There’s an old saying that goes “There are no atheists in foxholes”. The origin is unsure but many over the last 60-70 years have used it, even President Eisenhower in a broadcast in 1954. It is most often used to express the belief of the speaker that all people seek a divine power when they are facing an extreme threat. I don’t know if I agree with the saying or not but I do believe that even the most staunch non-believer can cry out to God when he faces tragedy. I have always been blessed to have been brought up in a God fearing/loving home. Jesus was always a part of my life from early on and I have never considered myself an atheist, however, I do know that there are many that don’t know Jesus like you and I know Him. One in particular comes to mind that had his own foxhole to deal with:
When I was a young man in the Navy over 35 years ago, I was stationed on the Island of Guam, assigned to a special unit that would travel all over Micronesia with the Admiral, more as a Good Will tour than anything else. We would always fly in old C-130 cargo planes. We would sit in red nylon pull down rows of seats attached to the inside of the plane while cargo bins full of supplies were bolted to the center aisles. Most of the trips were long and monotonous so you would usually sit in the same place next to the same person to play cards or just nap (no ipads or iphones back then LOL). Just before my last trip that we were going to take to the island of Truk (one of my favorite islands) I was unexpectedly reassigned to San Diego and had to leave early and miss this trip. When I got to San Diego I found out that the plane the band was on had to ditch at sea in the middle of the Marianna’s Trench (deepest ocean depth in the world) in shark infested waters. Most got out alive, however, 3 did not. Those 3 were pinned underneath one of the cargo bins that had come unbolted due to the jolt of the plane crashing. One of those three was the individual I use to sit next to every trip. Unfortunately he was a professing atheist and proud of it.
To this day, I wonder about that young man who claimed to be an atheist and whom I spent hours witnessing to. I wonder if any of what I used to share with him stuck and if he ever cried out to God the minutes before the plane sunk; if he made his peace with God before they met. I can’t imagine the horror he must have been feeling as he realized he was not going to make it as the water began surging around him as the plane began to sink. By normal circumstance I too should have gone down with the plane because I would have been sitting right next to him but I thank God for miraculously having me reassigned at the last minute allowing me to continue my life.
So, are there atheists in foxholes? Well only God knows that answer, but I can tell you this….Jesus is ALWAYS there to welcome you into His kingdom and I like to believe that what I had shared with that young man came out just before his life on this earth ended. You see, sometimes it takes foxholes to open our eyes to see Him and reach out to Him.
As a Christian I know that whatever circumstance or foxhole I encounter that I am not alone, Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 “ ….I am with you always, even to the end of the age”