It isn’t known who is credited with saying the now famous line that “there are no atheists in a foxhole”, but what we do know is that this meaningful aphorism so often holds true.
In their most troubling times, people will often turn to a Higher Power no matter what their beliefs were beforehand. Why is it though, that extreme situations and near-death experiences bring us closer to God, and is this evidence that, deep down, everyone believes in God’s existence in some form or another?
Forged in the Fire
Throughout the Bible, we see God using extreme situations to bolster the faith of His followers. The trials of Job immediately come to mind, as does the fact that the persecution of the church only served to further spread its growth.
In Romans 5:3-4 Paul says that, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
This is a truth reflected throughout God’s word. By and large, Christianity is a religion that thrives in hardships and suffering far more than it is one that thrives in wealth and prosperity.
It’s easy to imagine then, that if hardships are able to bolster the faith of believers, they should also be able to ignite any flicker of faith that exists within nonbelievers as well. Near-death experiences such as what a soldier in a foxhole might experience are terrifying and traumatic. They shake up everything a person thought they believed about the world and force even the most steadfast atheists to at least come to the hope that God is watching out for them.
There are many records of nonbelievers taking up praying at their most trying times. In most cases, though, these “foxhole conversions” are surface level only. Most of the time, if the person survives their trying situation, their new-found faith does not, though there have been a few instances of near-death experiences truly converting a person for the long-term.
The lesson here, though, isn’t how long these foxhole converts hold to their faith, but rather that they reached for it in the first place.
As Christians, we know that God has created all people with a pre-existing desire to follow Him. Many people quench this desire with sin, or try to fulfill it in part with worldly pleasures. However, the fact that all people seem to turn to God in their most dire situations is evidence that this desire does indeed exist inside of everyone.
Every Knee Will Bow
The Lord says that when He returns, “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” There is no human on earth who will be too set in their ways or too stubborn to confess when faced with the overwhelming glory of Christ Himself descending down from the Heavens.
For some, this experience will be one of joy and jubilee. For others, it will be as terrifying as a near-death experience in a foxhole. Either way, this day will show the ultimate example of the fact that everyone on earth has the capacity to believe in God and accept Christ as their savior.
Many atheists would argue that there is no way they could ever possibly believe in God, yet the Bible tells us this is not true, and the physical evidence we see of atheists turning to God during their times of trial and tribulation show us that this is not true as well.
Everyone has within themselves the ability to see God’s existence and accept Him into their lives. For some, it is harder than others. Everyone’s mind is different, and some people are naturally plagued with doubt, fear, and a whole other range of things that make it harder for them to see God’s existence. Still, the right circumstances can ignite the flicker of faith that exists within all men, no matter how extinguished it has become.
Near-death experiences are not the best way to bring someone to Christ, and most of the time they do not truly change the heart of a person. They are, however, another piece of proof that God has pricked the hearts of every man, woman, and child on this planet and given them some degree of desire to serve Him. Sometimes, it just takes the trauma and fear of cowering down in a foxhole to bring that desire to light.
~ 1776 Christian