On The Existence Of God
Preface: This composition began as some simple words of encouragement to an
extended family member who was questioning the reality of God. As I
wrote, I became increasingly stirred by the importance of the message and the
realization that there are many others who share in this struggle, young and
old. Those few simple words evolved into
a serious reflection on the existence of God. It is my hope and
prayer that this message will find its way into the hearts of all who may
benefit. These words are for God’s use. May they find their home
according to His will.
Recently, my 12 year old granddaughter, Grace, was sharing some of her summer
adventures with me. She was filled with enthusiasm and joy. In the
middle of one of her happy stories, she stopped suddenly, got very serious, and
shared her confusion and bewilderment upon discovering a close relative does
not share our convictions about God, the bible and our faith. I listened
to her as she was trying to process how that could be possible, as it is all so
simply clear to her. I assured her that most people have a time when they
struggle to believe in the things they were taught about God, that God’s
feelings aren’t hurt, and that He understands that we need to figure these
things out on our own, that we can’t be forced to believe in Him. I told
her that God is very patient, that He is always waiting for us to love Him.
I told her that I understand what it is like, because when I was in
college, I too decided I no longer believed that God was real. But, even
though I gave up on God, He never gave up on me, and He will not give up on our
The following Sunday, our homily was about how all of us know people who are
living a life estranged from God’s loving plan, and that we are called to be a
light in the world, to proclaim the Truth about God’s love, especially in our
families. I immediately thought of my conversation with Grace and how she
desperately tried to make her relative understand. I felt so proud of
her. My next thought was that God gave her as a model for me to follow.
Since then, in my
morning prayers, I have been feeling a nudge to share my own story -about the
love Jesus has shown me after I turned my back on Him and what I have come to
believe. I have come to this
understanding with God: If an urging toward good keeps coming to mind, and
especially if I am resistant to that idea, then I can, with a high degree of
confidence, believe it is the Holy Spirit making a request of me. This
composition is my response to what I believe God is urging me toward. It falls into three parts: I.) A letter I
wrote in the late 90’s for some aviation buddies; II.) Some thoughts regarding
our search for truth and the reality of God’s existence; and III.) An excerpt
of a talk I gave for our prayer group on knowing God.
I. The Letter
The letter came about from a controversy on the “Kolb List”, an email group
that I subscribed to at the time. Kolb is the brand of ultralight
aircraft that I was flying then, and the kind that has been languishing in my
shop for fifteen years, waiting to be finished. One of the rules on that
forum was that all content must be related to Kolb aircraft. Politics and
religion were to be relegated to other appropriate forums. Well the topic
of God would invariably come up. Someone would share their sense of awe
while flying, or their gratitude for an averted disaster, or ask for prayers
for a fellow member on the list. Some guy got annoyed and was complaining
that God is not Kolb related, and he asked, “Why was it so hard to not bring up
religious comments?” I saw this as an “opportunity” and wrote the
following email response to that guy’s question:
[Since you asked the question about separating our religious beliefs from the
content of this list, I thought I would offer a response. You can hit
"delete" now, if you wish.
One day in 1973 I told God that I no longer
believed he existed, that he was merely a phenomenon of social evolution &
a crutch for the weak. Within minutes after that declaration of my new
religious belief or unbelief, a miraculous event occurred that unequivocally
proved to me that God not only existed but that he had a personal interest in
my life. Since that day I try very hard not to separate God from my daily
actions or decisions. Call me collect, 352-622-####, and I'll share the story
with you. As far as how this email is related to Kolbs & flying, I'll
make the point quickly.
For many of us, flying is a profoundly religious experience. I expect it
is for you as well, but you interpret it differently. It is a fact, that
my joy of flying Kolbs is much greater when I intentionally share it with God
& acknowledge his hand in creating the laws of physics & the beauty of
this planet. I thank him for gifting his servants Homer & Dennis with
the ability to create & economically provide these unique aircraft kits
that we enjoy. For some of us God & religion are inseparable from
Kolbs & flying.] –end of email
I knew I was pushing the limits of that forum’s rules, but I was technically
still being Kolb related. I had no intentions of taking my story any
further. I just wanted to get a good word in for God. But the next
day there were several messages on my answering machine and several email
responses on the Kolb forum, all wanting to hear the rest of my story. I
could not put it on the Kolb forum, so I asked if anyone on the Kolb list had a
personal website and would be be willing to host some space where I could post
the rest of my story for the interested forum members. I got an offer right away and the following
is the letter I wrote:
The Rest Of The Story
Let me start with a snapshot picture of myself. I presently teach
incarcerated teenage felons (boys) math. Three years ago I ended a 17-year
hitch as a youth minister and director of adult education for a very active
church of 3,000+ families. Before that I was a counselor. Before
that I was a mechanic, a welder and an audiovisual repairman. My wife is
a school nurse. Our daughter Julie is in her 3rd year of college and is
engaged to a good Christian young man. Our guitar-playing son is starting
college this fall. My first ultralight was a Maxair Hummer in ‘83, then I
bought an almost completed Kolb UltraStar which ended up highly modified with
long bungee gear legs, a semi-enclosure, and flaperons. Next I had a Kolb
MarkII which I flew only a few hours because I found a nearly complete Kolb
SlingShot which I hope to have flying this month. Now I’ll finish the
rest of the story.
1973, I was a confused and depressed junior at the University of Florida.
I was deeply involved in the drug culture and immersed in the pleasures
of the world. My younger brother died in a collision with a rock truck,
my dad was peaking as an alcoholic, the girl I was having relations with told
me she was getting married to some guy, I was failing in all my classes, I was
running out of money, and I had a mother who would not give up praying for her
wayward son. I was in a deep, dark pit, desperately needing a Savior who
possessed an unimaginable amount of mercy.
young man, in the state of sin that I was in, would wander into the back of a
church, can only be said to be Providential, but that is what I did.
I thought I was alone as I stood there brokering a deal with God.
