Saturday, June 7, 2008
A Strange Place
Life is full of journeys taken. Some are full of anticipation and excitement. Some are full of dread and fear. A journey to Disneyworld is never like the journey which begins with someone saying, "I have some bad news." We have all had both kinds of journeys. We have been to the beach or to Disneyworld with the kids. We have also been the recipient of an unwanted late night phone call, or the one listening to a doctor speak words we did not want to hear. I remember the first journey I did not want to take. It was the journey which began with an Air Force chaplain and others arriving at our home telling my mother that her husband had been killed in a mid-air collision. At age seven it was not a journey I wanted to start, but starting was not an option.
The journey that started that December evening was also the first part of my journey toward God. It seems like a strange place to start the journey of faith, but hindsight tells me the faith I now have was in some way conceived in that moment. It was a moment I could not handle. I could not understand it. Why my Father would be killed was not something which made any sense at all. It became that moment which I not only remember as being filled with unspeakable tragedy, but also a moment in which I experienced my first real awareness that there had to be a God. Such an awareness, born out of that awful moment, set me forth on my journey of faith.
Oh, I know of what Wesley meant when he talked about prevenient grace. I know we are known by God before we know Him and that in that time of our not knowing Him, He is still offering grace and love to us. In a real sense our journey toward Him starts before we have any consciousness that it is happening. However, there is also the sense in which it started on that awful day of having to deal with what made no sense at all. There have been many moments of experiencing God's presence since those beginning struggling boyhood moments, but not for a long time have I doubted that God somehow used what I never would have chosen for good. Over the years I have learned that my experience is nothing unique. It is like yours. God truly does keep His Word to us. "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)