The call came from my father-in-law right after dinner. He and Wayne’s mom had been in a car accident. He had suffered some cuts and bruises. She was with Jesus.
We had seen them two weeks earlier for Christmas when we made the 2,000 mile trek from where we lived in Alberta, Canada to their home in Louisiana. Now the distance seemed insurmountable. We would leave as quickly as possible but so many things had to be done.
First, I called my friend Susan. Twenty minutes later the house began to fill up with loving members of our church family. Our friends surrounded us, taking care of details and covering responsibilities at home. In the midst of all the activity there was prayer, hugs, and tears. Within hours we were ready to travel.
In Louisiana, my father-in-law encountered the same love and care from his church family. Friends went to the hospital to bring him home. Two men stayed with him throughout that first night. Some of the women made sure the beds were ready for us. By the time we arrived, the kitchen and refrigerator were filled with food. No need went unmet.
As we learned more about the accident we recognized God’s presence and activity even there on the street. The other driver was also a Christian and prayed with Pappaw as they waited for the responders.
A young woman who witnessed the accident had stopped and waited with them. She did what she could to comfort Pappaw and stayed with him until they left for the hospital. Later, we found out she was not a Christian, but God used the tragedy to capture her attention. She even visited Pappaw’s church with her son.
Throughout those days, God’s peace reigned, defying the circumstances. Even in grief, hope for God’s promised future gave reason for joy. His palpable presence strengthened us.
God proved Himself faithful, loving, and true.
Yesterday in the book of John, I read about another time of loss and grief. Jesus’ friend Lazarus had become ill and died, leaving grieving family and friends. When Jesus learned of his death, He told the disciples that the trial would be an opportunity for them to believe (John 11:14-15).
Sounds a little strange doesn’t it?
Every trial, difficulty, and obstacle in a believer’s life provides an opportunity to experience God’s character, power, and ways.
Jesus said we would have trouble in this life (John 16:33). We live in a fallen world. But God is bigger than any tragedy, natural disaster, illness, or loss. He adds joy to our sadness and gives peace in the midst of turmoil. He shines His light in dark places to guide us along difficult paths. He eases our fears and whispers words of comfort in our ears.
Are you in middle of a trial right now? If not, you will be in the future. Let’s look for God in the middle of it. Let’s watch for His activity and personal, loving provision. He is faithful and true.
In what ways has a previous trial been an opportunity for you to experience more of God?