entered a room filled with folding metal chairs, laughter, and
youthful enthusiasm. Her friends greeted her warmly as she took
off her coat and hung it on the back of her seat, placing her
Bible and purse on a chair next to her.
Just then, Mr. Turner strode to
the wooden podium and cleared his throat authoritatively. Gradually,
the room fell silent.
When he had everyone's attention,
Mr. Turner opened in prayer, then addressed the class with a direct
question; "Why do you believe in God?"
Seeing no one's hand raised, Mr.
Turner asked, "Jerry--how about you? Why do you believe in God?"
"Umm…I guess because my parents
believe in God and that's what they've always taught me to believe,"
Jerry replied uncertainly.
"I'm glad they did," Mr. Turner
replied, "and you should be able to trust your parents and learn
from them as well, but at some point each of us has to decide
for ourselves what we believe. Imagine if your college professor
was making fun of your faith--would you reply that your mom and
dad taught you to believe…would that be a good enough argument?"
Marie timidly raised her hand. "I
believe in God because of what the Bible says."
"That's a wonderful reason to believe,"
answered Mr. Turner, "and the Bible is certainly the foundation
of our faith. No other book has stood the test of time like God's
Word, and it has been proven historically accurate time and time
again. Still, many people do not believe the Bible to be the verbally
inspired Word of God. Even many religious people think that the
Bible is a collection of memories written down by good men, and
as such, is subject to many errors. How could you prove your faith
to someone like that?"
Rodney, who had been quietly formulating
his own response, now interjected, "Well, I think we can prove
that the Bible is more than a dead book by its effect on people's
lives. Like my uncle, who used to be a drunk and could never "kick
the habit" on his own until he got saved and started praying and
reading God's Word. Now he's a great guy--I can hang out with
him and we go soul winning every week together. He never could
have changed like that if there was no power in God's Word."
Before Mr. Turner could reply, Maddie
said questioningly, "But what about all the people who claim to
be Christians and are living a bad testimony? I bet for every
person you can show who has been changed dramatically by God's
Word, you can find ten who appear not to have been changed at
"That's a good point, Maddie, and
that's certainly an argument you might encounter from an unsaved
person. Does anyone have an answer to that question?" said Mr.
"Well, I guess from my own personal
experience I would say that the more time I spend with God and
the more I yield myself to Him, the more His power is able to
change me into what He wants me to be. It's like that verse about
"hearers" and "doers" where it says to be a doer of God's Word
and not a hearer only. Someone can claim to be a Christian, they
can even come to church and read their Bible, but if they don't
want to do what God says, He won't make them," Marie chimed in.
"And we should remember, too, that
it's a daily battle," Mr. Turner added, "each of us has the choice
each day to whom we're going to yield ourselves to obey."
"I would tell someone who doesn't
understand why I believe in God that I don't like myself when
I'm not sticking close to God…I don't like who I become," said
"What do you mean?" asked Marie.
"Well, I start acting selfishly,
I feel more rebellious against my parents and teachers, I'm more
unhappy and my actions cause others around me to be unhappy--just
little things like that," Lydia explained.
"Your conscience is another witness
to the existence of God," Mr. Turner agreed, "If there was no
God, there could be no absolute right or wrong. Whatever you'd
like to do would be right for you, no matter what the effect on
another person might be.
We'd be just like the
animals, who don't know the difference between right and wrong.
The fact that your conscience bothers you when you sin is evidence
of God's law written in your heart."
"Yeah, my hamster once had babies,"
Jerry interjected, "and each day there seemed to be one fewer.
We thought they were just dying, but when I cleaned the cage,
there were no dead bodies in there. It took us a couple of days
to realize that the mother was actually eating her babies--we
had to take them out of the cage and feed them by hand."
"Ewwwww!" the girls exclaimed
Mr. Turner shushed the class. "Thank
you for that illustration, Jerry," he answered, "but let's stay
on topic. Can anyone give me more evidence supporting your faith
"Well, the Bible says that creation
itself is a witness to the existence of God," said Brett, "It
says that anyone who can see all that God has made without giving
Him credit is without excuse."
"That's true," replied Mr. Turner,
"and yet we know that all throughout our country children are
being taught that the world in all its complexity just came
"Yeah, but that takes faith, too!"
exclaimed Rodney indignantly. "It takes just as much blind faith
to believe in a "big bang" as it does to believe that God spoke
the world into existence!"
"And that's another good point,
Rodney," Mr. Turner told him, "Everyone has faith in something,
whether that be God, or man's wisdom."
"Some people believe in aliens,"
Jerry stated dramatically.
A few people tittered, but Mr. Turner
quickly continued, "You know, kids, life must be pretty sad for
people who have no faith in God. Lots of bad stuff happens in
this life, and without God you'd have no idea why you're here
in the first place and no hope of an eternal future, either."
"Wow--you're right, I never thought
of that," said Erica, "That sure would be a different perspective."
"Well, our time's about up," said
Mr. Turner, "thanks for a great discussion today, class. I'm glad
to see you thinking so deeply about what you believe, and being
able to verbally express those reasons. I'd like to end our class
today with a Bible verse--John 6:67."
As pages rustled, the teacher continued,
"In this passage of Scripture, Jesus' disciples were faced with
the same decision that you'll each have to make--will you believe
in Him or rely on man's wisdom?" He smoothed out the pages of
his worn Bible, and directed the class to begin reading at verse
"From that time many of His disciples
went back, and walked no more with Him. Then said Jesus unto the
twelve, 'Will ye also go away?' Then Simon Peter answered Him,
'Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son
of the living God.'"
The teacher faced the class, "Sometimes
it's hard to believe in God--it takes faith, and we prefer to
believe only in what we can see. But when it's hard, and when
others turn back, we can say with Peter, 'Lord, Who else can we
turn to--what other alternative do we have but to believe in you?
Without You we're without hope, living a pointless life that will
soon be forgotten. With You we have everything--children of the
King, beloved and accepted.'"
"We know our short lives are just
a period of testing. It's as though we're on the show, "The Apprentice,"
but instead of earning a job from Donald Trump, God is fitting
us for a place in His eternal kingdom! How exciting!" Mr. Turner's
eyes sparkled and his smile was infectious.
Just then a loud bell peeled out
in the hall. "Ok, class dismissed--see you next week everyone!"
Lydia collected her belongings,
tucking a prayer bulletin into her Bible to mark the verses her
teacher had read. The lesson had really spoken to her heart, and
the words of Jesus had seemed aimed directly at her: "Will ye
also go away?"
At home, she planned to memorize
Peter's reply and claim it as her own: "Lord, to whom shall we
go? Thou hast the words of eternal life...and we believe."