Then I Wondered
By DANNY MINTON
I walked into the backyard one evening, sat in the rocker, and gazed into the clear night sky. I thought about the grandeur of all the heavenly bodies that God placed within our sight. Then I wondered, “How many others over the centuries had gazed at the same array and felt the awe of something greater than man?”
In the spring, I strolled through the yard taking in the beauty of different plants that had begun to bloom. Each plant had its distinct flower, different colors, different smells, and outward beauty. Then I wondered, “What made these plants so different? How does each decide what flower or the fragrance it sends forth?”
I wandered along the beach and came across a nest of turtle eggs hatching. The hatchlings escaped from their eggs and instinctively headed for the water. Then I wondered, “How did those small creatures, new to life, know what they were supposed to do the instant they were born?”
I sat and watched as a friend held someone’s newborn baby. The baby cried, then when handed back to her mother, she calmed down and went to sleep. Then I wondered, “How does a newborn know the difference when her mother takes her in her arms?”
Then I wondered, “How can people see all these wonders and not believe in God? How can we accept that so many wonders just happened by chance?” And then I wondered, “How can people live in a world where they don’t see God?”
As I thought about these questions, I remembered a short writing in a book given to me almost fifty years ago. The story has no title, nor does it need one. It speaks a clear message to all who read it.
Once a little boy said, “Where is God?”
And his mother said, “Eat your lunch.”
And he grew older.
And he asked a teacher, “Where is God?”
And the teacher said, “Do your homework.”
And he grew older.
And he asked a minister, “Where is God?”
And the minister said, “Go to church.”
And he grew older.
He ate his lunches
And he did his homework
And he went to church.
And pretty soon,
He didn’t ask any more
“Where is God?”
(God is No Fool, by Lois A. Chaney, Seventy-two)
God is not dead. He never died or went away. Many of our problems today occur because we have allowed God to be silent. However, his voice booms loudly all around us. It’s in the wonders of the universe, the stillness of a garden, the instinct of a tiny hatchling, and the heart of a newborn. He has become silent because we have allowed the world to cause us too often to back down.
It starts with the little things that infiltrate our world. We no longer walk out of movies where God’s name was profaned. References to God become erased in public places. In some countries, it is illegal to own a Bible. People hesitate to mention his name for fear someone will object to their being too “religious.” The results of the silence show in the growing number of people who are agnostic or atheist. Even though the voice of God is loud and clear all around them, they no longer ask, “Where is God?” And us? In our fears of what people will think, we remain silent. In our silence, fewer people pay attention to the resounding voice of God present in their daily lives.
We should never be ashamed to talk about God. It should never embarrass us to proclaim that we believe he is responsible for the wonders we enjoy. We should always be willing and involved in standing up for God in a world that pushes Him away.
I once heard the story of an infidel who was speaking to a large audience. As he preached to the people, he became more vocal about his insistence that “there is no God!” His intimidating speech quieted the audience. He became more antagonistic and dared anyone who believed in God to a debate. The crowd remained silent. Then, quietly in the corner of the balcony, a small group began to sing a hymn. Slowly it spread across the balcony and into the lower floor. People began to sing. Then they began to stand; when one song finished, another one began. The infidel watched in amazement, then in defeat quietly walked from the stage. The crowd had not allowed God to remain silent.
Of course, this is just a story, and this incident may not have happened. However, there have been times when people have stood up, not allowing God to be silenced by the world. The question remains, “Would I stand up for God in this situation?”
We cannot allow God to be silenced. A generation ignorant about God will have nothing about Him to pass on to the next. The results will be more and more people asking, “Where is God?” and never hearing an answer.
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