One of the things that is interesting when you get to talking with Atheists is that you can quickly get taken into talking about technicalities and playing “on their turf.” Now, I can appreciate the works of people like Vox Day, who can write a book eviscerating atheists with pure reason. However, we do not need to resort to playing on their turf, because their turf does not represent reality.
Case in point
A medical missionary in a remote region of South Africa recounts an amazing story— a true miracle– something that I would like the Atheists to explain.
You see, the missionary worked in labor ward– a ward that had no electricity. They would use hot water bottles to keep babies warm– and they had a premature baby that had just been born but had no water bottle.
The following noon, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave them various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained the problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also mentioned the two-year-old sister crying because her mother had died.
During prayer time, one 10-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. “Please, God, send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.” While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, “And while You are about it, would You please send a doll for her little sister so she’ll know You really love her?”
This put the missionary on the spot– she believed that God could do anything, but she did not think that this was possible. How much like our own thoughts on prayer! She was not sure what to say to the girl, for she believed it to be at least improbable, if not impossible.
A Package Arrives
The missionary believed that the only way that God could fulfill this request was a package would have to come from home. That someone would have to pack a hot water bottle to ship to someone that lived on the Equator. So, when someone called halfway through the afternoon to say there was a car in front of her door– well…
By the time I reached home, the car was gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears streaming down my face. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together they pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some forty pair of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.
From the top, I lifted out brightly colored knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. There were bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and mixing flour that could make a batch of buns. Then I put my hand in again, and felt the … could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new rubber hot water bottle. I cried.
I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent us the bottle, He must have sent the doll too!” Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed doll. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she said, “Can I go over with you and give this doll to that little girl, so she will know that Jesus really loves her?” Of course, I replied.
What’s amazing about this story? Besides the fact of the exact answer to prayer, there’s the whole matter of shipping. You see:
That parcel had been on the way for five whole months! Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in the doll for an African child, five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it that afternoon!
Do you get the impact here? The timing? The request? Things like this do not happen by coincidence.
The problem for the Atheist, and the comfort to the Christian, is that supernatural things do happen. Prayer does accomplish things. Miraculous things have happened and continue to happen. The question is are we going to be like Pharoah and harden our hearts or are we willing to see the power of God at work in our world today?