I was looking at a Life In The Spirit Seminar poster and thinking to God,
“I’ll go to this seven week course if you straighten out my life.”
nowhere, there was a gentle tap on my left shoulder. I swung around and
found myself confronted with a stunningly attractive ‘angel’ with long, silky,
platinum blonde hair. She stood there just smiling at me for a moment
that seemed like an eternity. I was riveted to her sparkling blue eyes
which seemed to be melting my soul. I felt exposed and bewildered. Then, with her beautiful red lips pursed, she
smiled and simply said, “Why don’t you come?”
Sacred Scripture clearly teaches that man has free will and that God will not
violate it. Well let me tell you, He sure can stack the deck! He
may be all-just, but He doesn’t always play with a level field. I did the
only thing I could do. I squeaked, “OK” and nearly choked on it at that.
I didn’t have an inkling of the enormity of that little word which just
croaked out of my mouth -how it would change my life. Well, “Angel Lady”
never broke eye contact. She further disarmed me with another
overwhelming smile and said, “Good.” Then, abruptly turned around and
disappeared out the door. I was paralyzed.
know, it’s not what you say, but how you say it that counts. Well the way
she said “Good” haunted me. It was said with a heartfelt sense that I was
the most important person in the whole world. I could only think she
mistook me for someone else. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just
been touched by the Majesty of God’s Love. Angel Lady, later known as
Joann, (Mrs., in case your imagination gets going) remains today as one of the
holiest and most beautiful persons I’ve had the privilege to know. The
realization that God chose to pull out such a big gun in His arsenal to win me
over will forever humble me.
love, through His servant, Angel Lady, shook my spirit. As I stood there,
stunned by a power I had never felt before, something was happening deep within
my hardened heart. Its stone wall had become cracked, and a glimmer of
hope, like a long lost memory, was breaking through -a faint echo of life long
ago when our family laughed. I don’t remember what happened next, or for
the rest of the week, except I couldn’t wait for that seminar and kept
wondering if Angel Lady would be there.
was there and so were many other loving and committed Christians. They
easily recognized my spiritual poverty, but never lectured me. Instead,
they unconditionally loved me and welcomed me to become part of their
community. I learned a lot in the next seven weeks, about God’s love,
salvation, the gifts of His Holy Spirit, and the need to center my life around
prayer, scripture, service, and Christian community.
following semester I was making straight A’s.
I had meaning and joy in my life. I had died to an old way of life
and was reborn a new man -forgiven, transformed and empowered. I had
discovered that the bible was not merely a history book about saints, but that
it is a Living Word, a recipe for abundant living, here and now, for me.
That semester was like being on a honeymoon with God. I did not know
that the next semester would hold a pit that was deeper and darker than
anything I had ever known before or since.
a perfect gentleman. He will woo us, even entice us, to follow His son
Jesus. He will never force us to choose Him. He will however, allow
us to reject Him, His lordship, His way, His love. I know this because I
did this -even after all that I had seen with my eyes and experienced with my
crumbled because I was strong. My strength was my weakness. I
always believed in the Truth, that Truth will prevail, that anyone who seeks
Truth will find it, that there is not a nobler pursuit. I still believe
this, but now I know the caveat that accompanies it, that all men are capable
of being deceived. In 1973, I was much more arrogant and self reliant
than I am today. God has given me a keen mind and a strong will.
These gifts submitted to Him and His Word can be productive and a
blessing. These same gifts submitted to self, plus, coupled with naive
arrogance, is a disaster and a curse.
fateful semester I signed up for a course entitled Humanistic Psychology.
It was taught by Dr. Sydney Jerrard, the foremost authority in that field
and author of the course textbook. He was brilliant, enthusiastic, funny,
inspiring, kind and obviously popular with the students. In retrospect,
he was also a troubled man. He seemed to be obsessed and driven to
disprove God and religion. The entire semester he kept coming back to
discourses revolving around the idea that God is a man-made concept which evolved
out of man’s societal behavior. And that, long ago, it had a positive
function by providing meaning and order for primitive man, but now, we no
longer needed this superstitious belief system.
At first, in my new found faith, I scoffed at him. But then he kept
coming up with these logical arguments that were increasingly difficult to
refute. He even began explaining away the miracles that Jesus worked.
Then he began showing documentation of miracles that were happening today
by people who were in no way connected with Christianity. Eventually, in
my pursuit of Truth, I found myself asking, “What if this is true?” At
first, that thought terrified me and I would toss it out of my mind. But
then I began wondering if I was being afraid of the Truth. With my nature
as it was, I ended up compelled to considerate it. And this is the path
that brought me to the darkest intersection of my life.
early morning. I was by myself in my apartment bedroom. I was
emotionally exhausted. I had alienated
myself from my church friends. I
believed they would never understand or accept my struggle over the existence
of God. My other friends had no interest in the subject. I was
alone. Sleep was avoiding me. I felt guilty, confused, tormented
and angry. I finally slumped off the side of my bed and crumpled into the
middle of the floor. I looked up toward heaven and screamed out with a
desperate and angry cry, “God, I don’t believe you exist. If you do,
you’ll just have to show me!”
first, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. For a moment, I felt weightless.
But then, I was flooded with despair. I felt utterly alone in all
the universe, without any horizon or reference, like a tiny cork bobbing in a
storm in the middle of the Pacific ocean, lost, terrified. Suddenly, all
the reasons for not doing something bad, no longer existed. And, all the
reasons for doing something good no longer existed. I was an empty shell,
a man who ordered his entire life around a myth. Now the Myth was gone,
and my fantasized order-of-life went with it. Fear and emptiness took
their place. All I could do was drown my thoughts with loud heaving
were me, in that situation, would you go answer the phone if it was ringing?
