There is a wonderful story making the rounds about a man who went to the barbershop. While he was there he got into a theological discussion with his barber. The barber said, "I don't believe that God exists. You just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. If God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain.

The customer decided not to respond and get into an argument. As he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. The customer walked back into the barber shop and declared, "You know what? Barbers do not exist." "How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. The customer continued, "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside." The barber replied, but barbers DO exist! What happens is — people do not come to me."

The customer replied. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

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J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.