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The Atheist

Before you read this story, I'd like to remind you that you that you are in the forum "I trust God to Guide Me."  Despite the title of this story, "The Athiest", this is a story designed for this forum.  It is an inspirational story about seeing God's hand in my life, through my work.  That said., if this type of forum is not for you, please do not read the story.  You will not enjoy it.  All others, enjoy the read.....


An atheist came to me for therapy. This made me question God's judgment.   "God, you have GOT to be kidding me? I teach people to see you in their lives… And you send me an atheist?! What the heck am I going to teach an atheist? I think you made a mistake this time God. I really do." Too funny!  I am questioning God. 

I question God's choice of me for this task, but ultimately I know I need to trust my gift. Ironically,  I will soon realize that God knows exactly what he is doing.   

The atheist is a man in his late 60s. He has a huge insurance deductible and he has arthritis.  He has to pay cash for medication. The most effective medication for his type of arthritis is very expensive. He's in a lot of pain. So he begins looking at local clinical trials that include this medication, hoping that he can qualify for one of the trials and receive the meds for free. 

He applies to a clinical trial that is looking for African American men who have smoked for at least 10 years. This arthritis medication has cured polyps in the colon. They think this medication might also be able to reduce or cure polyps in the lungs of former smokers. The atheist is NOT African American. He wants the drug, so he dupes the researchers over the phone and they give him an face to face interview. When he gets to the interview, they realize he is not African American.  They tell him he can't qualify for the study because he is not African American. However, no one has volunteered to participate in the clinical trial. The atheist promises to recruit volunteers for the clinical trial, if they will agree to make him a participant. If the researchers don't get participants, they lose their funding. So they agree to accept him as a participant, and he agrees to get them participants.   

The atheist talks to his friends at lunch about needing to find African American participants. One friend refers him to a man. Turns out this man he is referred to is a Baptist minister. The atheist sets an appointment with the Baptist Minister. They will meet this afternoon at the church. My client is scared now. He says to himself, "I'm going to meet a Baptist Minister in a church! I'm an atheist. I can't let him know that I'm an atheist or he will not help me. I want that drug! How am I going to do this?"  

The atheist has an interesting hobby.  He dumpster dives for old appliances, tinkers with them, refurbishes them and re-sells them. The management at my client's apartment complex changed out the air conditioning units in the entire complex. The atheist was curious as to what they were doing with the old air conditioning units.

He thought, "if they are going to put the units in the dumpster, I'll rescue them tonight, recondition them and sell them to make extra money."  

He asks the maintenance man, "What are you going to do with the old units?"

"We're going to store them, in case a unit breaks down. That way we can use it as a temporary unit to tide tenants over if their new unit breaks down."

"Oh, okay. Thanks."

"No problem."

The atheist heads to the church to meet with the minister.  The minister is sitting in his office, behind his desk, using the mouse on his computer to search the web for something. The atheist pops his head into the minister's office. 

"Hi, we spoke on the phone."

"Yes, Hi. Come on in. I've been waiting for you."

The minister says, "Have a seat. How is your day going?"

"Well, I thought I was going to have a windfall of a day. I dumpster dive for appliances, refurbish them, then I re-sell them. I thought I was going to have a great opportunity tonight, but it didn't pan out."

The Minister chuckles, "You've got to be kidding me…I dumpster dive too. I dive for furniture. The night before the trash collection, I drive through the neighborhoods and look for furniture at the curbs. I take it home, refinish it and re-sell it."  

They talk and talk about the great finds they have found and the money they have made. Now the atheist is feeling real comfortable. So he begins telling the Minister why he is there.

"I am recruiting for a medical study. The study is looking for African American participants who are former smokers. They will test the participants and give them free medical care and medication, if they qualify for the study."

"Really, just this weekend I was approached by some indigent members of my congregation. They could probably use this service, as I am sure they do not have medical insurance. How about I talk about the study in this Sunday's services?"

"That would be FANTASTIC!"