That’s just what I did. I got up from being a pile on the floor,
wiped my running nose on my sleeve, sucked in my snot, wiped the tears off my
face, took a deep breath, picked up the phone and said, “Hello?” as best as I
could. It was someone I had not seen in a long time. It was Angel
Lady’s best friend, Fran. Fran was my small group leader in the Life In
The Spirit seminars. She is the one who led me in my prayer to receive
Jesus as my Lord and to avail myself to His Holy Spirit. She said,
“Hello, Richard? Something really strange just happened. You might
think this is really weird, but I was just having my morning prayer time, and I
felt the Lord wanted me to call you and tell you to read Hebrews 11:1.”
don’t remember saying anything. I don’t remember hanging up.
The next thing I remember is being immersed in an incomprehensible
joy as I read the first verse. I will quote it from the same bible that I
read it from. Hebrews Chapter 11, verse 1: “Only faith can
guarantee the blessings that we hope for or prove the existence of the
realities that at present remain unseen.”
so merciful. First, He rescued me from a life of depravity and
brokenness. Instead of allowing me to reap the consequences I deserved,
He gave me His forgiveness and joy. He lavished me with loving friends
and success. Then, while feeling so in control of life, I arrogantly
betrayed, and even denied, the God that gave me my new life. Again,
instead of allowing me to remain in the hell that I chose and deserved, he
miraculously intervened in the natural order of another person’s life so that
He could reveal His existence to me -an unfaithful lost soul. Why would
the Creator-Of-The-Universe do this for puny, sinful me? Why would He
give me so many undeserved chances to choose Him?
might answer, “Because God is love.” Others might quote John 3:17 “For
God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through
him the world might be saved.” I would like to add, “Because God cannot
lie.” Throughout Scripture, we find this
promise repeated, “When you seek me you shall find me, when you seek me with
all your heart.” Because God is Truth, Goodness and Love, He cannot
make a promise and not keep it. I believe I stumbled upon this promise of
God, in my sincere pursuit of Truth, and He remained faithful to it. His Word is full of many such promises, all
of them equally inviolable. All of them holding out life to us -if we
just believe they are true, if we just believe that the Maker of those promises
is who He says He is.
says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. ...I have come that you may have
life and have it in abundance. ...I am the Good Shepherd. ...from
my breast shall flow fountains of living water. ...I am the bread
of life. ...I have come for the sinner and the sick. ...to
bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to
captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free...” Many
are the promises of God and blessed are they who find rest and mercy in His
never doubted God’s existence since that day in 1973. I have doubted
other realities of His kingdom and I have other stories of His saving grace in
spite of my sinfulness and mistakes. But always He is faithful and
forgiving, taking my weaknesses and even my life’s tragedies, and turning them
into good. It is good to belong to Him, to have Him as my Savior,
Redeemer and Deliverer.
that semester, on the day of the final exam, Dr. Sydney Jerrard said, “Oh, by
the way, all of my discussions about God and religion are my personal opinion.
I guess we will not know the Truth until we die.” Two days later,
the whole class was waiting for Sydney to show up and post our grades.
His graduate assistant entered the room in tears and announced, “Sydney
died this morning. His car crushed his skull while he was changing the
oil.” Without thinking, I said to myself out loud, “Now you know Sydney.”
I wonder if he had another chance?
-The end of the Kolb letter
II. Some Thoughts On The Existence Of God
retrospect, wondering if Sydney had another chance, was not the central
question. The bottom line question is “What did he do with his last
chance to invite God into his life?” For, the fundamental purpose of every Being
is to define themselves –either as creature or god. This sweeping conclusion is, of course, based
upon ‘Reality according to Richard’ which in one paragraph would read as this:
God, who is Love, wants
to share His love, so He creates the cosmos, a place to bring us into
existence, all that we may have a chance to choose the love He is offering.
He then injects Himself into human history through the God-Man Jesus, to
introduce us to the God we were created to know, love and serve. Jesus crystallizes
His revelation with the story of the Prodigal Son, explaining how His Father
has nothing but unconditional love for His children, and that no matter how
wayward they’d wandered or how much they rejected Him, He is ever waiting to
restore them into the love and blessings of His family. After cementing
the image of God, He establishes His Church and gives it the authority to
decree what is and what is not according to His will (Matthew 16:19).
This Church then, collated His Word and Story into a Sacred Book of
Truth, gathered it’s followers under her wing, and proceeded to lead them
through time, insuring their salvation in the integrity of His Word, until He
comes in the culmination of time, where the faithful will reap what they have
freely chosen, and unfaithful, will reap from what they have freely rejected.
perspective is my best attempt to summarize Divine Revelation as received by
the Christian church. If it instills
hope and comfort, then I believe we are on the way to knowing the Mind of God –and
life, even its tragedies, will become congruent in the Peace of God. But, if Divine Revelation instills fear or
derision in us, then it is because we have bought into a reality outside the Mind of
God, outside of Truth –we are living, at best in a corrupted truth; or at
worst, in Darkness, in opposition to Light.
might be possible, that in devising our own reality, one which placates a
lifestyle outside of God’s Will, that we might hide ourselves from fear and
despair with selfish distractions; but in the end, like Sydney, we all will
eventually come to a skull crushing moment, and no self manufactured truth
system will undo the Uncreated Truth of God. Sirach 15 & 16 speaks
pertinently to this point: “He himself made man in the beginning, and
then left him free to make his own decisions. If you wish, you can
keep the commandments, to behave faithfully is within your power. He has
set fire and water before you; put out your hand to whichever you prefer.
Man has life and death before him; whichever a man likes better will be
given him. For vast is the wisdom of the Lord; he is almighty and
all-seeing. …. His mercy is great, but his severity is as great; he
judges every man as his deeds deserve: the sinner shall not escape with his
ill-gotten gains, nor the devout man's patience go for nothing. He allows
free play to his mercy; yet every man shall be treated as his deeds
world that I grew up in, you would never consider admitting that you do did
believe in God. You would have been looked upon as a freak. Today,
atheism is popular. In many circles, to admit to believing in Jesus, is
to invite ridicule. To make things more confusing: believing in healing
crystals; or that Mother Earth is a god; or to practice the ancient Eastern
religions; is all quite fashionably the “in thing” to do. In the
twenty-one centuries, since the Apostle Thomas refused to believe in the Risen
Christ unless he put his fingers into His wounds, it has always been a struggle
to grow in faith. But this 21st century is on course with
being the most hostile to Christianity since the 1st century
is so little support today, for Christians secure in their faith, how lonely
and terrifying it must be for those who are struggling for reasons to believe.
