June 4, 2008
When I was younger, I had a watch. Not a fancy watch, just your average, run-of-the-mill wristwatch that a kid who didn’t know any better might purchase from a department store for not more than say, twenty dollars. It was comparable to a cheap Swatch knockoff, but nothing like my very favorite watch I ever owned, a low-key G-Shock WaterSport with all sorts of timers and even a legit compass. Either way, I liked the Swatch knockoff, so I was of course ultra-bummed when it stopped one day without warning.
At that particular time, I’d already been exposed to the idea that God can work miracles and directly intervene in our lives. I hadn’t read any of the stories out of the Bible yet, and my parents never took us to church, but I had deduced enough from ordinary observations of adult conversation and popular culture to fully understand the premise. I knew that many people, if not most, believed we could pray and ask God to do things on our behalf, and that if we had faith, those things would be done. So I decided when my watch stopped that I would clear off a nice, clean place on top of my dresser so that God had a pleasant area to work in, and I set it there, much like I would have left cookies and milk for Santa and his Elves.
See, that day when my watch stopped, I made up my mind I was going to get to the bottom of this God stuff once for all. So that night, before I went to bed, I made a simple prayer, along the lines of,
"Lord, if you’re there, I just wanna know you’re real, and if you fix my little sportswatch, that will be all the proof I need in the world, Lord. Amen."
Immediately afterwards I felt like a great burden had been relieved, but I was also extremely anxious to wake up the next morning and see what would become of my rudimentary theological experiment. After all, I was about to settle one of the most sublime questions of existence, and mixed feelings forced themselves upon me accordingly: Would the watch be fixed? Or not? And how would I be sure somebody in my family didn’t trick me, or that maybe God didn’t hear me or perhaps that I prayed incorrectly? I was pretty sure my family had no idea what I was up to, and that my experiment was in fact blind, and I was also fairly confident I’d prayed correctly. I’m absolutely certain if God exists, God heard my prayer. That’s because it was heartfelt, and honesty is the earmark of authentic prayer.
When I woke up next morning, the watch was still stopped, and I’m still not to the bottom of this God stuff.