As much as I like to eat fish, for the fifth or sixth time I went out on the pier to find that the fish weren’t biting, and it was blistering hot in the sun. So once again, I was just in time to give Bill a ride to his apartment. Bill was in the shelter at the end of the pier as is his usual ritual for the past twenty years. Being debilitated because of stomach problems, he spends the early part of each day fishing. I was beginning to wonder if God had sent me there in response to Bill’s prayers, and I asked him so as we walked from the pier to my car.
Bill’s reply was, “I’m an atheist who doesn’t believe in a God who cares. If there is a God, He tried to kill me yesterday with a lightning strike.”
Then I remembered that there was a violent lighting storm yesterday about this same time of day, and he must have gotten caught in the rain on the way to his apartment. After we entered the car, I said to Bill, “Do you know what the Bible says about people that don’t believe in God?”
“It says, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”
Now I know that Bill isn’t a dummy, having aspired to be a medical doctor and was a pi beta kappa in college. I just surmised from this that he was angry at God for his ailments – as so many people are.
I followed up my defense with, “Haven’t you ever considered the wonder of man and woman and their ability to pro-create, and about how plants and trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen for us to breathe?”
I followed up with the miracle of eyesight and asked, “Can you show me a scientist that can make the lowly egg already packaged in a shell?” I could have gone on and on, but I think he got the picture.
Bill was stuck dumb for an answer and was quiet for a little while as he mulled over some possible answers. But then he changed the subject altogether and proceeded to tell me how he doesn’t sleep, and lays awake every night with the television on till the wee hours of the morning.
Just then, we had reached his apartment, and I was prompted to ask him if I could pray for him. “Bill, I’d like to pray for you. Would you mind?”
“Sure, why not; I need all the help I can get.”
So, I proceeded to pray for Bill in a non-condescending way. After all, I had already called him a fool. “Heavenly Father, give Bill the rest and comfort he needs, in Jesus name, Amen.” (Putting on a show of piety is not in my nature, and so I make my prayers for others and myself – short and sweet.)
Bill thanked me as usual and hobbled away in deep thought as I drove away about my business.
There are millions of people just like Bill. People searching for answers for peace of mind and assurance, but the last place they look is in the Bible.
Two days later, and I’m out on the pier again, this time trying to catch some fish to eat. As usual, I encounter a retiree, and I strike up a conversation. This healthy, robust man begins telling me of his fears for his grandchildren what with all that’s taking place in our country. He claims to have studied law and went on and on about how the crazies were ruling the country and how there was chaos everywhere – to which I could only agree.
After letting him have his say, I asked him if he was a Christian. He said he was a Catholic – a lame one at that. This opened the door for me to tell him of my conversion experience with Christ and how I believed we were living in the Last Days. He quit trying to impress me with his doctorates and degrees and became intrigued by what I had to say. His visage said it all: “I didn’t know that!” – I had given him something to think about tonight. Maybe he’ll crack open the family Bible that’s been gathering dust on the shelf.
By now I had rigged up my line and finally said goodbye. I walked toward the middle of the pier. But I no sooner get started than I see Bill come hobbling down the pier toward me. He sat on the bench where I had laid my fishing gear- a small tackle shoulder bag. I could tell he needed a ride home as sweat gathered on his brow, and again the fish weren’t biting, so I offered him a ride. He let out a sigh of relief and said thank you.
I can only assume that God has been working this thing out; the timing was once again perfect.
Books to read
As all my readers know, I usually have a book to recommend, and this time one was sent to me written by one of them.
It was a good read, crisp and clean and better than most self-published work.
The title of the book is Out Giving God, a book that started out to be a reality check on faith in God.
I liked the book because it pulled no punches and didn’t gloss over or make excuses for failures in the life of a Christian.
Like so many author Christians, Russel Bonds was “saved at childhood,” grew up in a church-going family, and tried to do everything right. But the time came when he was finally tested. “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So, when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (I Peter 1:7).
This book is a good testimonial for those who are going through a rough patch in their faith.
You can order the book at www.jekandrusty.com.
(Over the years I’ve talked to some that had left the faith because things didn’t turn out the way they expected. If they had read scripture, they would have found that Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”)