And what voice is there today, competing for those who are lost in our
culture of self fulfillment, chasing their own dreams, oblivious to The
Dream God has for them? No one can force another to choose the
way of God. If God is powerless to violate free will, how much more are
we incapable of demanding our loved ones to drink from the Wellspring of
decision, to acknowledge that we belong to our Creator, is made in a protected,
sacred place within our spirit. It is accessible only to the individual
self. Even God must be given permission to enter. This is a lonely
and existential place, where the only movement is the breath of our own
volition. This is the place where our destiny begins, where we
determine who we are, to whom we belong, and for what will we live. Yes,
the mystery of God’s grace is present. Yes, we hear other voices beckoning.
But this source of our self-determination is an utterly lonely place,
where blame has no meaning, where what we do is who we are, who
we choose to become.
see what another cannot yet see, yet it is for them alone to choose. Our
love for them gives us no right to manipulate or guilt them into choosing what
we have chosen. Love is always surrendered, whether human or Divine, it
is always given and received in total freedom. If this is scary for us,
is it not then, infinitely more so, for God who is Love?
We cannot force someone to live for something beyond themselves, not for a
cause, not for another person, not for the Truth. At best, we can hope to
be a voice that is received into their sacred space. Maybe our lives can
make them thirst for what we have found. Maybe our Joy, Peace, and Love
will give them a hunger for our Bread of Life. How can we speak in order
to be heard? Let us ever pray for Wisdom, for the time to speak out, and
for the sacred silence that speaks without words, that we may be humble vessels
of Truth, that our lives lived may be a translation of the Word which has been
planted in our hearts. Make it so Lord. Make it so.
can prove that God exists. Only the most arrogant of fools would dare
claim to be able to define the Creator of all that is, so how can the puny mind
of man determine what is valid proof or disproof of what is impossible to
comprehend? How can the finite proclaim the infinite nonexistent?
As Scripture says, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity …that humility is
the first step towards wisdom”.
the most brilliant scientist on earth said to me, “Richard, your experience of
God’s love failed to meet our criteria for what is real.” I would have to bite
my tongue, to keep myself from saying something disparaging about one of God’s
beloved and most pitiful of creatures. If a thousand brilliant scientists
and philosophers authored a decree that says God does indeed exist, my faith in
Him would not be increased. That God exists, I am certain. There is
no other sane explanation for that telephone call to faith at the very moment I
denied the existence of God -other than the existence of a loving God.
most prestigious universities of higher learning would offer other explanations:
1) I am delusional; or 2) It was a random coincidence -just as Humanity is a
random coincidence of an infinite number of events which, over millennia,
needed to happen in an their exact sequence, in order to produce a species
capable of denying the cosmos was created. This modernistic thinking is the
basis of one of atheism’s biggest ‘Got you!’ points: “If you ask, ‘Who created
the cosmos?’ -as proof of God’s existence, then I have the right to ask you, ‘Who
created God?’” They say, “If you can claim that God always was, then I
can claim the universe always was.”
argument is based on a logical fallacy. They are comparing the universe,
which occupies time and space, and is bound by the laws of physics, to God -who
is spirit, exists outside of time and space, and is not bound by the laws He
created for the universe. Yet it is easier for them to believe that
something can come from nothing -that there can exist an event (the universe)
without a first cause, than to believe that creation has a Creator. I
wonder if believing in an uncreated universe is easier because it seems more
reasonable to them, or because if they did believe in a Creator, they would
then have to change their lives? Faith is a fearful proposition.
present themselves as students of science, whose reality is based on the
principles of scientific reasoning, while projecting believers as superstitious
ignorant people whose reality is based on myth. Yet, their most
fundamental assumption about reality, that the cosmos was not created, is every
bit an act of faith (a belief unable to be measured by scientific method) as is
the Christian’s claim that the cosmos was created. It begs one to ask if
they believe their own lie, or do they suffer from an unexamined mind?
The believer is free to use science in pursuit of Absolute Truth, but, the
unbeliever, is consigned to use science in a manner that denies Absolute Truth. The atheist’s faith in observed reality is based on something that does
not exist -on the absence of a First Cause. The believer’s faith is based
on the First Cause –God’s Word; as in Genesis where God spoke and the world
came into being; as in the Gospel of John -“In the beginning was the Word: the
Word was with God and the Word was God …Through him all things came to be,” and
as in Jesus Christ, who said, “I am, the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
fable of the two blind men describing an elephant, one, holding the trunk,
said, "It is like a snake." The other, who was holding its leg, said, "No, it is
like a tree." Both are limited by their blindness from comprehending the absolute
truth of an elephant. Truth and reality are inextricably linked. They
cannot be separated. If truth is muted or denied, then too, is our grasp of
reality. We must allow all the voices of truth speak to the glory of God:
science, beauty; the majesty of nature; the cry of a baby; the vastness of stars; the
language of love; religious experience; our gift of reason; and most especially,
God’s revelation –Sacred Scripture and the teaching of His Church. If we limit our search for God to
that which can only be proven by science, then we will only know what God is
not. And doesn’t that make a great atheist?
Godless mentality -which demands tangible proof- the greatest questions in life
will be left unexamined, as we will not bother to seek what cannot be measured.
Questions like: ”Is the sum of my parts greater than the whole? Is
my mind intertwined with spirit or soul? What is the Me that cannot be
defined by my body or the function of my brain cells? Am I transcendent
-can a part of me exist outside the confines of space and time?