The minister asks, "Can I print your name and number in our service bulletin, so that potential participants can contact you if they are interested?"

"Sure!"

The atheist writes down his cell phone number and information. All the while, the minister has been multi-tasking, searching the web for something while they talked.  The atheist is feeling very comfortable so he leans over the desk and asks "So what are you searching for?"

The minister says, "Well, you know how I told you about the indigent people in my congregation? Well, they came to me this past weekend because it is VERY hot this summer here in Houston and they do not have air conditioning in their apartments. So I'm trying to locate some free air conditioning units for them."

Bingo!!! A lightbulb goes off in the atheist's head.

"I just might be able to help you with that one. Let me see what I can do."

He leaves, goes back to the apartment complex, speaks to the management and tells them about the needy people with no air conditioning. He tells them that if they donate the old, used air conditioners to the church they would be helping these people and they would get a tax write-off. The managers agree to donate all the air conditioners to the church. The atheist coordinates the effort. The people get their air conditioners and in turn they volunteer for the study. The atheist gets his medicine. The researchers don't lose their study funding.  I help the atheist see the processes at work in this weird coincidence.  The atheist saw God's hand at work in his life. He began to question whether he was an atheist. 

My question is this:   If God will use an atheist to do his will, then does God care whether you believe in him or not?  

Many people believe that by verbally stating that they believe God, that they are a Christian.  Yet, in this story, we see someone who hasn't verbally accepted God, is being guided by God to execute God's will. 

Which counts more? 

Does the talk (aka-I accept God in my life) or the walk (aka-God guides me to execute God's will and I do it) detemine the character of the person? 

The atheist in the story didn't want to go to a minister.  Yet, he conquered his fears, and by doing so unknowingly trusted God to guide him. As a result, he got what he wanted, because God's will be done. 

So we learn from this that if you don't believe in God, that does not mean that God doesn't believes in you. It also does not mean that God will not work through you for good.   

 

Reproof Reproof 51-55, F 22 Responses Aug 8, 2008

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Oh hey, something nice happened that was completely within the bounds of logic and reasoning, but involved an atheist, those nasty nasty unbelievers, so God did it, yay for my invisible friend, he is the Lord of fantasy.

I don't judge non-believers. I just put it out there to show people who DO judge non-believers that God sees value in athiests...so we should not judge them.

People like you disgust me.<br />
There is no God, and this man acted in that way, because he is a good man and he needed the medication, not because of all the false logical statements you've written down to support his actions.<br />
How the heck do people like you get a Ph.D.?<br />
And please, don't reply to me, I'm not into talking to this kind of people.<br />
You regard people not belonging to social groups as outlaws.

And yes, God was holding my hand when I was writing this, so send your thanks to the bearded old man in the skies.

I apologize. I did not put a qualifier at the beginning of the story to remind folks that they are in the forum "I Trust God to Guide Me." I am assuming that you did not realize that this is a forum about seeing God in one's everyday experience. I imagine if you knew you were in this type of forum, you probably wouldn't have read the story and become annoyed by it. My bad.

I am not the blind one here.

Why would you want to?

I wish i could change your mind about God... although i have not the means.

I wanted to add an amazing epiphany to this thread. Just because someone does not believe in God, that does NOT mean that God will not use them to execute his will. God will use sinners, athiests...etc. if they are the perfect person in just the exact right space in time to ignite the person he is stearing on the path of their purpose. So you do not need to believe in God for him to utilize you in his master plan. That is the beauty of it all. I just LOVE that concept.

