Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Religion • I’m An Atheist—Thank God!

The above quote was spoken by Madalyn Murray O’Hair to this writer who had asked her if she truly did not believe in God. Another subtle reminder that down deep, every person on earth instinctively knows that God exists. The atheists themselves unintentionally prove that God exists by having declared war on Him, and [in] their determination to wipe Him off the face of the earth—which would prove difficult if He didn’t exist as they claim.

Ten years ago, I was asked by a home caregiver to speak to an atheist in his care who lived in Danville. The patient’s name was Steve and when his Christian caregiver, Jamie Just, told him about me, Steve said that he would like to have me visit. Steve was dying of cancer. His body was skeletal and nothing inside him worked correctly.  His condition was so severe that it was amazing that he was even alive.

After being introduced he quickly said, “You know of course that I’m an atheist.” “I can understand that,” I responded. “There was a time I almost took that path myself but some extraordinary things happened to bring me back to God.”

“Well just understand that you’re not going to convert me,” he said.

“I’m not going to try to,” I answered.

We talked about many things, got along well, and before I left, he said that he would like for me to come by and visit him the next day. The visits became daily events.

On one of those days I said to him, “I’m sorry I’m late Steve. You know, I have some health problems of my own and had to have an Echo test taken to observe my heart before coming.  When I was hooked up I could see my actual heart beating on the TV monitor that had been set up.

“The doctor turned up the sound of my badly functioning heart which was fascinating to watch and hear. As I looked at that screen and saw my heart in action I marveled! That heart was beating steadily. There was no battery or electric power. Yet that heart, that has kept me alive for over 60 years, constantly pumps blood through an incredible network of veins to every area of my body including my brain with its millions of circuits, cells and connections…and again Steve….with no electrical or any other power force….it is all natural.

“Y’know Steve…you were an engineer, and I’m told that you were one of the best…yet you could never design anything like this that works by itself, independent of any earthly power source. Einstein himself could never have designed something like this. Only God could.”

Steve broke down crying. He suddenly was able to see the reality of God, who very much exists. To the astonishment of his sister, in whose home he was staying, Steve gave his heart to Jesus. As he did, his whole countenance changed.  He asked me to read him Scriptures.

Steve passed away a few days later. I was with him as he died. They had taken him to the hospital and the hospital notified me that he would be dead within a couple of hours. I got over there in record time.

I believe that there was only one reason he continued to live in that corpse-like body when he logically should have died much earlier. Like many, Steve, who sternly identified himself as an atheist, and was outspoken about his disbelief in God, was not truly convinced in his heart that God did not exist and no doubt asked himself….“What if?”  As soon as he could no longer deny the existence of God,and accepted Jesus as his Savior, he was able to depart this earth in peace.

Our Creator has given every human being an instinctive desire to find Him. This is the empty space inside [that] everyone feels, and that empty space can only be filled by Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever. St. Augustine wrote in the beginning of his book, The Confessions, “My soul is restless until it rests in thee, Oh Lord my God.”

Steve had clung to life while inwardly insisting that his question about God be clearly answered one way or the other.  It was. After finally settling the perplexing question that had plagued him for so long, Steve felt genuinely fulfilled for the first time in his life. He then made his exit in victory.

One has only to examine thoroughly the human body to realize that only God could create the human race. Study the survival instincts of animals, the perfect harmony of the planets…or look up and think about space. It has no boundaries..it is never ending, it goes on…and on….and on….forever. There is no end!  Nobody can comprehend such vast never-ending space. How can this be possible?  But it is out there nonetheless for all to see along with a myriad of other mysteries of God.

The atheist scientists offer their answers hoping to disprove God. The world was not, they say, a Divine creation. There was one moment in time (note:the concept of time did not exist until God created the earth) when a gigantic spontaneous combustion that they call, ‘The Big Bang’ created the world and all that would inhabit it. It all just randomly fell into place following the explosion. Carl Sagan explained this in his book, “The Violent Universe;” (Pay close attention to the last two lines which says it all);

“Scientists have narrowed down the mystery of creation. All that seems to be necessary is some hydrogen gas at the beginning. We understand how the hydrogen condenses into a first generation of stars, how these stars cook heavier elements in their interiors, how these heavy elements are spewed out in supernova and other explosions to enrich the interstellar medium, and how subsequent generations of stars and planets form from the hydrogen and heavier elements…And yet there’s this beguiling problem: Where did the original hydrogen come from?” 
The words of Carl Sagan. The defense rests.

***

At the time Rev. Austin Miles visited Steve, he wondered why God had not answered his prayer to heal his heart. This prayer was not unanswered, but was put on hold for that exact moment when he could share his heart problem with Steve which stimulated the conversation that broke through the barrier which brought Steve the atheist to God. A few days later, on a holiday, the hospital called Rev. Miles and asked him to come in right away for another Echo examination. The startled doctors and nurses declared that his heart had not only ‘changed’, but that the right side of the heart, the one most damaged, was like a brand new heart.

***********

 

 

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