Will my Creator hold me in eternal existence? Can I know Him?
If I exist, does that mean there must be a purpose for which I was
created? Is there meaning in life? How can I find fulfillment?
What makes happiness sometimes transient and other times deep and
enduring?” These kinds of questions might arise in the mind of the
unbeliever, but self imposed blindness to religious truth, makes examination
deeply profound questions have preceded recorded history. They are
fundamentally religious in the sense of addressing a reality that transcends
the limits of our material world. How is it, that modern man has become
too sophisticated to ask them? How smart is that? We pay lip
service to religious freedom, but shriek, “Fowl!” if it’s expression is publicly
manifested. We cannot allow the Modern
Mind to highjack science, to relegate religious questions to irrelevance,
simply because they cannot be subjected to experimental proof.
reminds me of the joke where a guy is looking for a lost coin one night, under
a street light. A second man kindly offers to help look for it, and asks
where he lost it. The first replies, “Oh, about a block from here.”
Confounded by the absurdity, the second asks, “Why are you looking here?”
The first replied, “Because there is no light there.” To limit our
search for Truth to the light of science is no less an absurdity. To
dismiss the single most influential source of Truth in all of history -God’s
Word as revealed in Sacred Scripture, is to be resigned to a search with a self
of wisdom, science, math, philosophy, art and poetry has been produced by
people whose meaning of life was integrated with Holy Scripture. The foundation of science itself, the
scientific method, was given to us by a monk.
Schools, universities, and hospitals found their origin in the
institutions of the church. Science and
reason are not truth. They are merely tools we can use to discover or
suppress Truth, to search for it, or to hide from it.
Word is the gold standard of Truth for the believer. It is the revelation
of God’s mind; of what is good or evil; of eternal importance, or dust. It
is God’s recipe for happiness; His way for breaking into our lives with
unexplainable power, to live when life seems unlivable; it’s His source of
peace, hope and fulfillment for all who will trust in His love. It is the
portal to transcendent knowledge for those who are willing to risk a “…faith
that proves the existence of realities that at present remain unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1) If I am to believe that I am not created by a God
who loves me and has a unique plan for my life, then I must dismiss this Book
as myth, and avoid reading it at all costs. Any use of this book as the
path to fulfillment must be ridiculed and never considered. I must be as
all good unbelievers are –closed to God’s Word.
cannot admit to Absolute Truth. That would lead them to the God whom they
deny. Instead, they must proclaim truth as relative -dependent on circumstance or experience. With 7.3 billion people, that would make 7.3
billion equally valid versions of truth, 7.3 billion equally valid
realities, each protesting the existence of the other, each closed to Divine Unity.
Mary was confounded by the angel Gabriel announcing that she was to become the
mother of God (Luke 1:26), her response epitomized our search for
meaning. She asked God’s messenger, “How can this be?” When trying
to make sense of her world in that moment, she didn’t take a poll, or get all
scientific. She sought the Mind of God. Her search for Truth is
crowned with integrity. That is to say, the end was not conditioned by
consequences. She wanted THE right thing to do, not the right thing that
would make her feel better, or the right thing that would allow her to do what
she wanted. She was in search of Truth with a capital “T”, the one that
spells the Mind of God -no matter the cost.
contrast to what is modeled by our most brightest, our university professors of
higher learning where quantum physicists theorize how there are an infinite
number of alternative realities with no beginning or end; and philosophers, who proclaim reality itself
is an illusion -that our experience of reality is just a compilation of synapse firings in our brains; or the law professors who champion the
“rightness” of butchering over fifty-five million babies since Roe vs Wade.
the smartest of people can achieve truly profound stupidity. In fairness
to smart people, it is not intelligence that is the root cause for the denial
of God, it is intelligence coupled with pride or hurt, or both. I count
myself as having been one of them. I was an atheist who was angry with
the God I didn’t believe in. I was arrogant, hurt, confused, and
deceived. I bought into their lie. I was emotionally wounded.
You might have correctly describe me as mentally ill -filled with irrational
thoughts blurred by painful emotions, all, in search for an excuse, primed for
a life centered on Self, with a capital “I”.
God miraculously delivered me from my madness, and not all other nonbelievers,
is not for me to explain. However
significant his intervention is in my life, it is a minuscule revelation of the
Mind of God. What I am compelled to say, is that God is real, and He
loves me. He proved it to me in a manner that I can never deny. And
if He loved me after my betraying Him, then He surely loves you, no matter
what. You can fill in your own sinful details, but it doesn’t matter.
He loves you anyway. He cannot not love you -because He is
love. Since 1973, when I made that terrifying decision to live my life according
to the Will of Jesus, I have had four decades to test His faithful love, to
test the truth of His Word that I vowed to follow. I would die rather
than deny the love He has shown, or the truth of His Word.
four decades of serving Him –of calling on His Name for His saving help, I have
only known the faithful face of God. I have had the privilege of
witnessing His love transform the lives of countless people. One Sunday
afternoon at a conference, after listening to the Pope welcome the Charismatic
Renewal into the heart of the Church, I was photographing a touching picture of
a priest praying with a small group in a field of grass. He looked at me
and said with a commanding request, “Come join us.” I did. They
were praying for healing. He lead, as the rest of us laid on our hands in
prayer with him. Miracle after miracle took place before us. Then
the priest was paged over the PA system. He again turned to me, and said,
“I must go. You can take over for these last three.” When he saw the
shock on my face, he said, “What, do you think it was I who was healing these
people? I had no choice but to say, “No” then step forward to lead the
first, was a woman who was deaf. We prayed and she was cured instantly.
The second was a young lady who had one leg several inches shorter than
the other. She sat, while I held the foot of her short leg, everyone
else, laid their hands on her shoulder. As we prayed, her leg pushed my
hands. It grew past the normal leg, then shrunk back even. The
last, was a very old, wrinkled nun. She was stooped over, could only
hobble, her hands and fingers were knurled and rigidly twisted inward.
