Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
September 25, 2016
Helping people to see God
I read somewhere about a young man who was desperately seeking God. He sought out a wise old man who lived nearby and asked him: “Old man, how I can I see God?”
The old man, who must have known God at a depth few people ever experience, pondered the question. Then he responded gently: “Young man, I am not sure that I can help you – for you see, I have a very different problem. I cannot not see him.”
The old man’s answer makes me wonder what I might have said had I been that old man. I think I might have said, “Young man, I see God everywhere.” And if he had asked me to explain, I would have begun with his question.
I see God in the heart’s quest to see God. Only God could have put in our hearts the longing to see God. Every reasonable person longs to know that there is a benevolent God responsible for creation. So in a sense the young man’s question is the question of every human being. Is God real? If so, how can I see God?
I have been a minister for 65 years. What is ministry? It is more than preaching. It is more than pastoral care and more than growing and maintaining churches. Ministry is helping people to see God, and seeing him, to get to know him, then love and serve him. So where can one see God?
I see God in the Bible. What a great book it is. It shows me Jesus and tells me that when I see Jesus, I have seen God. Jesus puts a face on God. Before the birth of Jesus, no one had seen God. God had made himself known by giving us laws to live by. But then God chose to send his son into the world and that son, the Bible tells us, is the image of the invisible God. Only a loving God could have inspired the creation of so great a book as the Holy Bible!
I see God in the kindness and forgiving love of my wife. For 64 years she has constantly offered me compassion instead of criticism for my many mistakes as a husband. Her kindness has been like a magnet drawing me toward a more excellent way to live. Only a loving God could have produced such a woman!
I see God in the frequent telephone calls of my friend George Mathison. When my phone rings at 5:30 in the morning I figure it is George calling. When I answer, George says, “Brother Walter, I have been on my knees praying for you this morning and I just wanted to call and tell you how much I love you.” Only a loving God could produce a man like George!
I see God in the star in an apple. Many times my wife has cut an apple open before children and shown them the remarkable star in the center of the apple. I see God as I observe the awe in the eyes of little children. Only a loving God could have thought to put a star in the center of an apple!
I see God in the healing of hearts torn asunder by bitterness and despair. My friend Billy Gaither’s parents divorced when he was ten years old. He prayed earnestly, asking God to fix his broken family.
When God did not answer, and his parents were not reconciled, Billy was angry with God. He felt unloved, unwanted and desperate. He quit praying, feeling that God did not care about him. Six years later Billy was invited to join a youth group in church. Through other youth and a caring pastor, Billy felt God saying to him, “Welcome back. I missed you.” Only a loving God could restore the joy of a young man whose life had been shattered by the divorce of his parents!
I see God in the Knock Out Rose bushes in our yard. No matter the season they keep on blooming, offering beautiful new blooms every five to six weeks. Only a loving God could have shown Rose Breeder Bill Radler how to produce such an amazing rose bush!
I see God in the faces of the people with whom I worship. As we praise God together I see people come alive with new energy to face the challenges of everyday life. Only a loving God could turn worship into a life-giving renewal of faith, hope and love!
Yes, I see God everywhere – in every breath I take, in every step I take, in every morsel of food I eat, in the sun and the moon and the stars that brighten the night sky. Only a loving God could create such a beautiful world!
If you have trouble seeing him, please look again. He is everywhere, waiting to startle you with the reality of his loving Presence! + + +