Category: Devotional

On Atheists and Foxholes

“Do you know the multiplication tables? Long division?”

“I know of them…”

This hilarious exchange took place on S08E02 of the Simpsons. Barts knowledge OF these mathematical principles is of no use when the time comes to actually employ them. Bart needs direct, useful knowledge of what these methods are, how to make use of them, and when each is required to solve a problem.

It’s not that different with our man, Job. He was a righteous man. He had heard about the Lord of Adam and Noah, and sought to serve Him and live by the words and edicts that had been passed down about Him. But Job did not KNOW God. He says as much in Chapter 42, and verse 5, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (NLT)

Many years ago I was chatting with an older mentor of mine who grew up behind the Iron Curtain. I had heard terrible stories of life under communism in the USSR and I asked him what it was like. Was it bad? What was the worst thing about it? The best? I must have asked him 5 or 6 questions before I bothered to let him respond. When I finally paused to give him the floor, he shrugged.

“Yeah, communism was bad,” he said casually, as if giving the time. It was clear from his delivery that the next part of the sentence was where the meat of his assessment lie. He continued in his unmistakable Eastern European accent, “but we had God.” He smiled.

That’s it?!? I was incredulous and trying (perhaps poorly) to hide it. ‘It was bad, but we had God’?? Everyone has God! What does that even mean?! My disappointment was palpable. I wanted the nitty gritty stories about the horrors behind the Iron Curtain, but this is what I got instead. Some time later I began to understand what he meant by that. Having nothing forced his family to look to and rely on God. There was nothing else. Even as a poor college student my life was so relatively comfortable that I had no need of God. I loved God and wanted to serve Him… but I didn’t NEED Him. The difference is a critical one.

When you come to a place — as Job did — where everything is gone, where this is nowhere to turn and nothing to cling to. Finally, at last, you turn to God. And those among us who have been pushed to the edge by the circumstances of life at the request of the Accuser… we will see God with our own eyes. We will understand Him and what He can do in a way those of us who live in constant comfort never truly can.

This is why they say there are no atheists in foxholes.

Job 40:6-42:17 | 031/365