”Thank God…If There Is One”: How a Toilet Led to a Discussion of God’s Existence
I’ve delivered a slot machine to someone’s home, silhouette targets to a shooting range, and a bench press to the weight room of the Texas Tech football team. A coworker of mine was once given the charge of delivering a rather long pole to a gentleman’s club, the purpose of which is, of course, a total mystery to me. But yesterday, what sent me meandering through neighborhood streets to reach a customer’s home was quintessentially mundane—a toilet. I spotted the address, lugged the heavy box off the trailer, and wheeled it into her garage, where the lady of the home met me with a broad Texas smile, apparently happy about her new acquisition.
But before she signed the ticket and I got on the road again, she wanted to open the box to ensure all was in tiptop shape. So with my knife I slit the cardboard down one side. It looked fine on one side, but as she tilted the toilet sideways to give the other half a thorough inspection, it slipped out of her hand, and before she could catch it, fell with a bang on the unforgiving concrete. For a moment we locked eyes, she grimaced, then turned it back over. Breathing a sigh of relief when she saw no cracks, she exclaimed, ”Thank God!” and immediately added, in words that sounded half question, half statement, ”if there is one.” I smiled and said, ”There is.” And, laughing, she said, ”Yes, I know there is…I think.”
I didn’t quote a Bible verse or launch into the Athanasian Creed. I said the first thing that came to mind, and, in hindsight, quite possibly the most honest response I could have offered. ”Well, all I know is that I’d never make it through a single day if there weren’t One.” She thanked me, I got back in the truck, waved adios, and left her with her toilet. And, who knows, maybe with a little something else.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I recall very few sermons, and I can recollect only a handful of lectures from college and graduate school, but random comments made by friends or strangers have buried themselves into my memory like seeds into soil. I hope I planted a seed yesterday, that God used even the tipping of a toilet to work his way through my feeble words into his daughter’s doubting heart.