A little boy 10 years old writes me as follows:
“Will you please write and say whether there is a God or not? A man told me there isn’t any. I asked the teacher and she said she didn’t know, as some said there was and some said there wasn’t. Mamma says there is, but Papa says he doesn’t know about such things. We boys have had a debate about it and we thought we would ask you. ”
Yes, my boy, there is a God. You cannot see or hear Him, but I will tell you how you can feel Him.
Did you ever lie, or cheat, or steal, or treat a smaller boy cruelly, or be a coward when you should have been brave? If so, you have felt a hurt inside your mind, a miserable feeling in your heart, as if you were sick at your stomach, or as if you had struck your finger with a hammer. It is God that makes you hurt.
Have you ever wanted to do something mean, or nasty, and resisted the desire, put it away from you, and acted honestly and fair; and have you not noticed then a good feeling, a sense of inner pride and satisfaction and manhood? It is God that gives you this feeling when you play the man.
Have you ever looked up at the sky at night and remembering what you have been told about the vast distances of the stars, and that they are worlds like ours moving through space as fast as cannon-balls, have you never had a feeling of wonder, of how great and majestic the universe is, and you but a tiny mite in it all? That feeling of wonder and awe comes from God. A very wise man, Carlyle, said that worship is wonder; so that when you see anything that makes you wonder because of its greatness or beauty or mystery, you are really worshipping God, whether the object be the ocean, the mountain, or a good woman.
It is not the police that protect our lives, my boy. Only a few wicked men come into conflict with the policeman. But there is something that holds every man back from cruelty and uncleanness, that stays the murderers arm, and causes many a woman to drown herself rather than be vile. That something is God. He watches over us all and neither slumbers nor sleeps.
None of us understands why He allows so many people to do wrong, but we feel that there is something in every human breast that makes wrongdoing bring misery every time.
The most important thing for you to believe about God is that He is not your enemy, and He is not watching you like a detective to punish you, but that He is your friend, that He is living and serving you every minute of your life.
Listen to your heart beating, as you lie awake in bed. All night, while you are unconscious, something is making your heart beat thus, and your lungs breathe, and attending to all the functions of your body. That is God. Nobody has ever yet found a better name.
It is God who rolls the stars in the heavens, who lifts the sun up in the morning, and guides the moon at night; who causes the wheat and corn, the trees and flowers to grow; who brings the birds back from the south in the spring; who makes the little lambs frolic and the kittens play; who makes children happy, and grown people kind and patient.
Wherever you find LIFE and GOODNESS and GREATNESS you may know God is there.
So, my boy, whether your folks are Hebrew or Christian, Buddhist or Mohammedan, even if they are “nothing at all,” you may rest assured that they will not object to your believing what I have here told you; and you may be sure also that to believe in God and to try to feel and follow Him will do more than anything else in the world to make you an honest, happy, and brave man; to make those who love you glad because of you; and to make all the world respect and trust you.
Four Minute Essays
Dr. Frank Crane