Some events happen in life that make folks ask, "why?"
Why do two people have the same cancer and only one survives? Why are there two Cinderella weddings, yet one couple’s marriage fails?
The big and small questions are part of life, and most people feel inadequate to give any reasonable answers.
My church scheduled a family trip to The Ark and the Creation Museum. This would be a summer trip for many of those that have been long involved in youth ministries. They would be camping at night and participating in events during the day.
The caravan of cars, trucks and campers left the parking lot on a Sunday morning. Those of us that pray regularly were remembering them in prayer that morning since we knew it was a long trip.
During the Sunday service, the pastor mentioned we were missing some people that were on the trip, and then, in his prayer, he asked God to give them safe travel to Kentucky and back.
Shortly after that prayer, a call came in that one of the cars had been in an accident. Why? Was God not listening to our prayers, not even the pastor’s?
Later that day, I texted the couple who are friends of ours and was relieved to hear they were OK. In return, they sent photos of the vehicles. The couple was in an SUV pulling a long trailer.
The first photo showed the trailer laying on its side in one lane, with its underside facing oncoming traffic. The SUV was still attached to the trailer by the hitch chain but was now hanging nose down on the other side of the guard rail.
The next photo showed the SUV with a strap around its middle held high in the air by a crane while being lifted over the guardrail. Oddly, the SUV was missing its entire front axle and wheels. The guardrail was rippled from the top down as far back as the view went, and some of the guardrail's posts were broken in half.
God was listening and working. He sent His troops in to prevent a true tragedy.
My husband and I spoke with the couple over dinner shortly after the accident. They explained the trailer got air under it, and as it started to sway back and forth, it lifted the back of the SUV off the ground and, apparently, pushed it up on the guardrail. The couple’s best guess was that the trailer slid over 50 feet on its side while pulling and pushing the SUV along the top and over the guardrail's edge.
The pulling sheared off the SUV’s front axle, and they never found one tire because the hill was so steep that they didn’t bother to send anyone down to find it.
Think about those might-have-beens that did and did not happen. The vehicle stayed attached to the trailer, or it would have traveled nose down over a steep ravine; the axle was sheared off, but the gas tank wasn’t touched; two propane tanks on the trailer were exposed to the severe pressure of the fall, and then skidding at a high rate of speed, and yet nothing caught fire or exploded - wow.
I am happy to say, again, that God listened and was indeed showing His power that day. The SUV and trailer were destroyed. Neither of our friends were concerned about that. The important fact that they were unharmed is what mattered to both of them, to my husband and me, our congregation, and, most thankfully, to God.
Will people, on this side of eternity, ever understand why they not only survived but were uninjured? Most likely will not, but when the question "why" is asked without an answer, I believe if faith is in Jesus, it is enough to know that He alone knows the answer.
People can trust that their breath is in His hands and that they are dearly loved, and although things go wrong in this broken world, God is still in charge.
I think of my favorite verse in the song "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus."
“Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him. How I've proved Him o'er and o'er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus. Oh, for grace to trust Him more.” Having walked with Jesus a long time, I understand this clearly. I have called on His name many times, and He has repeatedly proved Himself faithful. Jesus is reliable, and He never tires of me asking for grace to trust Him more.
As for answers, people cannot possibly fathom God's plans and thoughts, other than to know Him through His Word that He freely gives us. If we read, in the Scriptures, the story of creation to the end, we will have learned about God's heart, and we will see His character. He acts always within these traits that He graciously shows in His Word.
If people want to know God and how to trust Him then, they must be willing to read and learn about the One that created, cares and loves us. His sweet words - His gift to us - are in the Bible, which can easily be accessed through BibleHub.com. There, I find the scriptures with commentaries by educated and respected men with theological training and insight.
If learning is a pleasure - and please let us never stop learning - this is a great starting point for anyone seeking answers from God and His Word to us in the Bible. Another source is a local church.
Every church has a pastor or teacher. I pray that each would be willing to make themselves available to anyone for a discussion about their faith questions.
May God bless us richly as we seek to know Him and to freely ask for the grace to trust that His will for our lives is perfect.
ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City.