universe and Creator of all things good. That qualifies Him to handle anything we can throw at Him. Let Him be the elephant that walks across the bridge to build your faith.

Eads Bridge
The Eads Bridge today – Wikipedia

How has God revealed Himself to you during a crisis of faith? I’d love to hear your story.

3 thoughts on “What If This Isn’t Real?”

Comments are closed.