Author Lee Strobel Makes “The Case for Grace”
By Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club
CBN.com- Christian apologist and bestselling author Lee Strobel has dedicated his life to proving the claims of Christianity are true. After more than 30 years, he couldn’t imagine anything that would make him question his own faith. Then at 59, an unlikely cascade of medical issues brought him to the edge of death and he got a glimpse of life without God.
Lee says, “There was such a sense of despair and such a sense that if God had abandoned me, then truly there is no hope. And in my mind I was convinced that He walked the other way.”
It started when Lee developed complications following a routine heart procedure. But they were undetected, and his kidneys began shutting down. It was also affecting his mind.
“It was over a period of time that I was getting increasingly irrational and mentally confused,” Lee recalls. “I started to become paranoid. I imagined my wife was leaving me, my children were leaving me, my friends were leaving me. All these terrible things were befalling me, in my mind. Emotionally I was going through them just like they were really happening.”
Then it got worse when Lee had an allergic reaction to some medication he took for a problem with his voice. The episodes intensified. One was especially vivid.
Lee remembers, “I started to hallucinate. I started to descend into hell in my mind. The room got cold and clammy and dark. I began to see demons. I was unable to move. I looked up at the clock and the clock was going backwards. The emotion was, ‘this is forever. There is no escape. There is no hope. There is no relief. This is what forever will be like.’ When you emotionally come to that place, you are just consumed by fear, by dread, by anxiety. I wish I could say my automatic reaction was to seek after God. The truth is, I had the opposite reaction. I believed that God had walked away from me and that I was no longer His son.”
The hallucination ended, but Lee’s health and mind continued to slip. A few days later, his wife found him unconscious.
“I woke up and there was a doctor there and he looked at me and he said, ‘you're one step away from a coma, two steps away from dying.’”
Doctors discovered that Lee’s blood sodium level was critically low and his kidneys were badly damaged. They started treatments but the recovery would take time. Later, his son came to be with him, and to pray.
“And I didn't want to pray with him because I still was recovering. I still was mentally confused to the degree that I thought God had walked away from me. He said, ‘You want to reconnect with God, don't you?’ And I said, ‘yes.’ He took me down a journey and the pathway was to strip myself of the pretenses that you present when you go to God. In other words, we cling to our identity as a dad or a mom, or a successful person, or a homeowner and he helped me kinda strip that away, that I wasn't a husband at that point. I wasn't a father. I wasn't a grandfather. I wasn't an author. I wasn't a pastor; to get to the point where it was just me…and God. And that's when it struck me, ‘wait a minute. I've been under the illusion that I’ve lost everything. And you know what? So what! What if I lost all my money? What if I lost my freedom? What if my friends walked out on me?’ Ultimately I realized I have Jesus Christ and that's enough. The grace of God is enough.”
Although Lee did lose one of his kidneys, he came away with an understanding of God’s grace he never had before. He shares his experience and more in his new book The Case for Grace.
Lee says, “I don't want to go back to the point where I’m connecting with God as someone who's got it all figured out. My relationship with God is nothing but His gracious love for me; never deserving it, never meriting it. And when I have nothing to show to Him, when I don't have the accomplishments and the bank account and the family and all these wonderful things that have happened over the years since I’ve been a Christian, you know what? (It) doesn't matter. (It) doesn't matter because ultimately all that really matters is me and God.”
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