The battle over the existence of God is waged no longer exculsively on college campuses and theological seminaries… it has moved to street level. Ordinary people are buying the lie that there is no one in the cosmos that sees, knows or cares for them. It isn’t enough for God’s people to debate it only in Sunday School class. We have to have an answer for anyone that asks us why we believe. I love this story shared by pastor John Ortberg:
“A woman I know named Sheryl went to a salon to have her nails manicured. As the beautician began to work, they began to have a good conversation about many subjects. When they eventually touched on God, the beautician said, “I don’t believe God exists.”
“Why do you say that?” asked Sheryl, who has MS.
“Well, you just have to go out on the street to realize God doesn’t exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine loving a God who could allow all these things.”
Sheryl thought for a moment. She didn’t respond because she didn’t want to start an argument. The beautician finished her job, and Sheryl left the shop.
Just after she left the beauty shop, she saw a woman in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair. She looked filthy and unkempt. Sheryl turned, entered the beauty shop again, and said to the beautician, “You know what? Beauticians do not exist.”
“How can you say that?” asked the surprised beautician. “I am here. I just worked on you. I exist.”
“No,” Sheryl exclaimed, “beauticians do not exist, because if they did, there would be no people with dirty, long hair and appearing very unkempt like that woman outside!”
“Ah, but beauticians do exist,” she answered. “The problem is, people do not come to me.”
Exactly. (Faith and Doubt, pp. 117-118.)
With your friend: Defend with compassion, answer with gentleness, but whatever you do, don’t forget to give a reason for the hope that you have inside. Their destiny may depend on it.