Good morning, Dearest Friends,
You may have heard the story of a country lawyer in Louisiana who was asked by the government to certify the title to a tract of land upon which there was to be built a defense plant. The lawyer ran the title back to 1803 and sent his report to the Defense Department. In a few days he received a letter from the government’s legal advisor asking for proof prior to 1803. The old lawyer responded with a letter in this vein:
“To Whom It May Concern:
I note your comment upon the fact that record of title sent you as applying to the land under consideration dates only from the year 1803 and your request for an extension of the records prior to that date. Please be advised that the government of the United States acquired the territory, including the tract to which your inquiry applies, in the Louisiana Purchase from the government of France in the year 1803. The government of France acquired title by conquest from the government of Spain. The government of Spain acquired title by discovery of one Christopher Columbus, traveler, and explorer, under the sponsorship of her majesty, the Queen of Spain. The Queen of Spain received her sanction of reign by the consent of the Pope, a representative of Jesus Christ, the son and heir apparent of the Almighty God; and the Almighty God made Louisiana. I trust this complies with your request.”
I have nothing but admiration for the wit and humor of that Louisiana lawyer. He evidenced a knowledge of law, history, and theology as well as an appropriate way to put a bureaucrat in his place.
Nevertheless, I’m not completely out of sympathy with the government attorney’s request. There is good reason to have a starting place beyond question. Yet the only things we really know for sure are what we have experienced, which leads many of us to an unshakable conviction in the presence of God in our lives.
A little boy was walking down the street one Sunday when a man asked him where he had been. The boy replied, “I’ve been in church.” “Tell me“ said the man, “where is God?” I think the boy put the man in his place when he replied, “You tell me where God ain’t, and I’ll tell you where God is.”
I suppose my belief in God is an act of faith, but I cannot imagine a world where God isn’t. The existence of God helps me explain the orderly purpose of the universe, the presence of beauty, the presence of a moral law, and the fact of love. I maintain that it is easier and more logical to believe in God in our kind of world than to disbelieve in him.
As the years have passed, I have found that this faith works. I have leaned on it in the full light of day. I have also held to it when I appeared to be walking through a tunnel and the light from both ends seemed lost. This faith has supported me, guided me, and sustained me, and it’s never been stronger than at this moment. I remain fixed on this ground!
There is someone out there who knows your name,
Bruce Jones, Pastor Imagine Church