If you have not yet seen the movie, “God’s Not Dead,” be warned that this post discusses important points from the film.
When I saw it last weekend, deep emotions surfaced. But not just for the reasons you probably imagine. You see, I have a lot in common with the professor who bullied the student for his Christian faith.
In the film, the professor hates God, because when he was only 12 years old, he lost his mother to cancer.
I had just turned 19.
When my mother got cancer, she went through several surgeries and radiation treatment. They didn’t have CATscans or chemotherapy back then and the prognosis wasn’t good.
Of course, I started praying to God. But mom got worse. I tried to bargain with God, promising to dedicate my life to Him if He would heal mom. When that didn’t work, I got angry at God. How could He allow something like this to happen to a good person like my mother?
My sister answered many of my questions. Jesus wasn’t just someone we read about in the Bible but is a person who wants to have a relationship with us. We may not know all the time why bad things happen, but we can trust in God to comfort us when we hurt and struggle. ! Peter 5:7 says to cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.
Finally my sister invited me to a Billy Graham Crusade. Before that time I knew who Jesus was, but now I made the decision to really trust Him and asked Jesus to come into my life. I was a month shy of my 18th birthday.
My mother died about a year later. But God gave me comfort then, and through many struggles since that time, including more family deaths and personal health problems. For over 40 years He has been faithfully with me, through successes and failures: law school, military service as a Navy JAG officer, practicing law as a public defender, going to seminary and now working as a lawyer with Cru, the U.S. ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. I truly cannot imagine life without Jesus.
As the student stated in the movie, the issue is choice. God loves us and wants us to come to Him, but He won’t force us. Some day God will put all things right, but for now He allows evil things in the world to give us more time to decide.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Choice. Free Will. The professor had turned away from God. I turned to God.
Why the difference?
I needed the comfort God offered me. And somewhere deep inside, I think I instinctively understood more than that. God is infinite, all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful. I am not.
So should I trust in my own limited understanding (or more likely, misunderstanding), or trust in the loving and wise Creator-God? He loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me. I can trust that kind of Person to know what is best.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken (1920)
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