Dainbramage,<br />
I agree with you. Using the Bible to criticize, to judge or to harm others defiles the intent of the Bible. In recent years, I too have read the Bible (cover to cover) several times. Now that I am very educated and pretty far along on the wisdom trail, I understand the deeper messages imbedded in the Bible. <br />
<br />
Faucon's dialogue was reactive and impulsive. If Faucon had done some research before he/she asserted that statement into the forum, he/she would know that I DO NOT write ACTUAL/REAL patient stories. That would be unethical. <br />
<br />
It was clear that Faucon had not researched his presumption. Since Faucon's response was not founded on researched fact, it was clear that Faucon's response had an alterior motive. Faucon's intent was to take control of the forum by discrediting me. Faucon exhibited a CLASSIC control drama tactic through this behavior. <br />
<br />
The optimum strategy when facing a control drama tactics is: "DO NOT ENGAGE" in the dynamic. Notice that I did not debate with Faucon. I instantly know that I am NOT meant to connect with Faucon. The dialogue was not meant to connect or to contribute. The dialogue was purely an attempt at asserting control. <br />
<br />
Thanks for the words of support. Happy to have you "hanging around" ;)<br />
Reproof

I agree with Poodles53 & Faucon. Sharing REAL stories would be unethical. The characters and circumstances in my stories are fictitious representations of the kind of thing that happens in therapy sessions. <br />
<br />
God puts the knowledge in my head and the words in my stories. God guides me. The credit for all I do on EP should be given to God. I'm God's messenger. My moniker, reproof, represents that God has reproven me. Since I have been reproven, I completely TRUST God to guide me.

I agree to a point woth Faucon. As a counselor in a women's center I would be fired for sharing anything at all discussed with a client. There is a confidentiality law here. <br />
I am glad that you are able to guide them in the direction they are to go. That is why God has us as helpers. But please give credit of your gift to God. He is the one that puts the words in our mouths. Without Him to guide us, where would we be. But thank you so much for being there and helping to lead them in the right direction. I truly hope you do not find this as criticism but as a help. I do not mean to judge.

Faucon,<br />
<br />
I must say, you are right. If I posted actual, accurate, detailed stories about my patients on this forum, that would be unethical. <br />
<br />
The patients, locations, gender, age and the details in my stories are all fictitious. The lessons in the stories are real, but the characters in the stories are not. <br />
<br />
In the first 20 minutes of the first session with me, my patients don't talk much. I describe my style. FIT is critical to a good outcome. If my style isn't right for the patient, then I offer to help them find someone who is a better fit. I can't change my style to fit the patient. That would be manipulation. That would be inauthentic. <br />
<br />
Reproof

Lady...thank you for your acknowledgment and recognition. Your words mean a lot to me. <br />
<br />
It breaks my heart when I see people use the Bible with the wrong intent. The Bible was never intended to be used to control and harm people using its passages. It is supposed to inspire people and give them peace in their souls, not make them feel judged and unworthy.<br />
<br />
You get it too...I can see that. <br />
<br />
Keep flying with Owlie! <br />
Peace!<br />
Reproof

There is a passage in the Bible, Numbers 14:18, that relates to this very issue. I interpret the passage to mean that a horrific act of a father (or a mother) passes in some way through the next four generations of their family. <br />
<br />
The one who committed the sin must sit in limbo and watch the results of that horrific act weave through their family for100 years (4 generations). <br />
<br />
Imagine watching and waiting in limbo for 100 years, hoping and praying the next generation will break the cycle you caused. Every moment regretting what you had done, but not having power to fix it.<br />
<br />
Separating the negative from the patient is the challenge of my work. When I finally get to see the peace in the face of a person who is free from the past, there is no greater reward. I think about the ripple effect this moment might have on a soul stuck in limbo and on future generations. It is an honor and a privilege to witness a miracle.

Thanks Reproff..I better print ths out and read it slowly and thoughtfully. Past suffering certainly does rear it's ugly head. I've seen it surround and consume a person to death. Literally. We humans can drag it around and call it "me". That's who I am and all I'll ever be. Fifty years later, they remain with that identity. Victims of this & that. It must be hard to seperate that negative belief from a patient.