Seconds after we started praying she began to loudly cry. She began
dancing, turning in circles, bending over, then standing straight up with her
arms towards heaven, opening and closing her hands, and wiggling her
fingers, alternating between laughter and crying. We could only join her,
in praising God with tears and laughter.
would an atheist explain these interventions of God’s love? Probably,
they would deflect the question and focus on what didn’t happen, on all the
people that have prayed and nothing seemed to have happened. Maybe they
would just say, “Whatever” and continue on in unbelief -unwilling to confront
the incongruity of God’s Grace. In the end, all of us will have our skull
crushing encounter with Truth –sooner, or later, all untruth will be exposed.
If we bet our life that God exists, and we are wrong, our life will
eventually end, and it will just be over it. But if we bet our eternity that God
does not exist, and we are wrong, we will have forever to regret. What is
not worth the effort to seek the love of God with all our heart, mind and
strength? Must not we at least examine the evidence with our eyes
first chapter of Ephesians is one of the most profound and beautiful in God’s
Word. It says that before the world was, God chose us that we might live
in love with Him. This is our purpose, the reason we exist. All
humanity, it says, is predestined to live in love with God. This is
however, unattractive to a true unbeliever. They will object, “But,
who would desire a God who allows bad things to happen to innocent people?”
God’s invitation of love is to be authentic, then, not only must we have the
choice to choose Him, but it must exist as a real option, not just an either/or
alternative, as in, “You must choose either eternal happiness, or eternal
damnation.” That would be a forced choice. Who wouldn’t choose love
with God, if hell was the only alternative? Actually, many do make this
mad choice, but that involves a complicated answer that is unnecessary for the
present point, which is, that God does in fact offer a very attractive
alternative to rejecting Him. It is the same alternative offered in the
prehistory of Adam and Eve. It is the immediate attraction of short term
happiness which is in conflict with the long term commitment to an eternal
relationship with God. It is the choice of self pursuit over the pursuit
enters the mystery of sin and suffering, the arena of free will -where God
allows Satan to test us, to provide us with real choice, to choose our eternal
destiny of love with God; or, by necessity, the default choice -an eternal destiny
without God, without love. What is offered us is a reward of infinite
magnitude. Therefore, the consequence of
rejecting His love is an incomprehensible reality -an eternal absence of love,
an eternal deprivation, an eternal loneliness.
cruel!” some will say. “How can an all loving God create such a hideous
thing as hell?” They have these thoughts because they are ignorant of the
Mind of God. They do not know the Truth. The words of Jesus
repeatedly speak how The Father does not want a single soul to be lost, that He
wants all men to be saved, that He even sent His Son to show us the way,
knowing that we would reject His words and kill him. God did not create
Hell. Hell is a consequence of our own making, of rejecting the Love that
God wants for us. It is the product of our sinful choices. It is a
personal consequence of rejecting God’s goodness. Just as cold is not a
created thing, it is merely the absence of heat, which is a created thing.
So too, evil is not a created thing, it is the absence of love. Sin
is not a created thing, it is the condition of living outside of God’s loving
will for us. We cannot blame evil, sin and hell on God. These are
of our own creation - the logical consequence of our rebellion against God’s
loving will for us.
fullness of all Truth is beyond comprehension. So too, is the mystery of Perfect Justice demanding short term injustice. That we are free to
reject Good, demands that God must allow evil to happen. All sin is
fundamentally selfishness. But all selfishness is not sin. Many desires
for our self are pleasing to God. Sin is choosing selfish desires
in opposition to God’s Will. When I sin, Goodness is denied to a wanting
world, which in turn brings evil into reality. This evil,
which is outside of God’s Perfect Justice, does not discriminate whether its victims
are deserving or innocent. If I steal, suffering visits my soul and the
world of the victim. That act is not part of God’s perfect will, for he
cannot desire what He despises. My
selfish act then, "demands" that God permits the injustice -in order to allow the
exercise of my free will. That the victim experienced unfairness due to
my sin cannot then be blamed on God.
what about innocent victims of random acts of nature? How can an all
loving God allow this kind of suffering? Since He’s all powerful He could
prevent earthquakes, famine, sickness, poverty, accidents, or the other
countless injustices. This is perhaps the biggest gun in the atheist’s defense
against God. In our search for Truth, questions take precedence over
answers. Small minded questions yield small minded answers. Cynical
questions don’t even wait for an answer.
Humble questions can lead to a lifetime of answers. The questions
we ask; how we ask them; and to whom or what our questions are submitted to,
will determine the depth of the Truth we seek. “Why
does a loving God allow us to suffer?” if asked cynically, yields futility.
If asked humbly, can bring meaning out of chaos.
question of suffering is indeed a question worthy to ponder, for though this is
ultimately a mystery, there are answers that allow us to peer into its veiled
truth. The answers are not for the faint of heart. They are not
what we want to hear, as in a child crying for its mother while the babysitter
is saying, “Mommy is not here, she will be back soon.” But, we do not
like that answer, so we continue crying for mommy. All must suffer. It is a condition of existence. We can
whine about it, use it as an excuse to throw God out of our life, or we can
seize it and take charge of our destiny.
do a word search of the bible for “suffering” and its related terms, a trove of
wisdom will present itself. Assimilating those words is not at all like
eating candy, and everything like holding your nose to swallow nasty tasting
medicine. Suffering was unequivocally what drove me to darken the
door of that church were Angel Lady touched me. It was suffering that God
used to point my Disinterested Soul toward the answers only He could provide.
never adapted the strategy of softening His words to keep the faint of heart
from shriveling in response. He just spoke the Truth. Days before
His crucifixion, He said, if we want to be His followers, we must take up our
cross and follow Him. He did not offer us a detailed explanation,
just the Truth for us to ponder. He certainly didn't water it down to increase the number of followers.
