God Not Discouraged
“UNTO us who are privileged to draw aside the curtain into the secrets of thy universe, teach us that our whole duty is to love Thee our God and to keep the commandments.” Thus prayed a United States chaplain of a warship just before his government began one of its recent atom bomb tests. This prayer caused a columnist of the Long Beach, California, Independent, one Sydney J. Harris, to say, among other things:
“Presumably there is at least one commandment that a chaplain on a warship is in no position to invoke. It would seem a trifle awkward to enjoin ‘Thou shalt not kill’ just before the detonation of a bomb with the power of several million tons of TNT, capable of killing a few hundred thousand of His children.” Harris then ironically suggests a more realistic prayer, which he begins with:
“Unto us who have the pride and presumption to release the most devastating forces of nature, O Lord, be merciful.” He then asks God for protection from all the various kinds of havoc that an atom bomb can wreak or inflict upon the brain, the nervous system, the lungs, the heart, the viscera, etc.
Harris then concludes his mock prayer with: “Visit these catastrophes upon our enemies, not upon us, and we promise to love Thee and to keep the commandments—all except one, O Lord.”
“This at least,” he goes on to say, “would be an honest and meaningful prayer. No nonsense, no hypocrisy, no solemn theological jargon to disguise and sanctify the purpose and the power of the bomb. The Lord, I am sure, would not grant this prayer—but it would not, at any rate, be an insult to His intelligence and an affront to His benevolence. Sometimes I think he must be more discouraged by the blindness of his shepherds than by the folly of his sheep.”
From the foregoing it is apparent that a newspaper columnist has more understanding regarding God’s requirements for prayer than does a clergyman, for truly the very first one is that of honesty, sincerity. What God thinks of such prayers as the chaplain offered, his Word tells us: “When you spread forth your hands [in supplication], I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.” And again: “They will keep calling me but I shall not answer, they will keep looking for me but they will not find me, for the reason that they hated knowledge, and the fear of Jehovah they did not choose.”—Isa. 1:15, RS; Prov. 1:28, 29.
But in one respect Harris is mistaken—if he thinks that God is discouraged, disheartened or has his courage lessened by what any of his creatures may do. Such would be an admission that he is not all-wise, nor all-powerful. Did he not foretell this very situation? He did: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be . . . having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” Since conditions are coming to pass just as he foretold, he has no reason for being discouraged, has he?—2 Tim. 3:1-5.
Then, too, in spite of what men may or may not do, his purposes regarding the earth and man will be realized, even as he assures us: “I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it.” And what are his purposes regarding the earth? “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.”—Isa. 46:11; 11:9, AS.
Surely, in view of these truths and facts, it can be confidently asserted that God does not get discouraged, regardless of what men may do. To help men of good will to benefit from the realization of God’s purposes regarding the earth and man is one of the purposes of this magazine.