If you live anywhere in Alberta Canada right now you’re probably moaning. We had our first heavy snow in September. The ground is layered with the white stuff again and it’s only the first few days of October. And more is on the way. Looks like we’re in for a very long winter. Again.
It seems it’s harder to take when it’s untimely, doesn’t it? It leaves us feeling that it’s somehow unfair. We don’t deserve this. Who’s got their hands on the controls anyway? And what does he have against us?
When life throws us the unexpected curve ball we usually look around for someone to blame. That someone is often God. After all, he could change things. He could reverse the disaster, stop the car accident, change our boss’s mind and even perform a miracle for all to see. So why doesn’t He do it?
Scripture tells us He will, doesn’t it? We’ve memorized some of the verses like Psalm 34:19 & 20 – “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken.” Or Psalm 91:15 – “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.”
The great theologian Matthew Henry says: “No substantial injury occurs to the saints. Their real self is safe; they may have flesh wounds, but no part of the essential fabric of their being shall be broken.”
So what is our “real self?” As Matthew Henry suggests, it is not our corporeal body but our spiritual essence. That, once it is sealed in Christ at the moment of salvation, can never be broken. And that’s all that matters.
James 4:14 tells us that our life “is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” But our souls are eternal. There the true treasure lies, for there God resides. And when trouble comes, as it surely will and often in an untimely manner, being able to turn to that God, not to blame Him but to draw strength from Him, is an astounding gift. This is how people like Joni Erickson Tada can still praise God even though she was paralyzed in a tragic accident when just a teenager. It’s how Daniel Ritchie, a man born without arms can say, after reading Pslam 139, “I was no longer who people said I was. I was who God said I was,” he says. “It was at this time that something even more amazing happened. I began to see others as wonderful, too.”
Yes, we may feel cheated and angry when life dumps the unexpected on us, but breaking through that sense of entitlement and bitterness to the realization that God has a deep and enduring plan for our life, even when it feels like it’s been torn apart, will lead us to a life truly worth living.