From Jim O'Brien
February 09, 2018

Hi Friend,

The Ground of Faith

It was a good car when I purchased it and it's been a reliable servant, but it's outlived its usefulness, at least for me, so I bought a "for sale" sign and parked it at Wal-Mart. A prospective buyer approached to discuss terms. He is from Afghanistan, has lived in America for 21 years and is Muslim.

During the conversation he told me of his deep respect for America. You know what he appreciated most? Brace yourself: it is freedom of religion.

I bit my tongue. I wanted to ask him about the lack of freedom for Christians in Muslim countries. What about the refusal of Muslims to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist? But I didn't.

For a moment it was necessary to step back and make an attempt at dispassionate objectivity. Was it possible that he was sincere? He asked about Christianity. "What did I believe?" I explained that I worship the God who created the earth and gave life to all of us, that the Bible is the revelation of who God is and how we should live and worship. I told him that we have all sinned and God sent His Son to pay for our sins so we could repent and have eternal life.

For a while I pondered what it must be like to grow up in a Muslim country and be indoctrinated with such teachings. Was it possible for him to break free from the enslavement of mind that held him captive to a religion of violence and oppression? Could he not see that the freedom he enjoyed in America was a gift from the God of the Bible?

I'm not sure he is capable of understanding that concept. But then, is a teenager in the back seat of a car capable of understanding the consequences of his actions? Is a young person taking his first hit of heroin aware of the consequences?

A story came across the internet recently about professional athletes who have taken steroids to increase muscle strength so they could hit more home runs, perform better at football or increase strength. Yet steroids have caused osteoporosis, cancer, skin problems and decreased fertility. Did the people who took these drugs understand the consequences?

Every television ad for prescription medication contains enough warnings about serious side effects that it makes one wonder if the disease could be any worse. Is the person taking prescription medication fully aware of the side effects that may occur a decade later, or even tomorrow?

What an irony to live in the Information Age where schools offer degrees in Information Technology yet still lack knowledge. The Prophet Hosea wrote about our time, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6)

One of the last statements uttered by Jesus before his death was "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) What a statement! Staring at an angry mob intent on killing Him He consigned their hatred to ignorance.

Truth comes as a result of the goodness of God in spite of the ignorance of man. Finding the ground of faith is one of the greatest hopes for mankind as well as one of the highest goals.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien