“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”Romans 1:16
Douglas Coupland is a best-selling author known for his books about cultural trends in America. In his book Life After God, he no doubt surprises his readers when he shares:
“Now here is my secret. I tell it to you with an openness of heart I doubt I will ever achieve again . . . My secret is that I need God—that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love.”
Amazing—an author who has admittedly bought into the godless secularism in our world has let his godless philosophy of life run its course, and at the end of it all he recognizes that something is missing. The unanswered longing in his soul leads him to admit that his “life after God” has left him barren and hopelessly in need. He calls it his secret because it would be almost scandalous in post-Christian America to admit that we do need God after all—the God who has been banished to the outposts of irrelevance.
I love Coupland’s candor. Life after God—or actually life without God—inevitably leaves us hollow and disappointed. And if someone like Coupland feels this way, you can bet there are a lot of others who feel the same—a lot of others who live and work where you live and work. A lot of others who just may be in your family or your circle of friends.
Well, those of us who live life with God have a secret as well. Our secret is that God exists (Hebrews 11:6) and is all He has promised to be (Psalm 145:13). That He is indeed the answer to our deepest longings (Psalm 34:9-10), and that only He can give us the motivation and power to give, to be kind, and to love (Philippians 2:13). And not only that, but that He gives us the wisdom we need to navigate life’s most complex and confusing problems (Colossians 2:2-3). He brings meaning to suffering and peace in the midst of life’s storms (Psalm 119:50). And most importantly, only God can wipe our slate clean through the death of His Son (Isaiah 53:5). Our secret is that God is all He promised to be!
So, when you feel discouraged that no one in your world has any interest in God, remember Douglas Coupland. It takes time for life to come to the disappointing end of itself when it is lived without God. And you never know who around you is coming to the same conclusions as Coupland. When they do, will you be ready to share your secret? Will they have seen enough of the reality of God in your life to want to listen to your secret? And will you have the confidence that your secret is without a doubt exactly what they need and the boldness to share it enthusiastically?
My wife tells me that I am not a good secret keeper—and in this case, that would be a virtue! Come to think of it, the fact that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16) should be on the tip of our tongues ready to be proclaimed whenever we get the chance!
I wonder if anyone who knows our secret was near to Doug Coupland when he shared his secret?
This passage first appeared in “Strength for the Journey with Joe Stowell” (www.getmorestrength.org)