Carla Kennedy, a second generation Irish woman, and Travis Moore, a man of African-American and Native American ancestry, were married in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma after having dated each other for more than 4 years. The newly weds, both graduates of Oklahoma State University just a few months earlier, decided to drive across the Southwestern United States along the historic Route 66. Within roughly 30 minutes after leaving the Oklahoma City area the couple experienced car trouble and had to spend the night in the home of a poor African-American family. The family was very rude and refused to let the couple stay in a bedroom in the living area of their house. Instead, the couple was given space in the cold basement of the house to rest and sleep in. They graciously accepted as there were no other houses located for miles in any direction from this house. As they cleaned and prepared the room for their overnight stay, Carla discovered a foundational crack in the wall and an exposed electrical wire that could have started a fire. An electrical engineer graduate, Carla repaired the crack and the electrical wiring within an hour using readily available materials. It was a stroke of genius!
The next day, the Moores repaired their car problem, said their good-byes then returned on their honeymoon trip. Once again, they had to stop as a result of their car. This time they came to the home of a very wealthy Euro-American couple and their three children. The wealthy family invited Carla and Travis in. When they learned they were newly weds, threw a magnificent party for them inviting family and friends over at the last minute, gave them a brand new car, $3,000.00 in cash and placed them in a large, beautiful bedroom in their house to stay overnight. When the sun arose in the Eastern Oklahoma sky, the couple found the wealthy rancher’s wife in tears. The wealthy family learned that the thousands of head of cattle they owned on their ranch were sick with an incurable disease and to be immediately destroyed. The family also learned on that same day that their monetary investments in the futures and securities markets were all lost. All the family had left were each other, their good health and the land they were living on. Everything else was now gone.
Travis became very angry and asked Carla, “How could God let these things happen to this kind gamily? Even though they were wealthy this couple and their children are kind, gentle and generous with what they had. Honey, I don’t understand God! Why does He do these things? Why?”
Carla responded, “Dear, don’t you know that all things work out for good! Regardless of how terrible or difficult things are God is still in control. Yesterday, when we were at the African-American family’s home, we were greeted with hate because we are a mixed racial couple. They did not hate you as much as they hated me for marrying you. I did not have any hatred towards them. I could see though that you were a little angry at them for rejecting me. I feel like crying until I noticed the crack in the basement wall. Then I realized that we were sent there to save their lives and to show them that our love supercedes racial differences. I cleared the misgivings I had about marrying you when I noticed your concern and desire to protect me. Now from that family I also learned that our marriage is meant to be an example for all to see and to demonstrate God’s love. In addition to my repair of their wall and electrical wiring, I tightened a gas pipe that was leaking small amounts of natural gas. I knew that if it was not immediately repaired that the entire family would have died in a tremendous and terrible explosion.
This wealthy Euro-American family, it would seem, has lost everything. But not really! They have lost their cattle and investments—their earthly wealth. They still have each other and their good health. For last night as this family slept, the angel of death came for the rancher’s wife and children. I learned of this in a dream last night. I could not believe it at first. I thought it was just a weird dream. It was not. So I asked God to spare the cattle rancher’s family. God said that he would but that the cattle rancher would lose his herd and all of his money. When I saw the rancher’s wife crying, I knew what had happened and that my dream had come true. However, I have it on good authority that the rancher and his family are going to prosper very soon and more than he had ever known. The husband knows and follows the ways of God. He accepts this period of trial and difficulty. He is always on his knees before God praying for his family, friends, enemies and country. Even at this very moment he is giving praise to God for what he has. As you say Travis, he is an upright man.”
Travis’ response to difficulty and trial are exactly how many people respond when life’s events do not turn out the way they want them to. Yet, on the other hand, how many thank God for the many things, gifts and benefits they have received from Him. There are people whose every breath is painful, still others who have had every member of their family to die and they are the only one left and some who have no one on earth to tell them that someone loves them. As Carla stated in her discourse, if God did not place her where He did and she did not respond according to His will, the situation would have been so much different. Carla suffered rejection but do not respond with hatred. Instead, she forgave those who showed hatred towards her.
The keys to living are faith and trust in God even and especially when the situation is difficult. Trials and difficulties are going to come to everyone. But we do have a choice. We may choose place our faith and trust in God or become angry, scorn , curse and reject God. To deal with trials and difficulties, we must establish a relationship with God. Then come to know, love and serve Him through faith that requires daily prayer and daily Scriptural reading.
There is no time frame as to when we will face trials and how long they will last. However humankind has been told in God’s Holy Word that all trials and difficulties lead towards something for the better. Trials and difficulties may be days, weeks or years. But ours should be the glorification of God and thanksgiving. So where is your faith? Who do you trust in times of difficulty and trials?