Living Without God for a Year

I recently read this story about a man who attempted to live one whole year without God. The title, “A Year Without God,” certainly caught my attention, and I had several initial thoughts before I ever read a word.

Did the author mean that he tried to actively disobey God for a year? Had his faith been wavering and he wanted to explore alternatives to the Christian life? Was he exposed to lies that pulled him away from the truth? Did he really think it was possible to live beyond God’s reach? Would he eventually repent and turn back to his heavenly Father? Or would he discover new friends and temptations that dragged him farther away than he could ever have imagined?

I also had other questions, the kind that came from deep within my soul. For example: Does this man not realize that his very existence is due to the will and pleasure of God? He must have been following an awfully small God to even think this was worth a try, and I pray I am never foolish enough to follow his example. But what about my kids? How can I prevent them from making this kind of mistake in their lives?

Sure, knowledge about God is important. Beyond deciding whether or not we believe that God exists, there are plenty of important issues such as what it means for God to be eternal, holy, unchanging, all-powerful, and all-knowing. It turns out the author of the article was a pastor. He grew up in a church and went to seminary, so he knew plenty. But isn’t it possible for smart people with academic knowledge to walk away from God? It’s sad but all too true.

What about experience? Does a person have to see a real-life miracle, feel something deeply with stronger-than-normal emotions, or have a firsthand, unexplainable experience that removes any possibility of doubt? Will an indelible memory of God’s power and faithfulness protect one from the lure of sin and worldliness?

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus pointed to Deuteronomy 6, saying that the most important commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Why is this so important? The more you love God, the more you will want to know Him. And the more you know Him, the bigger He will grow in your eyes. Our faith will only be as big as the God we serve.

Are you serving a small God? Is He a God of convenience, guilt, or tradition? Are you crazy in love with Him, or is He more of an acquaintance? If I asked your kids, what would they say? Now that’s a sobering thought. What kind of a God are you presenting to you kids? Are your kids convinced by your actions that you even believe in God? Do they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love Him and are in awe of Him?

Some of the worst times in my life have been when I felt far away from God. I wasn’t trying to live without Him. As a matter of fact, during those times I was troubled by the fact that I didn’t feel closer to Him. I desperately wanted to get out of my funk and back to a place of intimacy in my faith walk and mindset. I can’t imagine ever intentionally cutting myself off from God.

Scripture says that God will never leave you or forsake you. If He’s not leaving me, then I’m not about to try and leave Him. The fool says in his heart that there is no God. It seems just as disastrous for someone to try and live without God or to live as though He isn’t present everywhere.

When I was young, I was taught to think and act as though God was always in the room with me. The point of this instruction was to teach me what it means that God is omnipresent. I’m glad that the Holy Spirit brings this lesson back to mind when I find myself alone. I want to please my God and Savior whether or not anyone else is watching. As we’ve all heard, it is in the secret places that one’s true character is determined.

God is good. He is good to me, and He is good for me. There are myriad material objects, foods, discussions, or practices that would be good for me to live without for a year or longer. If I’m going to remove something from my life, I’d rather choose from this list. But a year without God? I’m not interested.

The man who made this decision to try and live without God for a year said this experiment felt a little risky but that his desire was to pursue truth in both serious and playful ways. The truth will still set this man free, as it will for any of us. I pray that he will run back home to the Father. God is waiting, just like the father in Luke 15 who gladly welcomed his prodigal son back to the family with open arms.

So what do you think? Was this person foolish, playful, serious, or cutting edge? What does his experiment cause you to contemplate when it comes to ideas about God or your current relationship with Him?

Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!


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© 2015 Davis Carman

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