You know Owlie...mistakes have value. <br />
<br />
I always say a good soul is someone who recognizes the things that hurt them as a kid, and they do their BEST to not carry that stuff forward as an adult. <br />
<br />
If you do a good job, no one will notice. No one will thank you for it, because no one will know what you prevented the world from experiencing. Only you and God will know. <br />
<br />
You can't do that for the reward, because the reward will not come in this lifetime. You must do it simply because<br />
you know it is the right thing to do. By doing this, you develop your character, your ethics and your strength. You will need those attributes in order to execute your purpose. <br />
<br />
When you learn to spot and follow the coincidences, they will lead you back on track. Eventually, they disappear. This happens because...another life rule again... we all have FREE WILL. Free will is all about choosing to seek your purpose in your life. The choice is always yours.<br />
<br />
You can always choose to divert from our purpose path for awhile. But if you do, make sure you are diverting for the right reason. For example: You feel like you need do be more carefree/light-hearted and less deep. You need to build up your energy.<br />
<br />
If we want to take a vacation from our purpose for awhile, we can just execute our free will and do so. <br />
<br />
However, human nature doesn't usually work this way. Often times, we divert from our purpose path because our past suffering rears its ugly head and takes control of our life. Self-doubt creeps in. Then the mistakes happen. Mistakes are warning signs. They warn us when our past suffering, rather than our purpose, is controlling our choices. <br />
<br />
Ironically, seeking the lesson in the loss helps us understand another rule of life; our past sufferings must be broken from us in order to more accurately execute our purpose. <br />
<br />
When those sufferings begin to define/control your journey, your purpose becomes invisible. This is to protect your purpose from being controlled by anyone but your true self and God. Another Rule of life; What you didn't deserve CANNOT be brought forward. <br />
<br />
If you understand the purpose behind the processes of life, you realize that EVERYTHING really does happen to you for ONE SPECIFIC REASON....to guide you to your purpose. <br />
<br />
Deep stuff. But when you REALLY get it, and get WHY it happens...it all makes sense. It is so healing to understand what you did not deserve. <br />
<br />
Owlie...there is ALWAYS value in mistakes. Don't lose sight of that. If you do, you will not see what suffering you did not deserve. Suffering builds strength. Strength builds character. Character is what God judges you on in the end. You can't fake character. You have to earn it. :)

this is good news for me reproof. I have a purpose. I have a goal. What to be or not to be..I have made mistakes, flubs, errors..mass confusion, in my younger days. I needed an erasor the size of Mt. Rushmore.Clean the page and begin again. Try and fail..get it better or right with any luck.Pick myself up and walk, run or crawl to my next attempt.In the end, I hope the man will know I tried. I fixed what I broke and harmed noone..I did better then what I was dished . Now there is tomorrow and you know, " tomorrow is another day". Scarlet O'Hara. :>}

