September 3, 2011
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." ... Psalm 14:1a
We often think that denying God is a recent invention. It isn't.
Back in the 1800s, the most famous atheist was a fellow by the name of Robert G. Ingersoll. So strong was his doubting of the Lord's grace that he took his show on the road, making speeches in large towns and small.
One time, Ingersoll took out his watch and said, "I'll give God a chance to prove that He exists. I challenge Him to strike me dead within 15 minutes!"
Those who were there said: at first there was silence. It was so silent people in the back rows could hear that watch tick. The silence was soon replaced by uneasiness. Some folks left the lecture hall; one woman fainted.
At the end of the 15 minutes, Ingersoll proudly said, "I am still here. My proof is solid: there is no God!"
That's when a Christian lady stood up and said, "But sir, you haven't proven that there is no God. All you've done is proved that God isn't taking orders from atheists tonight."
Knowing that he had been bested, Ingersoll never used that illustration again.
Did that story make you smile? It most certainly brings about that reaction from me.
When I think upon the courage of that lady as she took her stand, I smile -- and I smile a second time when I realize that once again God allowed a David to bring down a Goliath.
Sadly, in every generation there are many Christians who believe that the world is smarter than they are, may even be "righter" than they. Well, some unbelievers may be smarter than some of us, but we have something they don't have: we have the Lord's story of salvation.
We have God's truth which speaks of His Son coming to earth so He might pay the ransom price for our salvation.
The fool may not like that story which tells of Jesus' wonderful sacrifice and our redemption. Indeed, like Ingersoll, he may continue to believe there is no God; it is his right. But the day will come that he will find the Lord remains in the driver's seat.
To warn unbelievers that Jesus Christ can save them from a most unpleasant day -- that is the message which we are privileged to share. It is our joy to let a lost and sinful world know the Triune God remains in control.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world wishes to deny You and intimidate us. May we recognize that when all is said and done, You remain in control. For having sent Your Son to defeat sin, death and devil, for allowing Him to save me, I give thanks. Grant me the gift to share Jesus' story with those who don't know the Lord of love. In my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries