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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reflections on Benny’s Crisis and God’s Deliverance

When I think back over the short period of time Benny was in my life, I am tempted to think that God’s plan for Benny and me had not much to do with transportation needs. Yes, I did need a car in which to travel to work and weekends at the lake that summer; Benny well met those needs. Yes, I had cared for him in every detail of maintenance my father had schooled me during my time of learning how to drive*; he was well-maintained. Yes, I had — mostly — driven at a speed that was safe wherever no limit had been posted; occasionally my foot got a bit heavy. So, there was no reason of which I was aware for poor Benny to die just as I attempted to pass the semi-truck with his full load on a busy, two-way highway at the close of summer 1968.

Looking back, I can see God had a plan! Was even the purchase of this particular 12-year-old Chevy a part of that plan? Did God know how long that vehicle had left to roll over the highways of Montana like He knows just how many days of our life we will live before we take our first breath? (Ps. 139:16) Or did God’s plan emerge as His watchful eye had seen me pull out of the long line of cars and around the bed of the huge truck**? Certainly, He saw the outcome had there been no intervention. Had He, Himself, dropped His hand down to lift Benny off the road and onto the opposite shoulder, much as we would lift a matchbox car from one point to another when playing with a small child? Intervention had moved Benny and me safely out of the head-on collision already in progress, but why? Because God had a plan for my life and I was still in the training stage of that plan.

In fact, while I had known about God, prayer and church all of my life, I was yet to experience even a tiny speck of all that I could know and experience of life with God. The door that being “born again” would open for me to know God more had not yet been opened. That was still eight months in my future. God didn’t want me to miss it so He saw that I was lifted out of an early death in a miraculous way.

I cannot say for sure that God had this very day on a Montana highway planned for me at the time Dad signed on the dotted line for Benny to come into my life, but He could have; He’s God, after all. God is omniscient… He knows everything that is, that was and that will ever be! When something is in His plan, it is also in His power. God is omnipotent… He has ALL power. Lifting a car off the highway and onto the shoulder to avoid a collision is a mere blip of time in His day, though I’m pretty sure He was smiling when He did it! Being omniscient, my reaction would have been an anticipated joy for Him, to be sure. Lastly, even if God knew what would happen and had the power to intervene so I would not die in a head-on collision, He needed to be there to intervene, right? Hey, no problem; God is omnipresent. He is always, everywhere all the time!

God’s omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence are such a comfort to us as we seek to obey Him daily. Turn around and check your back, God’s there standing guard. Look ahead and see only darkness: No problem, God is there to light the way and offer us His hand. Not sure whether we should go to the right or to the left? Not to worry; God’s Word and His statutes will guide us onto the right path. We’ve read the Bible but are still not sure. Let’s ask Father God direction; He’s standing right next to us, His arm around our shoulders. Let Him guide, provide for, and protect us along the way.

This morning I read Psalm 121 and was intrigued by just how many times in those eight verses we are comforted by God’s watchful eye. Here are the clips out of the verses, though you might want to check it out for yourself and read it in its entirety. Psalm 121 begins by reminding us where our help comes from and just Who He is:

“I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Verses 1 and 2 NIV)

God is on the job night or day… “always present”, means always:

“He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber (Verse 3)

Israel has the same promise, though there are some who think God has forgotten about Israel, He hasn’t:

Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Verse 4)

The next few verses, clearly demonstrate we can be at peace wherever we are; God’s eye is upon us:

“The Lord watches over you…” (Verse 5)

The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life” (Verse 7)

“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Verse 8)

Well, God did, certainly, watch over my going when I was on that highway, behind Benny’s steering wheel with my hands in my lap. I’m glad He did more than watch, too! God’s plan for my life was to last far beyond those 19 years. Following university education on several levels, I’ve been a career missionary, serving in foreign fields, for more than 28 years now! I have never forgotten this day on the highway and God’s mighty deliverance. It has served to give me courage in times of danger from the jungle, as well as from rioting mobs tearing apart the house two blocks from ours. God was there to deliver me from that highway crisis; He will be there to rescue me as long as I walk with Him, until my sojourn on this earth is finished. Amen!

*Link to story on drivers license, if you’re interested: Adolescent Milestones: First Drivers licence

**See previous post for this story: Benny’s Crisis, God’s Deliverance

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