On March 1, 2018, I got a phone call I’ll never forget. “Your grandpa’s kidneys aren’t functioning, and he’s not going to make it,” my mom told me.
I knew my grandpa’s health wasn’t great, but this news still came as a shock. Within a few hours, my wife and I packed our three daughters in the car and headed for the hospital.
On the way, we began prepping my daughters with the reality that this might be the last time they would ever see their great-grandpa. Attempting to encourage us, my six-year-old daughter said, “Don’t worry, we will see him again in Heaven.”
Her statement brought me to tears. Rather than emotional support, I was paralyzed by sorrow. You see, at that moment, my grandpa wasn’t a believer. He had not believed in Jesus to receive eternal life. Now time was running out.
When we got to the hospital, we weren’t allowed to see my grandpa. Doctors and nurses were busily running tests and attending to his needs. As a result, we were forced to wait in the lobby. After waiting for over an hour, we were told my grandpa needed some additional tests that would take another 45 minutes. Our young girls were getting antsy and hungry, so we decided to take them home.
After a quick bite to eat at home, I picked up my eldest sister, and we headed back to the hospital. I had to fly out the next morning for the reTHINK Apologetics Student Conference in Dallas, so this was likely my last opportunity to speak to my grandpa.
That night, a miracle happened. When we got back to the hospital, the lobby was empty. My family—my grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and siblings—were gone. They all went for dinner, giving my sister and me an opportunity to speak to our grandpa alone.
Without going into all of the details, this was an answer to prayer. In our time together, we carefully laid out a very clear gospel message. Quite surprisingly, my grandpa received it with joy. If I’m honest, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “It isn’t supposed to be this easy,” I thought to myself. There were no intellectual objections. He didn’t bring up any of the challenges I’ve been trained to refute. He just believed.
After praying with my grandpa, we left his hospital room overwhelmed by God’s goodness.
Same Event, Different Feeling
The next morning, I headed to the airport. As I drove, a very different feeling overwhelmed me: doubt. I didn’t doubt God’s goodness. I didn’t raise the problem of evil. It was deeper than that.
I thought, “Who am I to share about eternal life to a dying man? How can I be so sure I’m right? I’m not that smart. Maybe I’m wrong about all this.” It felt like I was hit in the gut.
The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on me. Here I am—a professional apologist—on my way to speak at an apologetics conference, and I’m debilitated by doubt.
The paralyzing question was like a broken record playing in my mind, “What do I really know?” After a few deep breaths, I did the only thing I could think of. I started answering my doubt.
Simply put, I went back to basics. What do I know? That is, what can I reasonably conclude from the evidence? I began to make a list.
I know that truth exists.
I know that God exists.
I know that the Bible is trustworthy.
I know that Jesus is God in the flesh.
I know that Jesus rose from the dead.
How do I know these things? Is it because I’m special? No. Is it because I have some secret insights? Not at all. It is because these beliefs are the best explanation of reality. They fit the way the world really is. They are true.
The evidence informs my Christian worldview. And my Christian worldview shapes how I live my life. At difficult times in our lives, we can confidently stand on the Christian worldview. Why? Because it’s true.
This is why the reTHINK Apologetics Student Conference is so important. Doubts will come. In fact, the worst challenger you will ever face is yourself. The question is, are you ready with answers?