If there really is a God, then let Him strike me down, right here, right now / by kevin murray

Those words I did never speak, but in my teenage years we were about to start a basketball game and one of my friends, said words to the effect, "There is no God, and I challenge this fake God that only fools believe in, to strike me down right here, right now, and to prove your existence and almighty power, because If you do not, than you do not exist."  I am not sure whether my friend, (and here I should better describe him as my school friend, not a close friend, as I don't believe we ever did anything together outside of seeing each other at school) was having a bad day, was frustrated, recently experienced a lost, or perhaps was in need of love, but wasn't feeling love.  I do remember that there was silence when he spoke those words, and quite frankly, I, for one, was concerned that God might just strike us all down, accidently taking us innocents to Kingdom Come, because of guilt by association, and there indeed was an uncomfortable silence for a little while.  My erstwhile friend was pleased as within a minute or two, he declared victory over this pretend God and soon we got down to the business of playing ball, but I know that for myself, I was feeling a little uncomfortable about playing the game, and very uncomfortable about any future games with this particular friend, and further to the point, I was also wondering why God didn’t just turn him into a pillar of salt, I mean, he did, after all, ask for it.


Because I was young, I certainly lacked wisdom, and consequently I actually thought that God might or should take up my friend's challenge, but I know now that isn't fundamentally the way that God behaves.  First off, despite the words that my friend used, it does not mean that those words on the surface are actually the words in his heart.  For instance, there are many people that strike out with intense frustration when their will is thwarted, or that have a provocative personality, or simply are ignorant, or angry, or just like to say mean things because it's easier to hurt someone as oppose to helping another.  God recognizes who we really are, he knows our heart, "….but God knoweth your hearts…" Luke16:15.  Additionally, you cannot test God, nor tempt him, as the devil tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, He responded, in Matthew 4:7: "Jesus said unto him, it is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."


There was a time, however, when blasphemy or even the hint of blasphemy could cost you your life, and while that is no longer true in this country, it still remains true in certain civilizations of today, that the State has the power to enforce religious law as they perceive it to be.  Exodus 20:7, one of our Ten Commandments states: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."  This commandment is taken very seriously by certain peoples, be they Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, in fact, for certain orthodox Jews, the proper name of God cannot be written or spoken, because of the fear that by doing so, they will inadvertently take the Lord thy God's name in vain.


For my friend on that day, he lived to fight another day, and many other school days; I do not know, however, where he is today or how he is even doing.  I suspect that he forgot about the incident many years ago, and perhaps it made no impression upon him even on that day.  It did make an impression upon me, as provocation is generally not a wise move, especially against He who is all knowing and all powerful, nor is disrespecting God smart, but even if we never directly take our Lord's name in vain in our words, by our actions most of us do so every day, as how many of us can honestly state that we live up to these words of Luke 10:27: "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."