|Years passed. I found myself alone in a crowd of
people. The preacher spoke of Jesus and heaven, but I wasn't listening. All I could think
of was Janie, lying there in the ground, cold and lifeless. For some reason the singular
warmth of my life, a loving and happy little girl, was no more. What was the preacher
saying about parting on earth but joining hands in heaven? Why is it that ministers get so
bold at funerals? You ask them to say a few kind words for a loved one and they preach a
sermon. By the end of the service my wife was under conviction and shortly after the
funeral she received Christ as her Saviour. I didn't take it that way. My bitterness of
spirit increased, and I repeatedly cursed God.
After rejecting this opportunity, I turned to drinking. Over the next few months my wife's incredible patience with me and her fervent prayers on my behalf made me furious, so I started carousing with other women. Finally I left my wife and two boys. She raised them in church and taught them to love the Lord. All I could think of was Janie, and I still blamed God for her death. My heart was hardened, and once again I cursed God. To this day my wife has remained faithful to me and to God. If only I had heeded her prayers, I could look forward to eternal life with her and my boys in heaven. How I longed to be with them and to hold them. Love of self mixed with rancor and hatred had kept me from God.
That old preacher standing in the street was right. Only one life is available to us. If we don't accept then, judgment follows. I didn't know what was in store for me, but whatever it was, it couldn't be much worse than the personal hell I had put myself through on earth. Why did I personally resist and reject God? Why? That question will gnaw at my insides for all eternity. I will forever ponder the foolishness of my decision.
Now that I was assured of God's existence, I wanted to stay where He was. Whatever kept me from believing before was gone. Bitterness and hate had turned to awe. As I stood there, facing the final seat of judgment, the question, "Why?" flashed on and off like a neon sign in the dark night. Suddenly I had the answer. It wasn't my fault. It was God's. Yes, opportunity to accept Christ had come repeatedly, but God had failed to make His message real in my life. How was I to believe when almost everyone on earth mocked God? After all, it takes faith to believe. How can a man be expected to believe in God when that unknown quantity is so great? How could I have exercised enough faith to be certain that the Bible was God's Word? As I stood there, confident that my new-found logic would surely help my cause, His still, calm voice pierced the silence.
"You say that you are not accountable because of the tremendous faith involved, and yet you feel certain that, because I demand faith in that which you cannot see, you are absolved of all responsibility to My Word. In light of the evidence of My dealings with man in the past, does it not take greater faith to believe that there is no God?"
I had never thought of it that way. My inflated confidence suddenly burst like a giant balloon. I simply never realized that I had exhibited faith in rejecting God. Why were all those people willing to gamble eternity on the chance that God did not exist? Was their claim based on strong evidence? Has man seriously evaluated his position? When God presents His claims to the soul of man, why does man reject them? The world seems to speak of God whenever it is convenient. Obviously the God before whose throne I stood was not a commodity to be used by man whenever he felt the need. This God was God. I remember the movie I once saw on the Ten Commandments. Even in that Hollywood production the power of God was vigorously demonstrated. I never allowed God to enter and change my life. To be sure, I possessed an awareness of God, and like most people I acknowledged Him, if not with my praise, certainly with my anger, for bitterness and cursing at the name of God must argue that I knew deep down He was there.
For the first time I understood the real problem. God has given us His Word as a warning. He has revealed Himself on earth, but man has placed himself above God. Instead of believing what God says, we accept and reject what we want. By doing this we establish our own authority above the Word of God. He was telling me, in essence, that I thought more of myself and my own opinion than I did of Him. My service to self had become more important than my service to Him. As one of His creatures I should have obeyed and worshipped the Almighty Creator. Instead I rejected His revelation and refused to recognize God as God, but why? Why?
Once again that three letter word pierced my being. Like the needle on a sewing machine, it repeatedly pricked my conscience as I searched endlessly for the answer. What caused me to react as I did? Was it my father? My friends?
It suddenly occurred to me that the majority of people shared my view. Almost everybody maintained an in-between position, predicating the existence of God but never recognizing Him as God.
On earth it was comfortable to be in the majority, but now I realized that truth cannot be maintained by a majority vote. Truth is truth. God's Word is the true standard. Even if all the people in the world rejected His message, His Word would remain truth. The majority were wrong. They too had failed to uphold God's standard and believe His Holy Word. We had missed the mark and in so doing had condemned ourselves to destruction.