Author and cartoonist James Thurber made this provocative observation about life: “All persons must learn before they die what they are running from and what they are running to, and why.”
Several years ago, these words appeared on the cover of the Grand Rapids telephone directory: “Look in the book first.” It was a reminder to check its pages for numbers before calling the operator.
The colorful folder I received through the mail advertised a series of books describing “the most fascinating study of man’s origin ever published.” The slick advertisement suggests that through eons of time primitive matter evolved into living creatures that eventually became modern man. From this pseudoscientific presentation I can only conclude that my existence is the result of a chemical accident, and that my life has no real purpose. I am a pathetic animal indeed!
Whenever I visit the Korean Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, I notice that the people seldom refer to one another by their first name. They speak formally of each other and to each other—Mr. Kim, Mr. Pyen, Mrs. Hugh. One day I asked Mr. Pyen about this custom. He replied, “Only when we know people intimately do we use their first name.”
Several years ago in Florida, I watched the sky, ominously black, as a howling wind drove the rain in stinging sheets across angrily churning baywaters. A hurricane was approaching! All day long, radio and television stations gave urgent instructions on how to guard against the destructive winds and surging tides of the impending storm.
Swedish hymnist Lina Sandell Berg served with her father in an evangelistic ministry. As they were traveling by ship, he accidentally fell overboard and drowned. In need of the comfort that only God can supply, she wrote the following words that are still sung by Christians around the world:
Dr. Denis Burkitt achieved fame for discovering the cause and cure of a disease named after him— Burkitt’s lymphoma. He also received widespread acclaim for demonstrating the benefits of a fiber-rich diet, which earned him the amusing nickname “Fiber Man.”
The story is told of a young boy living in a poverty-stricken section of a big city who found his way into a gospel meeting and was converted. Not long afterward, someone tried to shake his faith by asking him several puzzling questions: “If God really loves you, why doesn’t someone take better care of you? Why doesn’t He tell somebody to send you a new pair of shoes?” The boy thought for a moment and then said, as the tears filled his eyes, “I guess He does tell somebody, but somebody forgets!”