It’s hard for some to say, isn’t it? Belief in God is not easy for many people.
A man wandered much too close to a cliff and fell over the edge. While plummeting to a certain death, he reached out and just happened to catch onto a frail, fragile branch sticking out of the mountain wall. He hung there for a while and then started screaming for help. He finally heard a voice from above say, “Let go of the branch.”
“Who said that?” the man fearfully but hopefully asked.
“This is God, your Father, in heaven. I’m telling you that all will be well. Let go of the branch.”
The man thought for a moment, then screamed back, “Is there anybody else up there?”
In today’s world of scientific inquiry, honest questioning is a part of the fabric of our culture, and it is harder to trust God. We see tragedy on the news every evening, and it makes believing in a benevolent God more challenging.
Adolf Hitler was the personification of evil in the 20th century. When his Nazi regime was about ready to overtake Bonn, Germany, a theologian there had to make an important decision. The theologian was a man named Karl Barth. He was one of the most significant theologians of the 20th century. He decided to leave his prestigious teaching position at the famous University of Bonn, make his way across the southern border of Germany to his home of Switzerland. He then enlisted in the Swiss army and served until the war was over. Then he returned to his teaching post at the University of Bonn. During the war, the city of Bonn and the university had been bombed to smithereens.
Classes began again amidst all the mess, as bulldozers and cranes and all types of heavy equipment began to re-build. Karl Barth stood before his first class, after the devastation and death of the war, and began class by writing these words in German on the board: “Ich Glaube an Gott” — “I believe in God.”
The Old Testament character, Job, who suffered greatly, said, “Though He would slay me, yet I will trust in him.”
We believe in God in spite of tough times in life and even though we have not always known His presence.
A little boy wanted to go to a friend’s birthday party that was about a half-mile down the street. His dad had promised that he would walk with him, but on the day of the party there was a heck of a snowstorm. His dad said, “There is no way we can drive there, and there is no way I am going to let you walk in this storm.”
The little boy begged and begged and begged: “All my friends are going, please, please let me go.”
Finally, much to the surprise of the little boy (and his mother), the dad said OK. The little boy bundled up and as he opened the front door, a bitter wind hit him in the face. The snow was blowing so hard that he could barely see. It took him twice the time that it would have normally taken to get to his friend’s house. As he got to the front porch and rang the door bell, he glanced around one more time at the ferocious snow storm. When he turned he saw the silhouette of his father walking back down the sidewalk. His dad had followed him all the way there. His dad had been with him, and he didn’t even know it.
As Christians gather for worship during the season of Lent, we believe in God, who has walked with us on life’s journey, sometimes unseen, but there nonetheless.
Say it with me: “I believe in God.”
Davis is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Carrollton.