The Agnostic and the Oranges – a True Story

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In recent days my daughter has been planting many different types of fruit: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, tayberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, redcurrants… the list is quite long – and she hopes to plant apples in the autumn. Of course, for the most part, it will be next year before we see these fruit emerge – Lord willing! Many types of other fruit, though, would have a difficult (if not impossible) time growing in our Irish climate… oranges for example. I was thinking of all these different types of lovely fruit (and oranges in particular) when I remembered a true story I had read just recently in one of William A. Weir’s booklets: “Peace Perfect Peace.” (Dr. F.B. Meyer was a famous preacher at the time.) The following true story relates an elderly lady’s faith, an answer to prayer – and an astonished agnostic…

Dr. F. B. Meyer was once crossing the Atlantic. The captain asked him to preach in the saloon on Sunday morning. He spoke on “answered prayer” and gave a number of illustrations. An agnostic was present and someone said to him, “What do you think of Meyer’s sermon?”

“Oh,” he said, “I don’t believe a word of it.”

Dr. Meyer was speaking that afternoon to the passengers in the steerage (second-class) end of the ship. The agnostic picked up two oranges, put them in his pocket and walked over to the meeting.

As he threaded his way in and out amongst the steerage folk, he came across an old lady with silvery hair, her eyes closed in sleep, her head back and her hands open on her lap. He took the two oranges out of his pocket and placed them in her hands, and went on to the meeting. When he came back the old lady was eating one of the oranges. He said to her: “You seem to be enjoying your orange!”

“Yes,” she said, “my Father is very good.”

“Your what? Your father cannot be living.”

“Oh,” she said, “He is very much alive.” He asked what she meant.

“Well,” she replied, “I have been seasick for five days. This morning I longed for an orange. I knew there were some in the saloon, but I wondered how we could get them in the steerage. As I sat here I asked the Lord to send me an orange. I suppose I must have fallen off to sleep, and would you believe it, sir, when I opened my eyes, He had not only sent me one, but He sent me two!”

“Why,” he said, “is that true?”

“Absolutely true,” she said.

The bottom fell out of his agnosticism on the spot. The whole circumstances passed human explanation. God does answer prayer, and He sometimes uses infidels to carry the answer…

 

 

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