I have a friend who is an atheist. We have been friends for close on two decades and during this time we have had many, many discussions about the existence of God. A few years ago we were driving home late at night from a function, and as we turned a corner, there was a car coming straight towards us in our lane. I managed to swerve and avoid a collision and my friend cried out involuntarily “O God, God!!” I parked on the side of the road, turned to her and said “So let me get this straight – you profess that you do not believe in the existence of God and yet when your life is in danger, He is the first person you call out too?”
She jokingly replied “Well, I thought I was about to meet Him face to face!”
This friend has known me long enough to know that my faith is not based on a religion but based on a relationship with the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. God is alive and well and lives in our home and in my life! She was once present when a group of ladies met for tea at my house. One of the subjects of conversation was “who wears the pants in our homes?” The wife or the husband? Who is the actual head of the home?
Bear in mind that, apart from my friend, the rest of us were all Believers so Biblically speaking our husbands should be the head of the home! Amy, who was six at the time, happened to be passing through the kitchen where we were sitting and one of the ladies turned to her and asked “Amy, who is the boss in your house?” (Personally, I thought this was a horrible question to ask a six year old but relaxed when I heard Amy’s reply).
She paused on her way out of the kitchen, answered “God!” and carried on going.
It was a revelation to me to know that our children acknowledged God as a reality in their lives. My ongoing prayer for them is that as they grow older they will always know God as a reality.
This friend has often said to me “I wish I could believe in God like you do. I wish I had someone that I could talk to like you talk to Jesus”. There is a longing in her heart for something more and it is a longing that was placed there by God Himself before time began.
For me C.S. Lewis sums it up beautifully! He wrote, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men (and woman I might add!) feel sexual desire: well there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”
Dallas Willard said that the four great questions humans must answer are:
What is reality? What is the good life? Who is a good person? And, how do you become a good person?
He sought to answer those questions and to actually live the answers.
He believed, as I do, that no-one has ever answered those questions as well as Jesus did.
His definition of a disciple was “anyone whose ultimate goal is to live as Jesus would live if he were in their place.”
I can speak to Jesus as a friend because He states in John 15 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” Jesus laid down His life for me. He goes on to say “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”.
My prayer for my friend is that one day soon she will meet and accept my friend, Jesus, as her friend.