Corinthians 12:8, Paul shares how three times he asked God to remove an
affliction (miracles remain a possibility for believers) but God told him that
His power is at its best in weakness. Without suffering weakness, we
cannot know God’s strength. Without His rescue, our faith could not know
victory. Roman 8:28 says, “We know that by turning everything to
their good God co-operates with all those who love him…”. Suffering
then, is God’s opportunity to demonstrate His love and power -for those whose
faith places them into His loving care.
is like water, you can sink in it and drown, or you can float on it and use it
to get to the other side. Floating is an unnatural act. When you’re
fighting the water, you’re being pulled down into its death, but if you relax
and surrender into it, it will buoy you up. Faith is an unnatural act.
If we fight suffering it will want to drown us, but if in faith, we
surrender ourselves into the hands of God, He will buoy us up and deliver us to
the other side.
not usually our choice to suffer, but we can always choose how to suffer.
2 Cor7:10 reads: “To suffer in God's way means changing for the better
and leaves no regrets, but to suffer as the world knows suffering brings death.”
The world’s way of suffering is to mask it with drugs or distractions, or
to flee from it with all our might, but in the end it leads to death. But
God’s plan offers a path through suffering, transcending death, offering
deliverance and life. There are thousands more words in Scripture giving
wisdom to the mystery of suffering, waiting to be sought and pondered.
end this address on suffering and God’s love on a philosophical note. If
we can fantasize a utopia world devoid of all suffering, then I propose that
world could not harbor humanity. If everything was easy, if all struggle
was absent, if there were no need to be concerned about tomorrow, and there
never existed a need beyond reach, then that world would produce a species
devoid of muscle, initiative, perseverance, heroes and saints, even atheists
could not exist there, only a robotic race, incapable of transcendent love,
could exist. This is reality: That we exist in a universe which demands
suffering. For those who believe, who find faith in God’s Word, there is the
comfort of His Unconditional Love, which provides a hope and joy that
transcends this world, now and for eternity, and maybe, there are even
miracles. For the unbeliever, there is not this.
promises are held out to us as long as we have breath, until our last chance to
choose. Hebrews 9:37 “…he has made his appearance once and for all,
now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself.
Since men only die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, too,
offers himself … to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.”
faith’s greatest hurtles, is that the Good News seems too good to be true, that
Scripture is great for greeting card clichés, but not for application to real
life scenarios. We can read it, quote it, but until we live it, we will
never know the depth of its truth. If you give God permission to guide
your life according to His will, and you faithfully follow His Word, then you
will know the Truth and it will set you free to be the person you are destined
to be. I know this in Faith, because I have come to Believe in what I cannot
see or explain.
precedes knowledge of God. I didn’t really know until I first believed. And the more I grow in faith, the more God becomes known to me. I
saved this argument to the last because it is not only unscientific, but
illogical. Yet, it is not in the least unreasonable -because like Thomas
the doubter, I believe because I have seen with my own eyes. What I have personally
experienced, what I had previously only known second hand, now has taken on a
concrete, unshakable knowing. This is indeed reasonable to me.
Understandably, it cannot be as reasonable to you, as my first hand
experience is still second hand to you, though perhaps, it is at least not now
third or fourth hand. Perhaps now, in trusting the word of someone you
know, you will find the faith to trust in the God you may not know.
is mystery. It is illogical yet reasonable, it is beyond price yet free,
inaccessible to the unbroken, yet accessible to the broken. It is pure gift, yet it must be sought. It is an existential act of personal will,
yet dependent upon God’s grace. This
grace is the Finger Of God, making undreamable dreams come to life. It is a key begging to be turned -the Call to
transcendence, to commune with God; it is the Warmth that turns our face toward
Truth. This Grace ...which leads to Faith ...which leads to Truth, is the subject of these last few pages which is an excerpt of a talk for our prayer group.
III. An Excerpt From A Talk -To Know, Love &
created us body, mind and soul that we might love and serve Him with all the
strength and capacity of our body, mind and soul. Indeed, this is the
“Great Commandment” he enjoined upon us: To love the Lord our God with all our
heart, mind, soul, and strength. But is this not also the “Great
Impossibility”? Are we not dependent on our senses to understand what
lies beyond our self? Does this not then make God the Great Unknowable?
Is it not then, impossible for us to love God?
are two answers. The disheartening answer is yes. It is impossible for us
to know God, let alone to love Him, for we cannot love what we do not know.
God, as the object of our love, cannot be seen, or touched, tasted, or
smelled. And even if we could somehow sense Him, His majesty is so infinitely
beyond our finite ability to comprehend Him that we would surely be blind, if
we said that we could see. Confined then, to the limitations of our
finite-ness, and confronted with the Infinite-ness of a God, who sustains the
Cosmos by merely willing it to be, would it not then, be wholly illogical, as well as
utterly audacious, for Man-The-Creature to even consider attaining this
personal relationship called love, with the Creator-Of-All-That-Is? The
answer is most assuredly, a disheartening “Yes!”
we need not be disheartened, for there is another answer: His name is
Jesus, The-One-Who-Saves! He is the One-Sent to bring the Good News -that,
what is impossible for man, is possible for God! We cannot find God, so
God reveals Himself to us! It is for this that God became man, that we
might know Him. It is for this, that The Father sent His only begotten
Son, Jesus, to become subject to our sin, to suffer and die, that we might live
in Truth, that we may know the Way. Thus, we do not first love God, but
He first loves us. The Unknowable Truth became knowable in the
Incarnation. The Pre-Existing-Son took on our nature, that the carnal may
know the Incarnate. This is the Good News – that the
Father-Of-All-That-Is has willed to pour into our hearts, through the blood of
His Son, the very Manifestation of their Love, the gift of His Holy Spirit.
desired to share His love, that He spoke us into existence, that we may choose
Him, and participate for all eternity in His Triune Love. And anyone who
surrenders to this Love will come to know Him as the Fullness of All Desire.
