Law of Conservation of Energy
I have increased my study of apologetics in the last couple of years because there are friends I want to be able to share Jesus with, and I also need to be equipped when my kids become teenagers and they have sincere questions about the existence of God. Apologetics is a significant challenge because our nation is being divided rapidly along the lines of Christian values. To some it may seem that we have lost the spiritual war and we are destined to be a spiritually dark country. Using both faith and reason, I see how a sovereign God who exists in spirit form, and by definition cannot be seen, has revealed Himself through the beauty and magnitude of creation, through physical & moral absolutes, through written word, and through revelation of His own nature through Jesus. Furthermore, not only has God been revealed, but the existence of God can explain the universal questions: how we came into being, why there is good and evil, the purpose of our existence, and what happens after we die. If you look at any one of these items independently of the others, scholars can provide rational explanations for the existence of this world and the philosophy of mankind without God. When you combine the totality of our entire existence into a single causation, non-believers reject that a spiritual, all-powerful being is the unifying thread. Instead, we are the result of randomness occurring over a great period of time.
The proof of God is obvious to me and yet I find myself in the midst of great spiritual warfare when the mention of God and religious activity, such as prayer for shooting victims, brings ridicule. I have conviction that I should share my faith with others, however I’ve found it too daunting of a task to want to face non-believers and share the Gospel. My career is in sales, so I should be good at persuasion and building relationships, but technical sales and products manufactured to do air conditioning are tangible and easily proved through physical science. How do I present the idea of God to non-believers who respond by throwing my “facts” of God’s Word, that I believe are infallible, right out the window?
As I prayed for God to genuinely change me to be more prepared in conversations with non-believers, two things happened. God strengthened my faith with the events of the adoption of my children, Kate and Sam. The profoundly amazing way that God placed each child with Jennifer and me was a small thing in God’s eyes, but the details by which each event happened were done so that my family would know God’s heart for us. As my faith was strengthened by no effort of my own, I also found myself reading through the Bible in a year and reading systematically, looking for a common theme, of how people experienced God. It is logical that our faith started somewhere and it grew exponentially, so I looked for understanding of God’s revelation of Himself to the people that He called His own. I read the Old and New Testament stories and there was a compelling, common thread that helped me see that I wasn’t the only unprepared, unlikely ambassador for God. In each of the cases from patriarchs, judges, kings, and prophets, generations experienced God through the faithful obedience of a few who had direct knowledge of the living and all-powerful God.
The primary example in the Old Testament is the unlikely story of Moses where millions of Hebrew people who hadn’t had fellowship with God in hundreds of years, would follow the leadership of one man who encountered God personally. The story tells us that Moses being raised in the house of Pharaoh felt led to help his people, but his own power and influence did not resonate with his kinsmen. His efforts to defend the Hebrews led him to kill an Egyptian and then be ridiculed by his fellow men and then, fearing for his life, fled for Midian. Moses surely understood a calling to help his people, but he hadn’t yet experienced God and thus he wasn’t prepared to meet the challenge. God intended to do an amazing work in saving His people and he needed someone who would lead the people, so the first thing that needed to happen was for Moses to experience Yahweh on a personal level. When Moses encountered the burning bush that wasn’t consumed, he directly experienced Yahweh and knowledge of a living God transformed him and he was then receptive to the plan of salvation for the Hebrews. Moses ultimately responded with obedience to lead but it was God who would use His power to save His people. After the Hebrews had witnessed the 10 plagues on the Egyptians, it doesn’t seem like a stretch that they should leave their homes and follow Moses who had heard from Yahweh about the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. After God parted the Red Sea, defeated the Egyptian army in a mighty way and provided for their very existence with water from rocks and manna from heaven, it doesn’t seem to be a stretch of the imagination to accept Yahweh as the God of the Israelites. God gave them His Law and they only needed to obey the Law, and follow faithfully as Joshua led them into battle to defeat the enemies of God and take the land that God had promised. I realize that none of these things were easy for the Hebrews, but the more they saw God’s power the more their faith increased. The amount of faith they were given was proportional to the work God would accomplish through them.
The next significant chapter in our Christian faith is the establishment of the new covenant through Jesus. To reach the Jews and Gentiles, the disciples of Jesus would also be unlikely ambassadors because they were by all accounts common men who were not an authority in Jewish law. When they encountered Jesus and experienced healing of the sick, the lame, the deaf and the blind, to me it would seem an easy act of obedience to continue to follow Him. When Jesus fed the multitudes, walked on water, calmed the storms, transfigured on the mount, cast out demons, and raised people from the dead, the disciples witnessed all of these miraculous events and faithfully accepted that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. When they witnessed the death of Jesus and then encountered the resurrected Lord, they faithfully accepted their commission to take the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. After Jesus’s ascension, divine power remained with them through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and they were able to face suffering, persecution, stoning, prison, and martyrdom while proclaiming the good news of Jesus – salvation by grace through faith. The amount of power displayed for them in the miracles of Jesus was essential to increasing their faith and moving them to do the work that God intended.
In the field of engineering, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be transformed from one form to another but can never be created or destroyed. This is also known as the law of conservation of energy. God created all physical things and the physical laws governing those things, so it makes sense that the significant, divine power displayed to the Hebrews during the Exodus and to Jesus’s disciples was not lost. God’s plan was to help His people in their times of struggle by transforming that power into the faith needed to carry out the significant work to be done.
Based on these illustrations, I am confident that people need to see God for them to move and be receptive to the Gospel. Some people need to move toward God and experience the love of a Heavenly Father who helps establish His children in faith. But, God who exists in spirit is difficult for non-believers to comprehend, so we have been given a part to play in that revelation. One example of that is from Joni Eareckson Tada, in her book, A Spectacle of Glory, where she indicates that Christians are to face suffering as people who will not be consumed. When we are a spectacle of God’s glory working in us, people will come to investigate the source of our power and will see God.
Some people need to move with God and do the work He prepared in advance for us to do. In Max Lucado’s book, It’s Not About Me, he wrote that we are to declare God’s preeminence. His great illustration was that we were once in the dark abyss and needed to be rescued, and God in His grace pulled us into His lifeboat. Now our job is to be on mission with God in the lifeboat, scanning the dark waters of the stormy sea and declaring to anyone within hearing range that God is strong enough to rescue them. He is ready to welcome them into the boat; they only need to come to the boat to be saved. What happens too often is that we are rescued by grace but our reaction is to sit in the boat and rejoice with other believers and thus we stop looking for more people in need of rescue. Like the disciples, our genuine desire to share the Gospel comes from our experience of God’s faithfulness demonstrated by His power. That energy cannot be lost and must be used to declare His glory.
So, I ask myself – where has God shown His faithfulness to me and where have I experienced God in a way that strengthens my faith stronger than steel? I know the answer to that. It was what I read in 2 Samuel 7:18-22 in my daily devotional on the morning that we “coincidentally” received a call that our son was born. God displayed it plainly for me and I desire to be part of His plan is to declare His glory to the nations. So, am I calling out into the abyss or am I looking back into the boat and singing with the “holy huddle?” In the Lord’s model prayer, Jesus said that we are to pray that God’s kingdom will come. This statement means to me: “God will you reveal glory so that I may see you and strengthen my faith.” It also means, “God will you reveal yourself and through the Sprit who dwells in me work in the lives of those who need rescued.” I am confident that God will honor the conservation of energy and transform His power into the faith needed to reveal His glory in a dark nation.