Russell Stendal, son of missionary parents to Colombia, had just flown into a jungle airstrip near the Inirida River when he met the professor. Just arrived with a boat-load of high school boys following a day and a half float down the Inirida, the group was on a field trip to study the volcanic rock formation and the falls at that location. Debating God as Creator was not a part of the plan.
While waiting for supper, “I got into one of those evolution-versus-creation debates with the professor. … The debate got hotter and hotter. … I told the professor that I didn’t need to defend God. If the professor would authorize God to intervene in his life and reveal himself, I thought God would be happy to do so and convince the professor beyond the shadow of a doubt in a much better way than I could in the debate. … “Well,” said the professor, ”I authorize God, wherever he is, to reveal himself to me if he can, but until then I will continue to believe evolution!” (Russell Stendal, Rescue the Captors, p. 66).
The next morning, Fernando – Stendal’s Colombian contact – met him at the airport. “You aren’t going to believe what happened to the professor. … The professor and the high-school boys … tried to cross [the river] in the very mouth of the falls. Their motor quit halfway across and before they could get it started again, they were sucked over the falls.
“Fortunately,” Fernando told him, “I also keep a boat and motor on the lower end of the falls, so I ran down there. … I headed out into the rapids below the falls and began fishing out schoolboys. Soon I had all seven … and they were all alive. … Then we noticed something in the water far down-river. … It was the professor, perched on top of the capsized canoe. … It turned out he had gone down one chute of the falls. The canoe had taken another. At the bottom of the falls, there is a tremendous geyser. This jet of water had hurled the professor into the air just as the large dugout canoe had passed by from the other chute of the falls. … The professor had landed on top of the water-logged canoe and had hung on for all he was worth. … They left this morning to go home. … The last thing the professor said before they left was, “Tell [Russell] that I now believe in God, too!” (Ibid., p. 67-68).
Coincidence? A fortunate turn of events? Perhaps. It is amazing, however, how often God “comes through” when one would least expect it. God can defend himself and has done so. Ours is not a faith of the incredulous, the superstitious or the ignorant. God has made Himself known. Our faith is justified, verified by this one, undeniable, truth: Jesus lived, Jesus died, and Jesus rose from the dead.
The Apostle Paul, a committed, sincere observer of the law of Moses, determined to wipe out the fledgling Christian church, became a loyal follower of Jesus Christ when he could no longer deny the evidence. “If in this life only we have hope,” he wrote, “we are of all men most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” God’s defense is undeniable. Thank God Almighty! Jesus arose from the dead!