I was about six years old when I knew for sure that God existed, because that year he answered a prayer of mine immediately. I believe that event is what kept him alive in my heart through my teenage years of doubt and wondering, and even pretended agnosticism. I had doubts because what I believed God to be and what I saw in this world did not fit together. The Bible lessons I'd received during my many years in our town's non-denominational community church only served to raise more questions. So one night when I was about 16, I told God that I was going to quit bothering him with the rote prayer I had been reciting at bedtime for as long as I could remember. I told him the next time he heard from me, I would be sincere and it would come from my heart.
That was when I put God on hold in my life. I didn't begin my search to understand him until I was in my early twenties, at which time I began reading, casually and with no real urgency, about the different religions the world had to offer. Nothing rang true within me. Then one night in 1976, it finally clicked.
I was driving a friend home. I don't recall the circumstances of our being together that evening, or how the conversation turned to spiritual matters. I just remember that she began to talk about a book she was reading, and I had to know more. We sat in her driveway for some time while she told me all about this book. It was getting late, but I didn't want to leave, so she asked me if I wanted to see the book. "Of course!" I said, and she invited me in.
I felt so hungry for the knowledge she was imparting that I stayed until she told me everything she could remember of what she had read so far. Finally, I copied the Chicago address from the book so I could order one, and left her house, on fire and anxious to get my own copy of The Urantia Book. I knew this was what I had been looking for.
How did this book change my life? I was able to relax. I had a better understanding of why this world is so imperfect. I had the assurance of God's unfailing love.