We will come to know the purpose for which we were created: To know, love
and serve our Creator –with all our heart, with our entire mind, and with all
our soul. Such is the mind of God. So it is that we have come to be
in Love with God, not from any causal act from within, but from a response to a
Gift from outside our realm of existence or knowing, from the very Heart of
time for The-One-Sent drew near to return to His Father, Jesus with a Heart
now breaking with Love’s Sorrow, promised He would not leave us orphaned.
He revealed that He was going to prepare a room for us in His Father’s
house. He made known the desire of His Father’s heart –that from
eternity, we have been destined to be one in Him and Him in us. Then,
taking on the position of Our Servant, Jesus washed our sin dirt feet, and
bequeathed to us His unceasing presence of Body, Mind, Soul and Divinity, by
instituting the Holy Eucharist. Only then, did He set out to Calvary, to
burn into history, the indelible image of His Love. And after rising from
the dead, He comforted us with many tender goodbyes before ascending to His
place at the right hand of His Father. Being faithful to His Promise, He
breathed His Holy Spirit upon us, establishing His Church, promising that it
will prevail till the end of time, when He will come again, to gather His
Faithful into the fullness of His Love, into the Bosom of the Father.
were not this wondrously created just so God could have subjects to lord over.
God is Love and He created us to be in love in Him, with all the strength
of our body, mind and soul. As we grow into the Image-We-Reflect, we
discover our true identity: that we belong to the One who loves us. The more
we surrender to the grace of this Truth, the more we are driven to respond to the
One Who Loves us -the One Who Betrothed Himself to us.
more we desire God over self the more we begin to glimpse this Incomprehensible
Love. We find ourselves desiring to respond to His Love, desiring to
respond like a bride, who longs for ever deeper ways to express the longing for
her Beloved that is bursting in her heart. It is here we discover that
the room Jesus went to prepare for us is not just a fancy room for us to hang
our hat for eternity, but that this room is his Bridal Chamber for the eternal
consummation of his Love for us, and our love for Him. This room is the
Bosom of God, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Womb of the Holy Spirit – the
place where He is in us and we are in Him. God’s Love never ceases to
surprise, and one of these surprises, is that this Room which is waiting for us
in heaven, is even now, receiving us this moment. It is our Father’s ”
Son-Room”, a Place For Praise, a place that transcends time and space, a room
built by The Carpenter just for us, a place to encounter our God in our heart,
the “Portico for Praise”.
the Incarnate Son of our Transcendent God, loves us! But, how can we
possibly respond in like kind? We are mere finite creatures. He is
the Infinite Creator. What can we possibly give that He does not already
have, or, that He has not first given us? The answer is again, Jesus!
He gave Himself to us that we might become an acceptable gift to His
Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. This mystery of grace is
what opens the door to our desire for God. Jesus is the source of our
desire. And it is this desire, this act of our will, the surrendering
into His love, which becomes our personal gift. In truth, the surrender
of our life is a “re-gifting” of what God has given us. Yet, in his eyes,
it is no less a precious gift.
came to show us how to love His Father, and to enable us with the gifts of
Grace and Faith, through the power of His Holy Spirit, that we may do, what for
us is impossible: To know and love God. Yes, Jesus gave Himself to us, in
the fullness of His Love, in the fullness of His Holy Spirit, and in the
fullness of the Eucharist as Body, Soul and Divinity, all, that we may return
to Him the sacrificial offering of His Love, rebranded as our own. He
literally has given to us Himself, who is Love, that we, with our sin
disfigured image, may be reconstituted, reborn, that we may re-present
ourselves as the love offering we were intended to be from eternity, that we
may become a holy Sacrifice of Praise.
after receiving this Revelation, this Good News, we accept the gifts of Grace
and Faith in Jesus, then never again, can we believe it is impossible to live
in love with God. Truth, once known, can never again become unknown.
Whether, we embrace it, or renounce it, this Truth will forever remain
Known to our spirit. It will forever live, as Wisdom or as Guilt,
demanding to be expressed in the living of our life –with all of the strength
of our heart and mind and soul. With this conviction of our purpose, how
do we respond in like to God’s Love for us? What is it about Jesus’ life
that shows us how to love His Father? What does it mean that we are to
love as He loved us?
defining image of Jesus’ life is the Sacrificial Lamb. He chose to
surrender His privilege – to be humbled as a man, to become the Obedient Slave.
He chose the path to Calvary, to surrender to the Father’s Will.
His sacrificial life was not based on the good feelings He was having.
It was not based on His need for approval, or comfort, or even the desire
to live. Everything He did was based on one condition: That it was
in Truth, that it was the Father’s Will. God’s Love is always sacrificial.
At every moment, the Father was willing to sacrifice his Beloved Son, and
Jesus was willing to sacrifice His rights and needs, to fulfill His destiny on
too is our destiny -to love as Jesus loved us – to love as Sons and Daughters
of God, to sacrifice our Self on the altar of life. To say that love is
sacrificial is like saying water is wet. If we must bleed in order to
love, then we must know that from his Cross a river of blood flows. This
Blood is the Love that heals our wounds. It is the Blood that we drink to
nourish our body, mind and soul. It is the Blood of Christ that gives us
the strength to die to our self, and reason to live for the God of Life.
is contrary to our base nature. Our instinct is to live for self.
Hence, the battle line is drawn: To live for Love or Self.
Our spirit, and the Holy Spirit within, draws us towards love. Our
sin and the Adversary, Satan, draws us toward self. This is a most
dangerous arena, where humility is our only hope, for selfishness and pride are
two sides of the same coin. Pride is the primary sin. Pride is the
delusion where our Self and the great “I AM” are confused as one, where our needs
and worth are valued above all. All mankind has been consigned to this
battle: to serve God or Self.
-End of talk excerpt
you for inviting my thoughts into your heart.
They are who I am and what I believe. I pray you will ponder them,
that they will be of service to you in your search for Truth, in your efforts
to help others in their search. Please, receive my love and hope, and
freely pass along these words as you see fit.
-Your Dad, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Nephew, Friend