“Be at peace among yourselves.  And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the idle, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU.”IMG_4889

IMG_4871The Bible is an upside-down book.  Well more correctly, our lives are generally lived upside-down from the perfect will of God our creator,  and sometimes by His grace we manage to get right-side-up.

Decades ago, one of my fellow workers came in late.  She looked a bit pale but told us, “I had a car accident, but no one was hurt.  God is so good.”  I was not a believer at that time and puzzled much about Wendy’s lovely serene face, her consistent kindness, her readiness to help others catch up on their work-load, and her peace.  But I also wondered about her God.  If God was so good, why did He even allow her to have the upset and the expense of a car accident in the first place?

Corrie ten Boom fretted and complained bitterly about the bed-bugs in a Nazi concentration camp.  But her sister Betsie reminded her that the Lord wants His children to give thanks in all circumstances.  That was a bit too much for Corrie to believe.  But the guards were well aware of the bed-bugs, and in deathly fear of them, so they did not venture near that section of the hell-hole prison, giving Betsie enormous freedom to share the Gospel with those women imprisoned with them.  Because of the bed-bugs many a woman came to know the Saviour of their souls.  Some of these Christians, including Betsie died, but it was in prison that some of these women found life, life worth living and worth dying for, because death for the born-again believer is just the start of eternal life in the presence of God.  Death has no more power over a redeemed child of God.

Once a friend said, “If I am ever tortured for my faith,…….I guarantee that I will deny God.”  That has lodged itself unhappily in my brain.  First, I need to pray more for others and for my own lack of courage to face whatever may come my way.

Richard Wurmbrand spent 14 years imprisoned for his faith when the Communists took over in Rumania. He wrote of Christians who broke under cruelty and deprivation. These apostates were then used by their captors to inflict even greater terror and pain on their fellow prisoners.  But Wurmbrand also described the saints, whose faces shone with a holy light – shone through the caked on, dirt and blood, with no water for washing.  We humans, alone of all of God’s creation are capable of unspeakable depravity, plumbing to incredible depths of sin.  But by the grace of God, we humans, created in the image of God, …..conversely we  can reach the heights of heaven, because the Holy Son of God died to pay the price of our depravity.  Sink down into the sewers of this world or rise with our Lord into glory,……what do we long for?

IMG_4861So yesterday I skipped church and went off rockhounding, for fossil crinoids, with a group of people.  It was an altogether beautiful drive and a really nice bunch of people.  I wasn’t at all convinced my little car should attempt the VERY dubious logging road, but not wanting anyone to know I was a spineless coward, and the fact that I was sandwiched in a convoy of jeeps and trucks, I tried to avoid the worst of the deep, water-filled potholes and gratefully reached our destination intact,………I thought.

Two women and I were the last to leave. So I got in the car,  pressed down on the clutch and felt a strange crunch.  The clutch would not work.  The three of us puzzled over it.  Then we tried to make it jump-start,….rolling backward on the muddy road, but admitted we did not have a clue about cars.  There is no cell-phone reception for miles.  So we loaded all my rocks, jackets and junk into my friend’s car.  As we prepared to leave my lonely little car in the wilds of British Columbia, my new friend remarked that this spot was regularly used as a destination for stolen vehicles, taken apart for whatever parts the thieves can use.   I kind of choked-up and got my camera out so I could take one last picture of my faithful little friend, before the human piranhas devoured my car.  And after that I mourned,…… they’d likely fill her full of buckshot, judging from the ground littered with spent shells, and the rifles shots we’d heard all the while we’d been rockhounding.  It really is the WILD WEST out there. Goodbye dear little friend.

Well we drove to my friend’s place and I phoned Richard who kindly did not suggest that perhaps going to church would have been a better choice.  He came out to pick me up and phoned BCAA, gave precise instructions and told the lady we’d wait for the tow at the junction near my car, (where there is no reception for cell-phones).  After two hours we figured something was haywire, drove a long way back, got BCAA again, who said that, ah, there’d been a computer glitch.   (Me,  –  I think the lady went for coffee and forgot the plight of dumb rockhounders.)  Went back, waited another two hours until finally along comes a honkin’ tow- truck, big enough to transport a tour bus,   After the driver, (who said he was not a mechanic) and Richard (who is not a mechanic) spent a good deal of time pondering and deliberating matters which they had little hope of solving, finally hoisted my little car up on the deck.  The driver assured us his GPS would get him to our Abbotsford mechanic’s garage, and we believed him.  Don’t, as in DO NOT believe GPS!  We beat him there by easily 45 minutes. We stood in the dark, in the  pouring rain, thinking to help him see the place.  We watched him roar past us, coming from the wrong direction, (meaning he’d passed the first exit)  And as he kept on going and going ……….  I was computing  all the extra miles piling up that we were going to pay for, but finally he came back and Richard graciously paid him, (A LOT).  We finally got home and fed the cat by 9PM.  And though the bill really was big, the driver had not charged for his lost miles.

On the drive home I told Rich I was sorry to have used up most of his day like this. But my wonderful husband replied something like,…….“If we only had good days, where everything went smoothly, there would be no opportunity to implement all those virtues of patience, kindness, peace, long-suffering.”  We can imagine ourselves to be quite quality people, until the hammer hits our thumb.  God uses some tough times to refine us, to produce genuine goodness, godly character, attributes that really can’t develop without some testing.  And we don’t always pass those tests with flying colours.

As I was clearing my day’s treasures (fossil crinoids), out of Richard’s van, I stopped to listen to police cars and ambulances screaming down the freeway, to what I assume was a serious accident, and thought how minor a thing it is to have a broken-down car and a large towing bill.  What is that compared to possibly smashed cars, and injured bodies in an accident.  That’s real trouble!

Like my banker friend Wendy,……. I know that God is good to me.IMG_4882

I wonder what those people in the accident are thinking tonight?  I pray that they, like Wendy, live in a right-side-up world.

 

 

 

 

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