Ever gotten into conversations with people who don’t believe in God? Isn’t it interesting how they always look around at circumstances to prove whether or not he exists? Some folks look at life events and world crises and conclude there is no God.
The story is told of a customer who visited a barbershop wanting a haircut and beard trim. While being serviced, the conversation flowed from one subject to the next as it usually does in the barbershop. When the subject of religion came up, the barber emphatically said, “I don’t believe in God.”
Curious about the barber’s adamant response, the customer asked why he felt that way. The barber had absolutely no problem answering: “Just go out and look in the streets. If God exists, why is there such suffering and sickness? If God exists, why are people hungry and dying? How could a loving God allow so much pain and evil in the world? That’s how I know God does not exist.”
The customer pondered the barber’s statement but refused to take it on because he knew it would only lead to an argument. The conversation died out as the barber was finishing his service to the client.
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Immediately after leaving the shop, the customer ran across an interesting sight. It was a guy on the street looking just horrible. His hair was dirty and looked like it hadn’t been cared for in weeks. His beard was long and full of debris. He looked completely disheveled.
After seeing this, the customer went back in the barbershop and shouted, “Guess what I just found out? Barbers don’t exist!”
The barber looked at the customer as if he had lost his mind and replied, “Why do you say that? You know good and well I’m a barber.”
“Apparently barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no one with dirty hair and beards needing to be trimmed. Nobody would look like that man outside on the street if barbers existed,” the man said.
For many years, people have looked to situations around them to disprove the existence of God. However, notice you never hear people say doctors don’t exist because there’s still sickness in the world; teachers don’t exist because there’s still ignorance; or mechanics don’t exist because cars stop running.
The real proof God exists cannot be found externally; it is found deep within. It is the conclusion -- the conviction of the soul that comes from a true connection with a living presence.
When we talk about hunger, suffering and pain, we are speaking of our relationship with the material world. Our connection with God is about our spirit meeting with his spirit apart from the physical senses. It is an inner knowing that we are embraced by a loving, healing presence despite the circumstances around us.
You may not always prove God exists by world conditions or news reports. According to the hymn writer, the proof is in the soul.
“Yes, God is real.
He’s real in my soul.
Yes, God is real,
For he has washed and made me whole.
His love is for me is like pure gold.
Yes, God is real for I can feel him in my soul.”
The Rev. Gail T. Smith is pastor of the Universal Light Christian Center in Macon.