article by site founder, Connie Rice
Most of us are familiar with the line, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, referencing the “The New York Sun’s” response to a little girl’s inquiry in 1897 about whether or not Santa Claus exists, someone who is good and eternal and has gifts for those who believe. In our present culture of confusion, fear, immorality, corruption, violence, efforts to cancel those who have a message different from a particular narrative, and evil seemingly rising up all around, people may question whether or not a loving God really exists. Life can be very difficult in a broken world. Some try to escape harsh realities through entertainment, alcohol, drugs, pleasure, ambition, withdrawal, or even things that tend to be more positive (sports, family excursions, etc.). I believe that those of us who have come to know God through trusting in Jesus for salvation and follow Him in obedience can answer those who, like Virginia, might be asking whether or not someone who is good, eternal, and has gifts for those who believe really exists.
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins..”1 John 4:9-10
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.Romans 5:1-11
He has revealed Himself through all He has made and wants us to recognize our need for Him and our need for the gift of salvation that He freely offers to those who believe. He is a personal God and so responds to each person in ways that are personal and designed specifically to them. The “Got Questions” article, “How Does God reveal Himself to Us?” explains this well. At times, God allows challenges in our lives to get our attention. We tend to just let one day turn into another unless something jolts us out of our routine or security or comfort zone, and shows us that we don’t have the answers or power we need and that is what it takes for us to reach out to God for help. If we take the time and effort to really look at what God has made and the incredible design and complexity that exhibit His genius, it leaves us in awe. That’s why Satan attacks the biblical account of Creation as well as the Flood of Noah, which clearly shows how serious sin and evil are to God. Satan knows that if he can cause people to doubt those areas, he can deceive them into thinking that they can somehow be accountable only to themselves in this world and they can ignore, rationalize, or even celebrate their sin. Sadly, many have bought that lie and have turned away from their Creator. They will have missed out on the greatest relationship they could ever experience and miss being in awe of who He is and recognizing that they will one day stand in judgment before a holy God. God is love as well as patient, merciful, and forgiving, but He is also perfectly just and holy, so He must judge sin (as He alone defines it to be).
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”2 Peter 3:9-13
When we really look closely at what God has made, we see that the idea of one creature turning into another over time is utterly ridiculous. When I was young, the public school system taught Darwinian Evolution as a theory (actually, it doesn’t even measure up to a theory). Although I did not attend church or know what the Bible taught (outside of biblical values that were taught by my parents), I was able to critically evaluate what was actually being taught and rejected it, seeing that it made no sense in light of what I could see in the animal kingdom and in humans. Therefore, this issue was never a stumbling block for me. A number of years ago, public schools began teach Darwinian Evolution as a fact instead of a theory (even though discoveries since are better supported by the biblical account), so this issue has been a stumbling block for many. Unfortunately, even some in the faith community became convinced that science had somehow proven long ages and/or some form of evolution. Actually, the scientific method involves testing of a proposed hypothesis and the results of repeated testing either support or falsify the proposed hypothesis. Science textbooks continually change based on the discovery of new evidence. Evolutionary proponents conflate observational science (which can be tested) with historical science (which cannot be tested) and then attribute the term “science” to their interpretations of the evidence. What results is a particular narrative and then the work of any scientist not in alignment with that narrative is effectively excluded from the conversation and their reputations and sometimes their careers are intentionally damaged (combination of cancel culture and propaganda). The film, “No Intelligence Allowed”, by Ben Stein exposes this.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools,”Romans 1:18-22
After praying for years that the Holy Spirit would move in a mighty way to draw people to the Lord, for a revival of God’s people, and for another Great Awakening of historic proportion in our nation and around the world, it seems that it may be God’s timing to do just that (many others have been praying similarly). As this is written, there have been accounts of tens of thousands of people drawing near to God. So far, these have been in Christian universities, high schools, and youth groups, which would be classified more as an outpouring of God’s Spirit on His children that could bring a spiritual revival of God’s people. I pray this continues and spreads and that a new great awakening will follow as happened when God drew those caught up in the hippie culture to Himself in the late 60’s & 70’s of the 20th Century. Perhaps we are on the crest of it as God has orchestrated the timing of “Jesus Revolution” film, which is an excellent and powerful film on that movement in Southern California (in theatres this week at the time of this post). In that time, God used Chuck Smith and Lonnie Frisbee to reach young people with the love and truth of Christ and were used by Him to help so many in find peace, joy, community, and purpose, along with the power to overcome the sins, hurts, and addictions that were destroying their lives. Greg Laurie was saved through this ministry and went on to pastor Harvest Church and create numerous “Harvest Crusades” (huge gatherings of people seeking after the Lord). I was privileged to attend some of these.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”Romans 8:1-8
God is always working, but America as a culture has been pushing Him away, seeking after their own path(s). As our nation has moved farther away from Him and deeper into sinful ways, His blessings have been withdrawn and judgment is falling on us. As He has done so many other times in history, I pray that He would do a mighty work in helping people discover that only by accepting His free gift of salvation through Jesus and choosing to obey Him (understanding that His ways are for our good and that His plan is perfect), can we experience a meaningful personal relationship with our Creator that brings not only brings His peace, His strength, and His joy, but also a deep sense of purpose as He allows us to join Him in His Kingdom work.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:31-39
God wants that none should perish and wants to have a personal relationship with each person and blesses those who seek Him with their whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. Still not sure if a loving God exists? Sincerely seek Him and find out. When I cried out to Him for help and surrendered my life to Him and His purposes, He made Himself known and I seek Him every day through His Word and prayer. I have discovered that there is no better plan than the one He has purposed for each of us. This life entails struggles and we’ll suffer because Jesus suffered, but He sustains us through it all with supernatural peace, strength, and joy – all with a clear conscience! As some of the infomercials have said, “but that’s not all!” God also gives us hope – knowing that we look forward to an eternity in heaven with Him, with no sin, no evil, no pain, no sickness, & no death. Getting back to Virginia’s letter – Santa Claus was actually based on a real person in Asia Minor. St. Nicolaus was a good man (but still a flawed human being) who gave gifts anonymously to those in need in obedience to teaching of Jesus Christ. How amazing is it that we are able to have a personal relationship with the One He was trying to reflect? The gift of salvation is free to us, but it cost Jesus Christ everything – He deserves all praise and glory. Yes, Virginia, there is a loving God!
© Constance Rice 2023
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