By Chris WittsSaturday 14 Sep 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “there are no atheists in foxholes”,It was said by a world war 2 journalist Ernie Pyle who saw a number of soldiers in life and death situations,and he was convinced that at a time when soldiers faced death,they turned to God. The atheists say “no,not true”. But I have a feeling that Ernie Pyle was right. What goes through your mind when faced with the prospect of death? Would you call out to God or make a deal with God saying “I’ll change my ways if you can save my life”. I suppose its called making a deal with God. When we are confronted by our own mortality,especially in the brutality and ugliness of war,questions of God often come sharply into focus. Then we would made deals with God to ensure our own survival.
I was reading just the other day about Andrew Gaze,the legendary Australian basketball player well known to most of us. He had his own “foxhole” experience which is very interesting. He was coming home with his team from Brisbane when he discovered his right arm was swollen. Not long after,he found himself in a Melbourne hospital diagnosed with a blood clot in his upper arm. It seemed an odd thing,and while it was a problem,it became worse as the clot moved to his lungs. And as the 25 year old’s condition got worse,Andrew Gaze started to question the realities of life and death. This was serious,and here’s what he said. “I had never thought about how I would die. I was too young even to think about it,let alone face up to the prospect. But I never imagined I’d leave this earth in pain coughing up all this blood. I am not a religious man by any stretch of the imagination. But when I thought I was going to die from a blood clot in my lungs,I made deals with God that could never be upheld. I don’t recommend you try it,but this was the biggest challenge I had to face”. Honest words aren’t they.
Andrew Gaze was making a deal with God,something which in the normal path of life,he’d never have imagined doing. It never occurred to him. But I’m sure he wasn’t the first young man to bargain with God to ensure he would live. If you were faced with a similar situation,what would you bring to the bargaining table? What would you say to God? What would you be willing to give up or do to stay alive? I don’t know what Andrew Gaze promised to do,but I guess he was willing to sacrifice his talents in basketball if God would take away his blood clot problem.
But here’s a bit more of what he says in his autobiography “Andrew Gaze Story”.
“When you’re faced with making a deal with God or the devil,you would no doubt accept being an all time loser on the basketball court if it meant living”. Fortunately,Andrew survived his brush with death,and got on with his life. Has it made his life different? I don’t know – it probably did in some way. People who are faced with a life-threatening illness usually are different afterwards. Maybe he now has a deeper appreciation of life. Maybe his faith in God is stronger. He says in his book “On the basketball court,there are lots of decisions to make. Some cause loss,some prompt victory. But none of them is about life and death”.
These are some of the big issues of life which we can put to one side and we say “I’ll worry about that later on when I’m older”. But who knows what tomorrow will bring? There is something that God has put in all our hearts – something that makes us question why we are,and what is my purpose in life? The atheist Bertrand Russell once said “The life of man is a long march through the night,toward a goal that few can hope to reach. Brief and pointless is man’s life”.
Seems pretty gloomy to my way of thinking. I would rather be encouraged by the Bible that says “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). To know a loving God is in control of our lives makes all the difference to the way we handle life. Life can suddenly change,as it did for Andrew Gaze,and we can be thrown off course. But to trust in God gives us stability and a foundation because His Word tells me “As a father has compassion on his children,so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed,He remembers that we are dust”. (Psalm 103: 13,14)
Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
(See Romans 8: 28,31,35,38-39.)