I realize that God, universal energy, Ala, the great spirit, Jehovah, Karma, Buddha, higher consciousness, whatever we want to label "it"...works through all of us regardless of what labels we choose for ourselves and our beliefs or lack of beliefs. <br />
<br />
Rick Warren, in his book "The Purpose Driven Life" discusses an interesting concept. He says everyone stands before God to be judged. <br />
<br />
Warren says if you accept Jesus Christ, when you die, only your character at the end of your life is judged by God. Not what it took to develop that character. <br />
<br />
This is brilliant! Pass through Jesus and your walk, your sins become invisible to God! You are not judged by the walk it took to develop your character. You are only judged by the character that developed as a result of that walk. All the mistakes, successes, sins and wrong choices you made becomes invisible to God. <br />
<br />
What this also means is, if you do not pass through Jesus, your entire walk becomes visible to God and you are judged by all of it.<br />
<br />
It does not say "if you do not accept Jesus as your savior, you will go to hell." All it says is pass through Jesus and your walk becomes invisible. Or don't pass through Jesus and God sees it all. Regardless of what you allow God to see, the end result is the same.... in the end YOU ARE ONLY JUDGED BY YOUR CHARACTER. <br />
<br />
Either God will get to see your entire walk, and you'll be judged on your character in context with your life's journey as a whole, of you will be judged solely on the character you have developed at the end of your life. <br />
<br />
If you have evolved your character to it's higher purpose, you still have a chance at getting into heaven, the next dimension, whatever you want to label it. So regardless of whether you believe in Jesus or not, whether you believe at all, or what you label your beliefs, the purpose of your life should be to take it all...the good and the bad of your life, and develop your highest character from it. <br />
<br />
The only conscious choice we have is do we want God to see our life walk or not. If we don't make a choice, he sees it all.<br />
<br />
I'll go one step further. I always believe the proof is in the walk, not the talk. We catch serial killers by analyzing their behavior. They can talk a brilliant game, so they rarely mess up and get caught because of their talk. They mess up in their walk. You can't lie with your behavior. You can lie with your words. So the truth of your character is solely grounded in your walk, not your talk.<br />
<br />
Regardless of your religious beliefs or lack thereof, if you eventually live the walk of Jesus, live to your unique purpose, I believe that is the equivalent to accepting Jesus by honoring his example. <br />
<br />
Whether you say out loud "I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior" or not is irrelevant. The proof is in the walk, and character develops from that walk. <br />
<br />
If your walk is amazing and your character developed from your darkest places in your soul, you have nothing to fear. Because evil evolves into good when you are walking from your purpose. <br />
<br />
We human beings judge each other by our labels, our beliefs and our "sins". We need to learn not to judge each other's "sins." Judgement should only be based on the whole of the individual. That is why judgement should remain solely in God's hands. <br />
<br />
If you believe everything happens for a reason, then there is even merit in sin. There are consequences for every mistake. There is a lesson in every loss. Loss helps grow character. <br />
<br />
The atheist, whether they accept God or not, will stand before God to be judged, just like I will. If the atheist lives to their purpose and their true character, they have just as good of a chance at passing to the next dimension as I do. <br />
<br />
At this point in my life, I'm not afraid to let God see it all. Because I see what developed from it, and I am eternally grateful for the character I've developed. I'd never sell it out. It is too precious to me. My character is EARNED. It is priceless. <br />
<br />
I can't wait for the day when people do not judge each other by labels and actions. But when each of us lives from our higher conscious self and becomes all that we were intended to be. I hope I live to see a glimpse of that day coming into existence.

I think your story is fantastic with or without paragraphs... something that is broken up<br />
into<br />
pieces<br />
like this<br />
is even<br />
harder <br />
and more annoying<br />
to read<br />
you just need<br />
to adjust<br />
to reading<br />
standard english<br />
material.<br />
Anywho, as I said, this was a fantastic story, and I hope it has made you look at atheists just a little bit differently!

Haha...<br />
nah, I wasn't calling you lazy.<br />
Ok maybe I was... but I take it back.<br />
<br />
Sorry about that.<br />
<br />
It just irritates me<br />
how a lot of the people<br />
on this site have interesting stories...<br />
which are so hard to read!

I am afraid I am not the most technologically savvy person. The lack of paragraphs is the result of a cut and paste formatting gone wrong. My lack of skill sets are why it remains in this state. Not laziness, I promise. Noone I know would ever describe me as lazy...but they would describe me as technologically challenged. :)

Ah man...<br />
I was curious after the first few lines.<br />
<br />
Then I scrolled down.<br />
<br />
It's kind of hard to read the story<br />
of someone<br />
who believes<br />
that paragraphs are useless.<br />
<br />
You seem intelligent...<br />
so I have to ask:<br />
What were you thinking?

I look foward to those stories, very much!

Thanks Owl...I bear witness to so many miracles. I see them happen in my practice all the time. I am thrilled to have this forum to share some stories and motivate/inspire some people. The hurricane has slowed me down...and my business has to rebound from the disaster...but once things are stable again...I'll write some more.

Another smash hit story Reproof...I enjoyed every word.I would like an unexpected, good thing to happen to me. We all need a sweet event to brighten our daily routine. Sending a big thanks to you.