In a time of war and economic uncertainty Christians are having their faith challenged to the limits every day. For the mothers of the young men and women who will not be returning home from overseas or the families facing foreclosure wondering where they will live, it is hard to imagine a God of love and compassion watching over us. The Bible tells us that all things work together for good for those who love God. I assure you that this is true or it would not be written, although at certain times ones faith in this message can be tested. Take for instance the following true to life scenario:
An eighteen year old youth has just had a huge argument with his father. The youth hates his father. He is rarely home and when he is he just yells at him or tells him what he can or canít do. Out of anger the young man speeds down the highway. He has marijuana in the car. He glances at the rearview mirror and notices that a police cruiser is behind him with the blue lights flashing. The youth is afraid that the police officer will find the marijuana and take him to jail. Out of fear he makes a hasty decision to flee. A chase ensues. Further up the road a car occupied by a Christian family nears an intersection where a green light gives them the right of way. The youth does not see the red light, but narrowly avoids a collision with the other car. The police cruiser trailing the suspect is not as fortunate. The police officer brakes but not in time. The cruiser slams into the car killing the father of the family and injuring his wife and two daughters.
The youth temporarily avoids capture but is later arrested. Rather than face a small marijuana possession charge he must now answer to a charge of vehicular homicide for causing the accident. He is tried and convicted for his crimes. He receives a five year prison sentence and is sent to the state penitentiary.
The police officer involved in the accident recovers from minor injuries. He is later terminated from his position for failing to use due regard for public safety during the pursuit. The loss of his job comes somewhat as a relief to him as he has regretted joining the force ever since the accident.
Analyze this situation for as long and as hard as you feel necessary and it will be impossible to see any good in it. All we can see is that a man has lost his life, a family has lost a loved one, a father has lost his son, a police officer has lost his livelihood, and a young man has thrown away a huge portion of his life. Nothing positive can come from this situation, or can it?
The fifth verse of the third chapter in the book of Proverbs tells us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not unto our own understanding. It is our own understanding of things that confuse us and tests our faith in times of tribulation. It is easy for us to comprehend the fact that if the youth had just pulled his car over, none of this would have ever happened. It is much more difficult for us to understand the true reasons for the events as they unfolded. It is this lack of understanding that requires us to place our trust in the Lord and know that he has a plan for us. God knows what we donít. He knows the next chapters in our lives before we have the chance to live them. Let us look at the next chapters in the lives of the characters in the story with the events occurring as told.
The first character in the story we will examine is the father who lost his life in the crash. All we know about him is that he is a Christian, a father, and a husband. What we donít know about him, but God does, is that he is sick. He has felt ill for months and has lost his job for missing too much work. The man and his wife are in great financial strain caused by the lack of income. Their mortgage is behind and they are facing foreclosure.
Due to his seemingly untimely death, the doctors will not have the opportunity to diagnose the cancer that grows within him. He has fathered two wonderful children and reared them well in the ways of the Lord. He has fulfilled his part of Gods plan and as a reward God has called him home, sparing him a great deal of agony and pain. The money the wife receives from the insurance company and the settlement offered from the city is enough to pay off their debts and start a college fund for the girls. Educated and inspired they will grow and prosper spreading the word of God to all who know them for generations to come. Many will come to know Jesus through their testimony.
The next character in the story we will learn more about is the youth who made the decision to flee from responsibility rather than face it. We see a punk kid, with no respect for authority and no regard for anyone other than himself. What we fail to see is a child of God, lost and uneducated in the ways of the Lord. We canít see the hope and the love that dwells deep within him. The young man has feelings that grow inside him regardless of whatever persona he shows from his outward actions and appearance. While he is serving his sentence he attends a church service within the system for no other reason than to get out of his cell. While he is there he hears about a God of compassion that is willing to forgive him for his sins. He is overcome with guilt and sorrow for what he has done. The young man drops to his knees and cries. For the first time in his life he speaks to God. He prays for forgiveness, and the light of the Lord shines down upon him. He accepts Jesus as his savior and the darkness he has lived in for most of his life leaves him. A bright new future awaits him. He spends the remainder of his time in prison giving testimony to anyone who will listen and praying for those who wonít. He goes into the system a lost boy but comes out a changed man; a Christian who will spend the remainder of his life offering Gods message to others who otherwise might not ever hear it.
The police officer will find Jesus as well. In time he will start his own business and with the guidance of the Lord will prosper. He will make much more in his lifetime than he ever could have on a policemanís salary. He also will give much more back to his church and community which will be used to educate many young minds in the ways of the Lord.
The father of the youth will be inspired by his sonsí transformation. He will listen to his son and learn from him. He will allow the young man to lead him to Jesus and will be saved. He will give up his time consuming career and take a lesser paying job that will allow him more time to spend with his family. He will spend a great deal of this time with his son aiding him with his journey to bring others to Jesus so that they too can share in the joy of salvation.
When you know the future of the characters in the story, it is much easier to understand why things happened the way that they did. Should the youth have pulled over and stopped for the police car? Conventional wisdom certainly tells us that he should have, but on this day and in this instance it was not part of Gods plan for him to do so. It is often easy for us to question our faith, because there is no way to see what God has in store for our future. When you find yourself asking God why he has allowed something bad to happen, refer to Romans 8:28; ďAnd we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.Ē If you ever find yourself questioning his purpose, refer to Proverbs 3:5; ďTrust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understandingĒ. It is impossible to understand where Godís plan is leading us, but I promise that we will surely know when we get there.
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