Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools... Romans 1:20-22
I used to think Christians were happy because they had something to do with their free time. They had a goal. They were happy about this guy that sounded nice. They were confused, but a happy confused, and hey no harm, no foul, right? And perhaps they spoke of how unhappy I must be or how confused I must be, but that obviously wasn't the case. I was neither confused nor unhappy. I believed in heaven but not hell, thought church would be a fine way to spend an hour if they didn't talk about all this stuff I had to do, and I figured God didn't care what I did with my life. I was quite wise.
It is strange now to try to explain the difference Jesus makes to people who think the same way I did. I'm not sure all the reference books in the world would help. It was only my pride that got me to look for God, to prove my own terrible logic. Fortunately He was there, waiting. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18) And what a fall - perfect and painful both at the same time.
At the time I wasn't angry with God. I just figured I knew more than all the people who'd ever believed in Him. I owned a Bible but never looked anything but a verse or two up (to prove something, inadequately since I cared not for the context). I did not even know what Christians claimed to believe regarding free will, sin, and the role of Jesus. I frequently asked, "Why doesn't God just open the gates to Heaven from there? Doesn't He have a universal remote control for that kind of thing? Why do we need Jesus?" Today I am thankful someone answered that question for me. More thankful than words can describe. The timing was just right, the situation just so, and the force of the truth unimaginable.
I'm currently struggling with how to communicate this to others. Specifically some others I know personally, and fear I won't see after I die. Some are smarter than God, some are angry at God, some are both. Until the timing is right, I guess I will have to emulate St Monica in prayer and perseverance.