Can anyone prove the existence of God?
Christians would claim that Jesus was God in the flesh, the ultimate evidence of the invisible God. That’s easy to say, but can anyone prove it? Maybe Jesus was mentally unstable. There have been other miracle workers and magicians. There have been other spiritual teachers. Is faith enough?
By faith, 15 million Mormons accept that Joseph Smith was visited by an angel in 1823 and told to unearth and translate a book of golden tablets to restore the true gospel of Christ. By faith, 1.6 billion Muslims accept that Muhammad was visited by an angel in the seventh century to give him the sacred text of the Quran, expressing God’s will for mankind.
With so many devoted believers throughout the world, can anyone say with confidence that their faith represents the truth? Should we always put the word “truth” in finger quotes, recognizing the limitations of our understanding, and the influence of our own cultures and backgrounds?
George Muller believed that truth was not subjective. He approached God like a sailor would approach the wind. You don’t have to see it. You just have to learn how to engage with it.
I always thought of George Muller as a man who loved orphans and trusted God to take care of them, experiencing an extraordinary life of miracles. Something he wrote changed my mind:
“So many believers with whom I had become acquainted were harassed and distressed in mind, or had guilty consciences from not trusting in the Lord, were used by God to awaken in my heart the desire to set before the church at large, and before the world, proof that he has not changed in the least. The best way to testify to God’s faithfulness seemed to be to establish an orphanage. It needed to be something that could be seen, even by the natural eye.
“Now, if I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained the means for establishing and running an orphanage without asking for help from any individual, that would be something that, with the Lord’s blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God. Additionally, it would be a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted to the reality of the things of God. This, then, was the primary reason for establishing an orphanage.”
So Muller didn’t start an orphanage just to help the orphans; he started it to strengthen the faith of believers, and serve as a witness to unbelievers. He was trying to prove God.
In nearly seventy years, he cared for over 10,000 orphans without a single appeal for help. He even avoided public meetings and published reports so that no one could see his need and act out of pity.
“No man on earth can say that I have ever asked him for a penny. We have no committees, no collection, no voting, and no endowments. All has come in answer to believing prayer. My trust has been in God alone. He has many ways of moving the hearts of men all over the world to help us. While I am praying He speaks to this one and another, on this continent and on that, to send us help.”
I would never claim to have the faith of George Muller, but Laurie and I have been fortunate enough to test our faith in a similar way.
When we moved from Los Angeles to Mississippi in 2011, we determined that if the Lord was truly behind the move, he could provide our needs. We spent all of our savings to cross the country, pulling into Mississippi with no money, no job and no prospects. We also had plenty of debt. Not only did I owe on a credit card, but my house in LA was about $180,000 upside-down.
Within a year our debt was gone, my bills were paid, my children were being fed, and I was planning a trip to Israel as part of my education. How is this possible? One miracle at a time. Jobs materialized, people felt compelled to give, circumstances shifted into alignment at the perfect time and in unexpected ways.
One instance was especially compelling:
After my first semester, I realized that I needed $5,000 within two weeks to cover tuition, rent and the trip to Israel. At the time, I had nothing in the bank and was earning $150 a week playing piano at a church. I went to Laurie and suggested that we write a letter to some wealthy friends, asking for a loan. She told me that if God wanted us in school, he could pay for it.
We didn’t write the letter. We didn’t tell anyone what we needed. We just prayed.
Three days later we got a check in the mail from those very friends for $5,000. I called and asked why they sent the money. They just felt that the Lord wanted them to give that amount at that time.
You can’t see the wind, but you can see its effects. I believe the same can be said for God. Do you agree? Can God be proven? Or do each of us live in a subjective reality, waiting for death to validate our faith?