"Edwin, I know I can be open with you. Since Connie died . . . well, even though I made a 'decision' some time ago, I seem to have lost faith in God. In fact, I haven't prayed in weeks. I feel bitter that He let her die. I wouldn't have bothered to come back and see you except for the fact that last night I had a dream that I have had a number of times since the war. In it, a minister keeps pointing to me, out of all the people in the room, and accusing me of different things. I'm confused as to what I'm supposed to do. One thing I do know, I can't go on as before; living in blind faith as though everything was all right. Not only that, I'm not sure of the Bible. Connie would read it all the time but I had no desire to . . . "
Edwin had a gentle firmness in his voice as he said,
"Oh, being a Christian isn’t a matter of 'blind faith.' The world thinks that that is what is required, but it is not true.
"Seeing as you mentioned it, let's look at the Bible for a moment and see if you can be 'sure' of its authenticity. It was written over a period of 3,000 years by as many as fifty different authors; from kings to fishermen, and yet there is incredible consistency throughout the whole of Scripture. Take for instance how God said of the Jews in Deuteronomy, that if they obeyed Him and kept His Law they would have His blessings of long life, health and prosperity. However, if they disobeyed Him and became godless, giving themselves to idolatry which would lead to all types of sexual sin, greed, corruption, etc., He would allow them to be delivered into the hands of their enemies, so that, as a nation, they would be humbled and seek Him once again. This happened time and time again throughout the Old Testament, and has continued to happen right up until this present day.
"One interesting consistency is that the number forty is God's number of deliverance. The Old Testament and the New Testament harmonize in this. In fact, in Chapter Seven of the Book of Acts, Stephen mentions that God delivered Moses from Egypt when he was 40 years old. Then He waited 40 years before He used Him to deliver Israel from Egypt. He also says that the Jews were in the wilderness for 40 years before God delivered them into the land of Canaan. This is unwavering--right throughout scripture, attesting to the fact that only God could have inspired such unerring consistency, and it's only one example of literally hundreds of perfect harmonies of numerical symmetry. That alone should convince an honest skeptic to at least set aside his doubts for a moment."
He stopped his mini-sermon for a moment and smiled at the thought of an "honest skeptic" because they were so few and far between, then said,
"But there are also many infallible prophecies which have been perfectly fulfilled such as the Jews getting Jerusalem back in 1967, something God had promised thousands of years previous. But there is something else you need to hear."
Jerry sat up in his seat and said,
"I don't doubt God's existence. What bothers me is the fact that I keep having this dream telling me I need to repent! I don't get it; I’m really not a bad person?"
The old minister leaned forward in his chair a little and said,
"Jerry, you've been candid with me so I trust you will let me be direct with you. Let me ask you a question. Have you obeyed the Ten Commandments?" Jerry smiled and said,
"No, I have broken one or two . . . but who hasn't? What I am more concerned with is the fact that God allowed my wife to get cancer, then He let her die . . . where’s the justice in that?" Edwin seemed to ignore that remark. He said,
"Well, let's look at God's Law for a moment and see how you do. How many lies do you think you have told in your whole life?"
In a flash Jerry thought of his childhood in Texas, his years in German, then the lies he told in England and those he told to Connie, when he was committing adultery. "Quite a few. But who hasn't lied. I think we are all guilty?"
"What does that make you?" asked the good minister.
"A sinner, I guess." The next statement made him shuffle in his seat,
"Yes, but more specifically . . . a liar. Have you ever stolen something, even if it's small?" Jerry said he had.
"What does that make you?" "A thief, " came the answer.
The Reverend’s eyes twinkled as he said, “No. It makes you a lying thief.” He then looked at the Bible he had opened on his lap and read:
"You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery in his heart."
To be continued...