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Is It Really Proof that We Need?

The novelist Frederick Buechner once wondered what would happen if God, instead of depending upon our faith, did decide to give us a proof.  What if God did decide to clear all this religion business up and give us something scientific, something tangible, that would be beyond the shadow of a doubt.  "Suppose," Buechner imagined, "that God were to take the great, dim river of the Milky Way - stars flowing across the night sky -- and were to brighten it up a little and then rearrange it so that all of a sudden one night the world would step outside and look up at the heavens and see not the usual haphazard scattering of stars, but written out in letters light years tall the sentence:


What would happen?  Well, the reaction would be dramatic.  Churches would spill over into football stadiums, crime would cease, wars would suddenly stop, an uncanny hush would fall over the world-for a while.  But, then, there would be the message in the stars night after night, month after month, year after year.  Every night the sky would proclaim "I REALLY EXIST," and it would become a normal part of nature.  "I REALLY EXIST." So what?  What difference would that make?

For, as Buechner says, what we really want in our deepest need is not proof that there is a God somewhere who exists or even scientific evidence that a resurrection happened some time ago in history.  What we need is a God who is right here, knee-deep in the mud and mire of human existence-a risen Christ who comes to us every day to give life and hope.  That is a God who comes not in evidence but in the relationship of trust we call faith.  God cannot be seen when we draw a line in the sand and say, "Give me proof or I don't step over the line." God can be seen only by those who already step over the line in trust.  When we do, our eyes are opened, and the world is full of resurrection light.  When we encounter that Christ, when we experience the power of that presence, then we know in faith that Christ is raised from the dead and our faith is not in vain.

- Thomas Long, "So, What about the Resurrection?"
Presbyterian Church (USA) Speaker The Rev. Dr. Thomas G. Long
February 15, 2004
1 Corinthians 15:12-20