“I’m an atheist,” Paul* said.
“Have you always been one?” I inquired.
“No, and I don’t want to talk about it right now!”
Honoring his request, but finding a glimmer of hope in the words, I bided my time. Instead of talking, we just walked. Paul was attending a depression recovery program; and he, like many attending the seminar, either had doubts about God or stated a disbelief in God.
Later, at what seemed like the right moment, I asked, “So, what made you decide that you would be an atheist?”
There was complete silence, then Paul said, “You know, I’ve felt terrible. I’ve tried all kinds of approaches only to find myself slipping into deeper darkness and depression. I guess,” he said, trembling, “I guess I gave up on God because I thought, If He is God, He must know about my situation; and I’ve cried out to Him, but there has been no answer.” I said nothing. Then Paul made this comment: “You know, over the past few days, I’ve felt better than I have in years. I’ve begun to believe that God may be there after all.”
I gently said, “You know, Paul, I believe He is.” During the next several days, using God’s simple remedies, Paul came out of his depression. He was revived physically, but more importantly, he was also revived spiritually with the hope of eternal life.
—Don Mackintosh, MDiv, serves as health evangelism leadership program Director and Campus Chaplain, Weimar College, Weimar, California, United States.
* A pseudonym.