“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”
There’s a topic that is so important to me, and to the writing of this blog, so now is the time to address it. Something I cherish and marvel at:
By speaking of Heaven, I am assuming a belief in God, as documented in the Holy Bible. Without God, we have no Heaven. The Bible is God’s true word about the meaning of life and the responsibility of human beings to their Creator.
In the book of Matthew (7:13-14 NIV), Jesus calls out our need to take the narrow road to life, versus the broad road that leads to destruction:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
We’re talking serious business here.
The narrow road is having a belief in Jesus Christ as your savior. This requires us to prepare now (today!) in order to enter Heaven, as we really don’t know when our road comes to an end (see “Begin with the End in Mind”).
Avoiding the fire and brimstone discussion, I do want to be clear that Heaven is not the default destination for us. If we don’t make a decision to follow the Bible (the narrow road), it is very specific that Heaven is not where we end up. Heaven is the narrow road, and “only a few find it.” That catches my attention!
I was 35 years into my life before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and began to study the Bible. My Christian walk has been one of growth and wonder and great joy around the plan God has been unveiling for my life since then. He has not changed who I am as much as He has changed who I want to become. That does not mean life has been without its storms, they have definitely come, in spite of my faith (see “New Beginnings”). But having God to turn to and prayer to guide me during those times has made all the difference in the world.
It all makes perfect sense to me now, but that was not the case in my younger days. And through the years of raising our family here in Silicon Valley while struggling to maintain a career and working hard to stay healthy and balanced, I found rest through my faith in God. Jesus sums it up in Matthew 11:28:30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.”
Tides of Evidence
As a surfer, I look no further than the miracle of the tides to back up my claim that the Bible speaks God’s true word. For most of my life, I have watched and studied the tidal flow at my favorite surfing spots. Aside from the size of the swell, nothing impacts the quality of the waves as much as the tide. It varies by location what is best (high tide, low tide, incoming, outgoing), but the tides have an amazing impact on what the surf will be like and how long it will stay that way. For example, Steamer Lane on a northwest swell in January is always best when you have an incoming tide, especially if you are coming off a “minus” low tide. On the other hand, at San Onofre, low tide involves a serious rock dance getting in and out of the water. But the waves are consistently worth it!
71% of our planet Earth is covered in water across 5 oceans (the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern). Earth just happens to be the only known planet (or moon) to have bodies of liquid water on its surface. Earth is also the only planet that has a single moon that just happens to be by far the largest moon (relative to Earth’s size) of any other moon in our solar system. If the moon were just slightly larger/smaller, or a little closer/further in distance from Earth; none of this works, and surfing on Earth is not an option. Nor is life, if you want to broaden this discussion to the moon’s impact on the Earth’s orbital axis. Our moon is the perfect size and the perfect distance away to enable all this to work perfectly.
When I am able to spend an entire day on the beach, one of my favorite pastimes is to simply watch the ebb and flow of the tide in and out. It is truly remarkable. For me to believe this all happened by chance is more concerning than believing it was scripted to happen by a magnificent creator. I can’t reconcile in my mind how something so outrageously precise could take place any other way?
Eric Metaxes sums it up well in his book “Miracles”:
“Is there any escaping the conclusion that the existence of life on planet Earth, or life of any kind anywhere, is an astonishing, incomprehensible miracle?”
Steps to Faith
If you need help in understanding how to receive Jesus Christ as your savior, there are two simple steps you can take.
First, one should have a basic understanding of the Bible. The Old Testament is part one of the Bible, which is about God and his relationship with man, including many prophesies of the coming of Jesus Christ as the chosen messiah. The New Testament of the Bible is about the grace of Jesus:
God the Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth from heaven, lived a perfect human life, died on the cross in our place for our sins, was buried, resurrected three days later, returned to His glorified body to God His Father in heaven, and will come again.
A second step is to find a quiet place with a Bible where you can say a prayer to admit to God (and yourself) that you have ignored Him and have tried to control your life, and to tell Him that you believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for your sins.
You don’t have a lot to lose if you bet on the narrow path. Life with Jesus is good, no matter how bad your circumstances are. I don’t know how people get through the difficult times without Him.
I’m betting on having my Opening Day in Paradise!
“God created the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the waves for our enjoyment. Surfing is just my way of worshipping Him.“
Eric Metaxas is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and is one of my favorite Christian writers. He has written seven books that I recommend: Martin Luther, If You Can Keep It, Bonhoeffer, Miracles, Seven Women, Seven Men, and Amazing Grace. Miracles is a collection of short stories which will definitely catch your attention as well as inspire you about what is possible.
Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton
If you don’t know about Bethany Hamilton you are in for a treat! This book is her story, which is about her life as a 13-year old competitive surfer when she lost her arm in a shark attack. It was made into a movie which I also highly recommend (Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt were excellent as her parents). Her story and faith as she rose back to the top of the world surfing tour is one not to miss. A great read for your young adult kids also, as her bravery and grit were truly inspiring.
(This is a repeat, but really a good start if you are questioning the authenticity of the Bible)
This book was made into a movie in 2017, and I recommend both if you have any questions about the historical reliability of the New Testament, and/or claims made by Jesus Christ. Lee Strobel was a self-proclaimed atheist when he began investigating the Biblical claims about Christ after his wife’s conversion. As an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Lee pulled together all the facts about Jesus as if he were going to trial. Prompted by the results of his investigation, he became a Christian on November 8, 1981.