Psalm 53:1 - The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.
You don't like being depressed, do you? Of course you don't; neither do I. But I did get depressed when I recently read a quote from Bertrand Russell's 1903 essay: "A Free Man's Worship." Let me share a few excerpts and, when I'm done, you tell me how you feel.
Russell wrote, "The life of Man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent Death. ... let us remember that they are fellow-sufferers in the same darkness, actors in the same tragedy as ourselves. ... Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. ...."
That's the quote. How did Mr. Russell make you feel? Can you believe he was urging people to make the most of every day? Somehow he seems to have missed the mark.
Still there are many who have come to the conclusion that Mr. Russell was absolutely right in believing that a person lives his life trying to make the best of a bad situation. He tries and then he dies.
That's it. That's the end.
Years ago I had the funeral of a young man. Afterward, I visited the family. It was a good visit until the mother said, "You know, I wish I could believe what you said at our son's funeral, but I can't. I believe that you live, and you die, and that's it. I'm going to cry for my son and for all of us who are going to miss him, but I'm not going to try and pretend we're going to get together someday in one long, never-ending reunion. It's just not going to happen."
That mother, along with much of this world, holds fast to the creed which says, "Here today, gone tomorrow." Those who adhere to such a philosophy think that Christianity is a crutch, a spiritual support, a mental prop that holds up those who aren't strong enough, smart enough, able enough to face life's troubles and tragedies, struggles and scuffles, on their own.
They believe the Christian religion is utter gibberish, total nonsense: a mighty mass of inconsistencies, a hodgepodge of the ridiculous, ludicrous and preposterous.
Well, Christianity and the Savior are something different to me.
First, it is the true story of how God wishes to save us. Internal proofs and external evidences prove God's Son lived, died and rose, so we might be rescued. Jesus is proof that the Triune God is omnipotent, and death -- as Mr. Russell believes -- is not.
Next, it is the only narrative that guarantees salvation to those who have been washed of their sins in the Savior's blood.
And, of course, the idea of the Savior taking me to a place where there are no more tears is far more comforting than Russell's "long march through the night."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the skeptic and cynic try to divest themselves of Your love and separate themselves from the Savior. Grant they may realize the truth of Your love and the extent of their mistake. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries