When you and I pray for, among other things, traveling mercies for our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers as they go to work, the store, soccer, or wherever their travels may take them, what exactly do we expect?
Yesterday, one of my co-workers was going home for the day and was T-Boned by another driver doing about 55 MPH. The car is a complete wreck. A picture of it is below.
As it turns out, prayers were lifted in the morning for his safety on the road for that day. So, did the Lord not answer those prayers?
Some would say, your prayers were pretty worthless yesterday, weren’t they? Where was your God when this happened? Seems He was too busy to hear you or simply didn’t care. Or maybe He isn’t even there at all.
When we pray for someone’s health, safety, protection; to keep them out of danger or harm, and something that we wish didn’t happen to them occurs, what are our thoughts? Are they similar to the ones above? Or as we think about the outcome, are we thankful for the mercies of God in the midst of the tragedy.
My co-worker is doing fine. Bumps and bruises is all he is left with, and that is an incredible sign of the mercy of God.
But what about hurricane Harvey? Hurricane Irma? Tsunamis in other parts of the world? Other natural disasters? Is it the same before, during, and after these tragedies occur?
It is important to remember that when we go through the trouble that life can, and sometimes does, bring our way, that our God is always completely faithful. The last part of Hebrews 13:5 says, “be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (KJV)
God did not leave my co-worker when the other driver ran into him. God was not not paying attention. God was not unaware of the collision. As a matter of fact, He knew it was going to happen before it ever did (while we call things like this “accidents”, there are no such things in God’s view). So, why did He allow it? Perhaps that my coworker, his wife, and his family, would, in the midst of a close scrape with possible death, remember His mercies, be content with His faithfulness, and gladly receive His compassions that He so dearly enjoys giving. Or perhaps it took place to remind all of us that should something like this should happen to us (or worse), that we would remember this “accident” (even in light of our prayers). But even more importantly, might it not be a reminder for us to not forget God’s love for us through it all, whether His mercies lead to life or death.
Remember what Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations? “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lam 3:22-23 KJV)
Jeremiah’s name shows he was chosen by God. It means “Jehovah has appointed.” Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet” because he shed tears over the sins of his people. Although he was God’s spokesman for many years, preaching and warning the people, he did not succeed in turning the people back to God. His own family rejected him. He was beaten and put in prison on several occasions (Jeremiah 20:2, 26:8-11; 32:1-3; 33:1; 37:13-15; 38:6-13). Jeremiah was taken to Egypt by the people who killed Gedaliah, Babylon’s governor over Judah (Jeremiah 41-43). When he continued to preach God’s Word, he was stoned to death, according to Jewish history.
And yet, read again what Jeremiah wrote: “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” WOW!
So when things don’t apparently go our way (and it’s been said many times that we’re either just coming out of trouble, going into it, or in the very midst of it right now), when our prayers seem to have gone unanswered, remember that God is working His good and perfect plan through us, for our good and His glory. And while there is probably no one that voluntarily steps up and says, “Lord, choose me, I want to suffer”, may we remember as we are chosen to suffer, whether it’s from our own sin, the sin of others, or simply the problem with, and result of, this fallen world, that nothing takes place in our lives without having been first allowed by the Lord to take place.
And this same God is the One who loves you and me so much that He died for our sins, making an eternity in heaven a sure-fired, positive, guaranteed reality for those who are called His own:
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8 KJV)
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10 KJV)
I readily admit that I have no rock-solid, specific answers for much of what happens in life, but we have His word to help us through our darkest hours. And He is faithful. So, as I remind myself, “be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” And may that truth comfort each of us as we face whatever may come our way on any particular day.
Praise to His glorious Name!