Saturday, November 14, 2009


I just finished watching a movie called So...Help Me God, and it reminded me of myself years ago when I had begun questioning God's existence. I had been raised to attend the nearest church to home so that my parents didn't have to get up and drive me to church. I believe I attended a church in every town where we lived during my childhood. My father was a salesman and he was transferred many times in the first sixteen years of existence. When I turned eighteen, my aunt, who I was told was my god-mother, informed me that I was a Catholic. It was certainly news to me! It seems that Dad had divorced my mother and could no longer practice Catholicism. Curiosity took me to the base chaplain, and I enrolled in classes to learn about being a Catholic. It wasn't that much of a difference from the assortment of churches I had attended, so I "signed up." After being a devote church member for eight years, I witnessed very un-Christlike behavior of our parish priest, and decided that religion was, not only pretty much the same everywhere, it was as Marx would say, "the opiate of the people." I learned from college philosophy class that man's concept of reality was generally flawed, and decided to reject all forms of religion.

Nearly two years passed when out of the blue, I received a letter from an adulterous, drug using, know-it-all rock musician who had be my neighbor in California when I was stationed in San Diego. I hadn't heard from him since we moved, so receiving a letter was quite a shock. It seems that during the three years since I lived next door to him, he has found God. His letter was filled with scripture references, and as an atheist, it disappointed me that he had sold out. I wrote and told him, insincerely of course, that I was happy for him. Within days, he sent me another letter, but this time, he enclosed a pocket New Testament. I remember throwing it across the room. I wrote him a nasty letter about "cramming his religion down my throat" and told him not to write anymore. He didn't.

I was now stationed with the Blue Angels in Pensacola, and periodically, I had to answer the phone at night. It was a Saturday, and after studying American History for about five hours, I took a break and looked for some light reading, preferably port, but even a newspaper would do. Believe it or not, someone had "sterilized" the place and there was nothing, not even an aircraft repair manual to read. I decided to take out my Science book, and when I opened my briefcase, there was that little New Testament. For the life of me, I do not know how it got there. I picked it up, kind of laughing to myself, and opened it at random to see what the fuss was all about. I had never read the Bible, so you can imagine my surprise and the beauty of the writing. I had a great fondness for Shakespeare, but for a book to be fifteen hundred years older and to be far more beautiful was a shock. I read one chapter, and could not get its message out of my mind. The next morning (Sunday), I was telling my wife about the awesome passage I had read. She was stunned that I would read it, let alone discuss it with her. The kids turned on the TV before going to the kitchen for some cereal, and although it was on a church program, I was so engrossed in telling my wife about what I had read, that I ignored it. Just as I finished, the guy on TV said that the pastor would come with the morning message. When he said, "Good Morning, my message today is on Matthew Chapter twenty-five," I shot up out of my seat is disbelief. It was the same passage I had read the night before. It was the only passage I had ever read! He had my attention! After three hours of watching TV preachers present Jesus as the Son of God Who died to pay for my sins, I knew in my heart that it was the truth. I gave my life to Christ right then and there. After thirty-eight years, Bible College, Seminary, and serving as a pastor of a small church, I can say without hesitation that God found me.

This brings me to my point. The gentleman in the movie never found God though he certainly made a sincere effort in trying to find Him. I guess the problem is, God cannot be found. No man has ever seen Him (John 1:18; I John 4:12). The only way to find Him is to have Him draw us to Himself (John 14:6). He does that by giving us faith (faith is a gift - Ephesians 2:8). When we believe in Jesus Christ, we become the children of God. He takes up residence in us through the Holy Spirit. It is true that I have little knowledge of God the Father, Jesus said that "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father (John 14:29), and we are told in Colossians 1:15-19, that He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God. When the Spirit of God tugs at your heart to place your trust in Christ, surrender, and you will immediately know that you are trusting in the truth. After all, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; He wants way more than you could ever want Him. And, I think the cross is proof of just how much He loves us.


No comments:

Post a Comment