Leonard: How I found God
It’s somewhat of a catchy title, which is why I used it, but it isn’t really all that true because he wasn’t ever lost. But I was. And though I didn’t have to look for too long before I found him, I did look to fill the void of something (or someone) missing in my life.
Blaise Pascal, the 17th-century French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and theologian was a child prodigy. He is credited as being one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator and for rebutting Aristotle’s followers, along with Galileo Galilei, who insisted that nature abhors a vacuum.
While I’m not really sure what that means, I can tell this guy was a thinker. What I think he is most remembered for is saying, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
What led me to look for God was the fact that the things that I was trying to fill the void in my life weren’t working: namely physique, popularity, relationships, and simply trying to have as much fun as possible (road trips, bike rides, wakeboarding, parties, etc.). Pascal referred to these as “created things.”
Did you know that where we live, sometimes referred to as “Happy Valley,” ranks among the highest in suicide and divorce rates in the state? Could it be that looking to running, biking, fishing, skiing, golfing, eating, drinking the best food and wines (fill in the blank with your favorite hobby) to fill a void that only God can doesn’t work?
Sadly enough. when those things don’t work we are left scratching our heads, wondering what is wrong with us, when all along we were trying to put a round peg into a square hole. Been there. Done that.
King Solomon, who succeeded King David in 970 BCE, after having spent his life chasing after the wrong things and trying to fill his void with wealth, women (700 wives and 300 concubines … seriously, what?) and fame, wrote a very famous book towards the end of his life.
In the late 1950s, Pete Seeger wrote the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” — made even more famous by the Byrds’ version released in 1965 — which quoted word for word from King Solomon’s book. The summary of his book, widely known as the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, is that life without God is meaningless. After all of the pleasure-seeking, hedonism, and narcissism, Solomon finally figured it out.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible says, “Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.” So when I say that I found God, partially what I mean is that when I got introduced to Jesus, and looked at his life, I began to see and understand God … and I stopped trying to fill my void with two hours of lifting weights followed by an hour swim or a bike ride all the while eating as healthy as I knew how to.
My quest to impress people with how I dressed (did I mention that I was voted best dressed my senior year at a 5A high school ) and how I looked playing beach volleyball became less significant in my life and knowing God became more significant … and I began to feel much happier and satisfied with life.
Why do I tell you all of this? Because no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, drawing nearer to God is always a good thing. And on August 16 and 17, you’re going to have a unique chance to do just that when New York Times bestselling author (and former Chicago Tribune journalist) Lee Strobel comes to town with a few like-minded men for the “Rally in the Valley.”
Lee has been a featured guest on national networks including ABC, Fox, Discovery, PBS, and CNN. He was the host of “Faith Under Fire,” a provocative program that brought together some of the brightest Christians and skeptics to debate issues central to the Christian faith. He also appeared in the feature film, “God’s Not Dead 2,” as an expert witness for the defense. In 2017, Pure Flix Entertainment released a major motion picture depicting Lee’s journey from atheism to faith called “The Case for Christ.”
I don’t know where you are on your journey but I’d love to invite you to come to hear Lee share his story and possibly ask some of the questions you have about this topic. For more information or to buy tickets go to westerncoloradofca.org. I’ll be at the SEARCH table so if you’re there, come find me.
Scott Leonard is the area director for Search Vail Valley. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.