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To get to high school in New York City when I was sixteen required an hour's ride in the subway. I used the time to read and to do homework.

One day, during the train ride to school, an old man approached me. He was perhaps sixty to my sixteen. With a Bible conspicuously in hand he asked me, in the name of God, to accept Christ and be saved.

With the confident arrogance of youth I told him that I didn't believe in God.

Affronted, he said, "You'll see when you are old and ill and need help. You'll believe in God then."

"Well", thought I, "the testimony of an infirm and dying man hardly serves as authority in the matter of whether there is a God or not. Show me God is there. Then I'll believe it. Bothersome man. A meagre mind."

Age has brought me a more generous view.

Proofs of the existence of God were of no concern to that old man. The benefit of the belief was its justification. Consolation of the spirit, healing of the body, comfort from the society of fellow believers, personal attention from the almighty. These were sufficient cause to believe in God.

He cared that I get the blessing of belief when I had the need.

The blessing of belief has been denied me. I cannot believe in God.

But I better understand the old man.

A compassionate soul!

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April 2004
Marvin Chester


© m chester 2004 Occidental CA