The popular play Annie features a song by a little orphan girl entitled ‘It’s a Hard Knocks Life’. In it the little girl sings, ‘Once a day don’t you want to throw the towel in, it’s easier than putting up a fight’. Thankfully, Annie, the heroine of the play, maintains an optimism which carries her through a series of difficult circumstances. In these situations she encourages both orphan and president alike by singing, ‘The sun will come out tomorrow; put away the sadness and the sorrow’. In the end Annie is adopted by kind and benevolent Daddy Warbucks, and all works out well in the end both for Annie and for the other orphans.
How often do we come across individuals who conclude that this ‘hard knocks life’ simply isn’t worth the struggle? Why do some just ‘throw in the towel’, and in the process throw their lives away? Can it be that an unquestioning acceptance of the theory of evolution has brought with it overwhelming despair? Contacts with several troubled patients has forced me to conclude that the answer is unquestionably yes.
Last year I treated a young lady who, in a drunken rage, slammed her arm into a window. We had several conversations through her convalescence. I learned a little about the life she led. I learned about her use of drugs and of the sad trappings of that lifestyle. A family minister had tried to help her but was unable to break through. What was the belief system that she held on to which prevented her from accepting the Good News?
At her last office visit I asked her, ‘Tell me, what do you think is the difference between man and animals?’ She was quick to respond, ‘we’re just like all the other animals, it’s dog eat dog’. She fully believed in evolution, the survival of the fittest, and in one’s need to fight and claw one’s way to the top. She was not open to change. The last time I saw her was when she was again admitted to the hospital, lethargic, and in the intensive care unit receiving treatment for a new constellation of self-inflicted injuries.
Last week I met with another fellow whom I had treated for shotgun injuries. He had become involved in the ‘wrong crowd’. Another person apparently had wanted what he had and tried to get it with violence. My patient felt both suicidal and homicidal in the weeks that followed the injury. One Sunday evening, long after his physical wounds had healed, he became desperate and called for help. Over the phone I explained that I would be happy to meet with him, but that the only hope I had to share with him came from the Bible. He replied, ‘That’s fine. I’m at the end of my rope.’
Over coffee I listened as he told me about his problems with drugs, the law, and other people. He didn’t know where to turn. Recalling my experience with the other patient I asked, ‘tell me, were you taught in school that you are a product of evolution, of random chance?’ He said, ‘yes’. I asked him to look at his hand, the same one I had helped to repair. ‘Look at your hand’, I said. ‘Think about its complex geometrical design, sensation, and motion. Do you think that your hand is the product of random accidental events? Do you really think that you evolved purposely from some primordial ooze?’
‘No, I don’t think so’, was the answer.
Afterwards I went on to share how the Bible says that we were created by God and that even before the world was created He knew us and had a plan for each of us. Shortly after, he accepted the plan of redemption and turned over the reins of his life. He is now a Christian who has put behind him the old life, realizing that he is now ‘free indeed’.
How interesting it is to note how many proclaim that education alone will eliminate the drug problem. The education that many students receive today includes the nonsensical theory of evolution. Its tenets are that we are simply purposeless products of chance and that species have appeared because of natural selection, Dog eat dog.
My university philosophy courses taught Camus, Sartre, and other existentialists who also saw no purpose in life. It goes without saying that during the turbulent sixties when I was in college many university students experimented with drugs. Godless, purposeless, ‘you’re a product of chance’ teachings can, in reality, lead to a worsening of the drug problem.
My two patients both were enslaved to illegal drugs and captive to the many physical and social problems that accompany them. Both patients had evolutionary foundations for their beliefs and actions. One embraced the hopeless, purposeless, futile philosophy of evolution and remained in a very sad state. The other rejected it and came to know the Lord.
The little orphan’s song ‘It’s a Hard Knocks Life’ holds true for many individuals. Scripture records how Jesus ministered to the hurts of others: He admonished us to do the same. How cruel it would be to dash the hope of the little orphan with an unproven theory, philosophy, or other message devoid of hope. Thankfully, the good news of the Gospel is that this life is not without purpose and that we too may receive adoption as sons and daughters when we receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Spread the word!
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