Home Page  My Blog  Books  Videos  Other Writings   Photography  My Church's Web Site  Bio Information   E-mail me
My novel
Kathryn's Fountain
 Now Available!

 Click HERE to go to
Kathryn's Fountain Home Page 

Now available to order online at
Cladach Publishing  Amazon  Books A Million Borders   Barnes & Noble
or at your favorite bookstore
The Divine Elephant

Reason Enough
for Embracing Today
Part 1
"Beyond Ignoring God"
Delivered the weekend of January  10 & 11

             Manford Gutzke had finished his day's teaching in the one-room schoolhouse and was walking across the western Canadian prairie to the boarding house where he lived.  He was a large man; he had been the boxing champion of the Canadian army.  Manford was an agnostic, not knowing whether or not God even existed, but he began to seriously think about God, in part because of a local farmer: a devout believer who every year donated two of his cattle to the local small church on their annual missions Sunday.
            As Manford walked across the prairie he was struck with a thought.  He later described the moment: “I stood in that field and pondered that thought.  If God exists, he could see me.  So,”  he said, “I took off my hat!  That may seem strange, but like most men in those days I wore a brimmed hat, and I always took it off in the presence of women, older people or other important persons.  So I took my hat off to God.”  (taken from The Attentive Life by Leighton Ford, pp.79-80)
            Gutzke's response reminds me of the psalmist who declared, “From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.” (Psalm 33:13-15)
            If God really exists, shouldn't that make all the difference in the world to us?  If God is, by definition, the biggest of anything that exists, nothing and no one should have a bigger impact on our lives than God!  He’s the divine elephant in the room! 

Confidence That God IS
            Manford Gutzke moved from being an agnostic — not being sure about God's existence — to becoming a fully-committed follower of God and His Son Jesus Christ.  I know that because I saw and heard Dr. Gutzke teach the Bible when I was an Iowa farm boy.  Every summer in June we traveled twenty miles to the Cedar Falls Bible Conference.  As we sat in the tabernacle made of open-beamed timber and sweltered in the summer's heat, we listened to great preachers from around the world.  One of them was Dr. Gutzke.  With his bushy eyebrows, large head, and gravelly voice, he confidently proclaimed God's message to us.
            How can we be confident that God IS: that He really exists?  There are many proofs for the existence of God.  For a detailed study of the subject I'd suggest reading Lee Strobel's book, The Case for the Creator.  Strobel is a lawyer and newspaper reporter who investigated the issues of faith and belief and became a believer in God by the sheer force of the evidence.  For now, let me just suggest two arguments for believing that God IS.
            First, you can argue that everything that exists had to come from somewhere.  Currently, the most popular belief about the origins of the universe is the Big Bang Theory: 14 billion years ago all that we know exists came into being from an astonishing explosion from an infinitesimally small point.  What prompted the Big Bang?
            With all of the energy and matter that exists in the universe, we have to ask where it all came from.  Everything that moves has had something that moved it.  The universe is constantly expanding; what started it moving?   What caused the Big Bang, if that was the way it happened?
            Aristotle, who lived three hundred years before Christ, taught that there must be an unmoved mover: a first cause that set the universe into motion.  Science studies cause and effect; what’s the cause for the effect we know as the universe?  The most logically satisfying solution is the belief that something outside our space/time continuum, something beyond energy and matter, brought it into existence.
            This is also the basic argument that the psalmist used: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)
            Let me suggest one more argument for God's existence: the existence of consciousness.  Consciousness — being aware of one's surroundings and being self-aware — is an astonishing miracle.  There’s no reason or need for consciousness for there to be satisfactory survival and spread of life.  The plant kingdom doesn't have consciousness, and seems to survive well without it.  The animal creation experiences consciousness in varying degrees, with humans having it as no other life form on earth does.  Consciousness isn't needed for life; it's a bonus!  Where did it come from?  The logical solution is that it came from someone who’s supremely conscious: a someone we call God!  Genesis states, “Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, . . .’”  (Genesis
            It’s far more intellectually satisfying for me to hypothesize that everything exists because of God than to say that it exists because of nothing!  In the Bible this hypothesizing of God is called by another name: faith.  There isn’t enough evidence to compel belief in God, but there’s enough evidence to make belief in God compelling!
            If belief in God is a reasonable position to take, how should that belief affect our lives?  I submit that it should affect our lives far beyond anything else!  We shouldn’t be able to ignore God in our lives.  He's the divine elephant in the room! 

The Divine Elephant in the Room
We often use the phrase “the elephant in the room” to emphasize something that can't be ignored.  It's a good image!  Imagine if there were a literal elephant in the room with you as you read this.  It would be hard to ignore!  Shouldn't God be hard to ignore if we have even a small grasp of who He is and what He’s like?
            The apostle Paul wrote about the Divine Elephant, though he didn’t use those words.  He wrote (concerning those who suppress the truth of God's reality, denying the Divine Elephant when they shouldn't do that), “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God . . . .” (Romans 1:19-23)

            Paul went on to say that they exchanged the glory of God for idols made in the images of people and animals.  Today people are more likely to exchange the glorious God for what little pleasure they can eke out of achievement, pleasure, fame, or possessions.  As C. S. Lewis said, we’re too easily satisfied!  We try to be satisfied with very little in this world when we should seek our ultimate satisfaction in nothing less than God Himself!
            Do I believe that God exists?  Do I believe that He’s all-powerful?  Do I believe that He’s all-places-present (which means that He’s right here, with me)?  Do I believe that He’s all-loving?  Do I believe that He’s all-purposeful (that His is the ultimate, divine agenda)?  If so, shouldn't that reality affect my life like nothing else?
            What could have an impact our lives in a profound way?  How about someone giving us a brand-new, spacious house?  How about someone handing us 30 million dollars?  If you're suffering from poor health, how about being given a clean bill of health?  If any of those things became reality, it wouldn’t leave us the same.  The reality of God in our lives should affect our lives like nothing else does!  As Paul declared, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts
            Imagine that you've been shipwrecked on an island and are all alone.  Once you realize that you aren’t going to be rescued quickly, you try to find food and build a shelter.  A few weeks later you settle into a reasonable routine in your life alone on the island.  Then one morning while you’re walking along the beach, you spot a campfire that’s still warm — a campfire you didn’t build!  You know now that you aren’t alone!  You might be fearful or hopeful, or maybe a mix of both.  One thing is certain: your outlook has changed dramatically!
            Even when we’re by ourselves in our homes or cars — or wherever we are — we aren’t alone!  As Gutzke said, “If God exists, then he can see me right now!” 

The Choice to Live Differently
The psalmist declared, “The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'” (Psalm 14:1)  There's enough evidence to believe that God exists and that it's foolish to believe otherwise.  At least an atheist acts on his belief that God doesn't exist by not living his life to please God.  I wonder if those of us who believe in God are often even more foolish for believing that God’s real but acting as if He isn't!  At least the atheist is living in a way that’s consistent with what he believes!  We say that we believe in an all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God, yet we often continue to worry, be intimidated by challenges, and let temptation lead us into sinning.  We act as if He doesn't exist!
            This week we’ll all have places to go, people to see, and things to do.  As we go here, there, and back again, it can be amazingly easy to ignore God.  We can live as if He IS NOT instead of living according to the fact that He IS.  If we have faith that God IS, we shouldn’t be doing that! The writer of Hebrews stated, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)  How about deciding that we won’t ignore the Divine Elephant in the room any longer?  It will have a profoundly positive impact on our lives as nothing else ever could!

            Remember Jesus' words: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)  Let’s live as if we really believe that!

My Photo of the Week