I have a number of friends and relatives (and some of them are dear) who are convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that God simply doesn't exist. This attitude is not confined to a particular class of individuals, but encompasses all genders, races and political affiliations. Many are of a liberal bent; these maintain their optimism in the face of the many problems we face as a modern society by trusting (desperately) in the virtues of leaders who may not be all that virtuous. But others are political conservatives; these are becoming more uptight moment by moment about our numerous and increasing problems.

 

Regardless of who or what they are, they echo a common theme: if God is real, why doesn't He show Himself to us in a convincing way?

 

The short answer is this: God does show Himself – to those who want to see Him.

 

As for a more detailed answer, there are several facets to this pattern of God, each of which has its own answer. The answers are related: the common theme is God's love toward mankind. First, the Great Commandment of God is that we love Him with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our might (see Deuteronomy 6:4 and 5, and Matthew 22:36-38). As an integral part of that commandment, God demands (yes, demands) of us as a token of our choice to love Him (and yes, it is indeed a choice) that we exercise faith – that we place our trust in His existence, His goodness, and His love toward us. Second, for those individuals who have not yet accepted Him in faith, and who have no notion of Him as their Creator, He is an alien entity. If He showed Himself with anything like the power He actually possesses, He'd not only get these non-acceptors' attention, He'd get a loyalty all right, but it would be based on an unpleasant kind of fear instead of the love that He seeks from us all. Third, we tend to be focused on the near and the immediate, failing to see the big picture. We need instead to appreciate the magnificence of God, to search for His Hand in the affairs of man in terms of the grand sweep of history.

 

So it's a simple matter of choice: we see what we want to see. If we don't want God in our lives, for all practical purposes He doesn't exist. If we do, He does. The more earnest desire we exercise in seeking Him, the more we get to see of Him. It is a characteristic of us humans that we have very poor eyesight when it comes to matters spiritual. We are, in fact, quite blind. To the Christian, however, God has supplied corrective lenses with which he can begin to see. I stress the word 'begin', because the glasses are kind of fuzzy at first. They need polishing, and that takes commitment – the more commitment, the clearer the view.

 

In previous postings I have dwelt at length on America's revolutionary period. The following, as recorded by Marshall and Manuel in The Light and the Glory, is an example of an account that can fully satisfy both the believer and the unbeliever, just as God would wish – to the believer, the Hand of God, and to the unbeliever, mere coincidence:

 

No sooner had the colonies issued the Declaration of Independence than British General Howe landed troops on Staten Island. By August 27, 1776, the British, having virtually surrounded the greatly outnumbered Americans, attacked. By the afternoon, the Americans were trapped in a defensive position on the northern tip of Brooklyn. Inexplicably and quite beyond all logic, Howe failed to pursue his obvious advantage to secure the easy victory. On the evening of the 28th, a wind came up that prevented Howe's ships from entering the East River, allowing Washington to execute a dangerous gamble: withdrawing his men by small boat, just as Britain did at Dunkirk almost two centuries later. Call it serendipity, but among the last of the American troops to have come to Staten Island happened to be expert boatmen who were capable of executing the dangerous and tricky maneuver. The storm had abated, allowing the operation to proceed, but with the arrival of morning the evacuation was not nearly complete. A dense fog then spread over the scene, remaining until the operation was completed, after which it immediately lifted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Art Perkins