We can deny God and make fun of those who believe in Him—but what’s our response when He confronts us personally?
Even though I had always gone to church with my family, I was an agnostic. A nuclear scientist, I prided myself on my knowledge and accomplishments. As a student of the Bible, which I considered a marvelous history book with beautiful poetry, I prided myself on being able to use my knowledge to destroy the faith of others in God’s Word.
The churches my wife, Jean, and I attended were merely social clubs. When we joined one congregation, I informed the minister that I didn’t believe in the virgin birth or Christ’s divinity. He shrugged his shoulders. “That’s all right,” he said. “I don’t either. Welcome to the fellowship!” I became a Sunday School teacher.
All my life I had been interested in science. Every nuclear power plant in the United States, as well as many around the world, had benefited from the processes I had developed to protect nuclear plants against earthquakes and flooding. Who needed a god? I reasoned. If I had a god, it was my work or myself.
When my company transferred me to Massachusetts, my family and I started attending the first church that had ever made me feel uncomfortable. There the minister preached that all are sinners, that Jesus Christ had died for our sins, and that in order for us to live eternally, we have to trust Christ as our Savior. The pastor’s altar call every Sunday bothered me too. No one was allowed to join that church unless he or she was “born again.”
About six weeks after we started attending. Jean and our children went forward during an altar call. After that, Jean glowed. “I’ve trusted the Lord Jesus as my Savior, Bob!” she exclaimed. “Now I know what the people in this church have that I didn’t!”
Jean changed immediately. Always before, my wife had looked up to me as if I were her god. Now she dared to tell me I was no longer number one in her life. Jesus was! Where before she would meekly do everything I said, now she began saying, “Honey, I don’t think that’s what Jesus would want us to do.”
“Jesus! That’s all you can think of,” I exclaimed, “as if He were God or something!”
“He is,” she answered.
Jean took a course on Christian womanhood, and she became sweeter than ever. Instead of meeting me head-on when she didn’t agree with what I wanted to do, she lovingly talked me out of my ideas. Knowing how I prided myself on my biblical knowledge, she began to ask me questions about the Bible. Flattered, I started digging to get the answers for her.
“I’m praying for you, Honey,” she often said. “I know I’m going to heaven someday, and heaven won’t be heaven for me if you aren’t there!”
“There is no heaven!” I declared authoritatively. “And by the way, there’s no hell, either!”
I had a lot to learn. God was going to teach me that I wasn’t as self-sufficient and all-knowing as I thought I was. Some things human beings have no control over. One of those is incurable disease!
I was scheduled to make a six-week trip to Asia in connection with a two-unit nuclear power plant in Taiwan.
“I’m praying you won’t go on this trip,” Jean said.
A few weeks before I was due to leave, I started to hemorrhage. I went to a specialist, who gave me a complete physical, then admitted me into the hospital for further tests. These revealed that I had diverticulosis and a lesion on my colon. The doctor operated and found it necessary to remove 18 inches of my colon because of a malignancy.
Mistakenly thinking I was asleep, the surgeon talked to Jean outside my room. “Mrs. Faid,” he said, “I have to tell you very bluntly that we have found many, many more cancerous growths in your husband that we weren’t able to remove. I’m afraid he hasn’t much of a chance. We’re going to run tests, and in five days we’ll know the definite answer.”
Immediately, Jean phoned her brother, Jim, who had connections with hundreds of Christians who believed in the power of prayer. They all went to prayer for this self-sufficient agnostic who scoffed at their personal God, their Jesus Christ.
Five days later, when the pathology report came back, it revealed that those lesions, which the doctor had been sure were cancerous, were not. And I began to think that maybe there was some truth in what these Christians had been telling me!
When I was discharged from the hospital, Jean’s friends started bringing me bags full of Christian books to read while I recuperated. I read them all, and I discovered to my surprise that many intelligent, successful people actually believe what I had always considered fantasy.
Then I attended a men’s prayer breakfast, at which I heard a testimony that touched me because it revealed God’s power in one man’s life. That week I finally acknowledged that perhaps there was a God. “OK, God,” I said, “if there’s anything to this, I want to know about it!”
The following Sunday, Jean took the children to Sunday School. I planned to join them for church. I got dressed, and as I walked through the family room, it suddenly seemed as if the Lord were actually speaking to me as He did to Saul on the Damascus road! Suddenly I was no longer an agnostic. I could no longer deny that Jesus Christ was who He said he was, the Son of God who had come to this earth to die for sinners. I saw and acknowledged that I myself was the sinner He loved and had died for. I felt God’s Spirit fill my whole being with His love, and I humbly yielded to Him in awed amazement.
When Jean came home, she found a brand-new husband. I was no longer the arrogant scientist, but a humble follower of Jesus Christ. “Everything’s going to be all right, Honey,” I exclaimed. “Whatever happens, we’ll have peace and joy with the Lord in this house!”
Thus Christ became Number One not only with my wife but with me as well. As a member of the American Nuclear Society, I had written several technical papers and articles for various scientific magazines. Since coming to the Lord, I’ve used my scientific knowledge, as well as my knowledge of His Word, to write books that give evidence of the existence of God and the truth of His Word.
I have also learned that pride—a haughty spirit—not only is indulged in by lost people, but may also be a problem for Christians. As time has passed, I’ve had to battle this tendency in myself. When the Holy Spirit has convicted me of it, I’ve gone to my knees to the Lord in repentance. And I thank God that when we confess our sins, He promises to forgive us our sins and will purify us from unrighteousness.*
By Robert Faid as told to Muriel Larson. They write from Greenville, South Carolina.