COMMUNION, ATHEISM, AND TRAUMA
People are amazed to know I used to be an atheist because of the way I am now. Basically, I was an atheist until I was just about 22-years-old, and I’m not quite 30 yet. Though raised Catholic, I didn’t understand the material, and so, naturally, I didn’t believe any of it in my heart. In fact, I remember kind of mocking the receiving of the Eucharist when I was first being introduced to it (“Eucharist” is the Catholic term for the cracker or bread which represents Jesus’ body during Communion). Why? Because it seemed silly to me. To me it was as if the adults were saying, “Here’s a cracker. It is the actual body of Jesus. Take it seriously.” I was in 3rd grade when I received Communion for my first time, and I was only going through the motions. “Walk up, put your hands together, palms facing up, say ‘amen’ when the usher finishes speaking, and then eat it.” Got it. Eat the cracker. No, it’s Jesus. Not just a cracker. The whole thing was ludicrous to me, but I did it until I was confirmed a Catholic in 8th grade.
In the time just leading up to my Confirmation, my parents divorced, two of my grandparents were killed in a car accident, and step-family moved in. At that time, I declared my disbelief in all things spiritual and labeled myself an atheist.
CHRIST’S LOVE AND LIGHT
Jesus loves us, has always loved us, and will always love us. The back story is that for over two millenniums, millions of people have given their lives to the pursuit of a relationship with Christ, some choosing martyrdom over the annulation of their beliefs.
For those of you who aren’t quite familiar with Christianity, it is the one walk of faith which doesn’t require our acts receive God’s love; rather, it is freely offered. It is in accepting His love that changes us. Relationship with Jesus is even more spiritual than it is corporeal. The Lord shines His light upon us—and by the “light,” I am referring to the way Jesus is the Light of Heaven (Revelation 21:23). So, if you understand that, then the light of Christ shining on us is His presence with us. When we’re in tune with Him, we can feel His presence in our hearts and souls, an experience so powerful as to feel as though it is physical touch; but unlike any we’ve ever experienced from another person.
Having experienced 22 years of atheism and misunderstanding Jesus, I also experienced heavy pains of worthlessness, meaninglessness, and anger towards life. Some people respond to the world and its unexplainable circumstances when cornered by the question of belief in the supernatural. For the sake of not giving the thought any significant consideration, some people excuse the universe away as an enormous, constitutive mass of matter; that God is just the metaphysical sum of peace, love, and happiness (an impersonal Higher Power)—which is, to paraphrase, similar to explaining Pantheism.
TRIALS OF PAIN LED ME TO FAITH
During my teens, when I questioned any reason to stay alive, my disbelief ultimately brought me closer to suicide than relief. Disbelief in anything outside of the physical realm meant I was existing without believing I had a reason to.
After the initial shockwave of the misery in my teens, the one thing I felt I had left was curiosity. My thoughts would taunt me day in and day out, clinging fragilely to the fear that if I was wrong about anything, I would go to Hell and burn forever. Curiosity may have been the key to keeping me alive, but I look back on my time before finding my faith and I realize now that God was the hand taking mine from taking my life. God allowed my trauma to enable more complex reason to need Him as the Source of strength in life. God knew I needed Him above everything, that getting my attention would mean pulling out the floor from beneath me. When I finally reached the desperation for a purpose beyond death, Jesus was only thing left for me to see. I reached out for Him when I was 22, and He immediately met me in that space.
COMING TO FAITH
The process of becoming a believer wasn’t exactly overnight—it took me a several years of asking questions and experiencing the devotion of others’ praying for me in faith before my personal faith became stronger. One of the most notable examples was something I wrote about in my post, “Paving the Way For Trusting God: Part 2” where God provided rent when I was about to be evicted from my living situation. That was just one example, but simply nothing else could explain what happened to me. That is one of the most obvious examples of Christ acting in my life, other than fantastic friendships and people supporting me in my faith and directing me back to Christ. Over time, Christ has become much more real; far from just a one-dimensional character in an old book from millenniums past.
Jesus is real to me, and millions of others. He can be real to you if you’ll accept Him into your heart. Just say a prayer and He will show Himself in a way unique to you.
I love ending posts with prayers. If you aren’t sure where to start, try praying like this:
“God, I don’t know if You’re real. Please speak to me. Show me who You are. I want to know You and I want to receive Your love. I’m sorry I’ve neglected trying to know You, and I want to try that now. Please meet me where I am and show Yourself in my life and in my heart here, now. In Jesus name I pray and ask this. Amen.”
Now let Him speak into your life. I pray you would come to recognize Him. If you would like to share your experience, please do so! I have a contact form from the Menu option on my homepage. I’d love to hear how Jesus is speaking to you.
CONNECT WITH ME
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