Tonight after tennis was over, I sat down on the bench while the other players left. Arturo lingered behind as well to pack up his things. As we were putting our rackets away, he began to ask how long I would be around. Arturo is likely in his 60s, a very polite and good hearted soul, always respectful, joyful and kind. I told him I’d be gone to Colombia for a couple weeks, which led him to ask me what I would be doing there. After about a 15 minute summary of the history of our work, the hunger of the P’s and especially the presence, purpose and meaning of life in God at the core of all we do, he sat perplexed a bit and pondering. He then, gently but honestly, confessed in a mild voice, “I’ve read parts of the Bible. Genesis, Exodos, Leviticus, Numbers etc… but I have never felt that presence that you talk about. For me, I’m an agnostic. I can’t deny the presence of God, but neither can I prove it and I just have never felt that which others talk about.” He went on to give more reason for his agnosticism based on some of the horrific things he has seen people do in the name of Christianity. He said, “for example, 5 people get killed and the one standing by who survives says, ‘oh thank God that it wasn’t me'”. He looked up and said, “Where is the love for the people who got killed? Where is the compassion of the mothers of them?”

I said, “Very good Arturo! So true!” I went on to acknowledge and compliment his honesty. I said, “I respect that you say you are an agnostic. It’s one thing to say you’re an atheist. In that case, one must be able to prove the absence of God which is really impossible to do. So the fact that you say you are an agnostic is respectable and honest.” I could tell he felt affirmed that I recognized the virtues that he valued. Yet then I said, “But I do have a question for you. What is honesty? Where does it come from? What is the honesty that you desire to have? Why do you have it? Is it biological? What is it and why is it in you? Likewise, the justice that you require for the person who only cared for himself when the five others died, where does it come from? Actually, what is it? Is it muscular? or cellular? or in the blood or brain? Is it physical at all? What is the conscience and why is it there? These are things that are non-physical. They are beyond the material realm, but no one would dare say that they did not exist. My question is: if there is no God, then what are these things and where do they come from?” His eyes lit up and said, “Yes, there must be a God. Nothing else makes sense. But I just don’t have that feeling myself to know for sure.”

We went on to have a very nice conversation about spiritual things verses physical things. Then all of a sudden in the middle of the conversation, an expression of interest came over his face. His eyes lit up, he looked me in the eye and said, “You know! I’m going to read the Bible again!” I said “Good. Read it. That is great. But you know what is the key to knowing God yourself? It all comes down to whether you yourself call out to Him. It’s one thing to study about God and contemplate. But it’s another to cry out to God yourself and ask Him directly. Cry out to Him yourself and ask Him if he’s real or not. I guarantee you, He will reveal Himself to every heart that cries out to him with a genuine heart.” He said, “Maybe I will try that someday.” He went on to ask me what religion I identified with. I told him, “With none of them, but rather with every person who calls on the name of Jesus Christ in sincerity.” I said, “Read the gospel of John. It says right at the start of the book that Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God, the eternal Word. He is the declaration of the invisible God. He changed the entire world. There’s no other person in the history of all the world that has influenced the world like He did.”

We made our way off the court and as I was saying goodnight and that I’d see him again on Thursday, he said, “Yes okay. See you Thursday.” But then I could tell that more than tennis, he was appreciating the conversation we just had and he said, “Yes, but thank you for the talk. That was a very good conversation.” I smiled, agreed with him and said goodnight.

Pray for Arturo as the Spirit leads you. I really enjoyed getting to talk to him tonight and sense he’s on an awakening journey.


PS. More on my trip to Colombia and the P’s in the next update!