Yesterday I picked up our car at the body shop. It had been hit by an uninsured drunk driver fleeing an accident. While there, I told the receptionist that our cars had been hit three times in the last couple of months. Her not-so-comforting response was, “Doesn’t sound like very good luck.”
As the words came out of her mouth and to my ears, I knew I had to make an immediate choice. Do I listen to what she’s telling me about my situation? Or do I believe what God tells me in His Word concerning my life?
This past week, I’ve listened to teaching on suffering and how it can be a tactic of Satan to try and wear me down; to weaken my faith in Christ. The teacher identified areas where suffering can occur such as in the mind with thoughts that torment, confuse, and deceive, and in sickness and loss.
My thoughts turned to the multiple situations — including the three car accidents — my family and I have experienced the last few months. We’ve faced some very difficult situations, ones where we have had to make choices in how we respond and in what we believe. Do we trust that God is good and with us in our situation? That He will bring good from even the most heartbreaking experiences? Or do we turn away from Him, believing the circumstances are proof He has turned His back on us?
It seems like an easy decision, but if I don’t keep diligent in studying scripture, in knowing what God says, it’s an opportunity for confusion or for me to be convinced otherwise.
It’s easy to forget that it’s important to know what God says is true. Not only because the Bible says it’s life to me, but also because without the truth, it’s impossible to know what’s untrue.
In Psalm 124, the passage starts out with, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” a response the psalmist is teaching Israel to remember and to recite in precarious situations. It then goes on to list various distressful and disastrous circumstances they had experienced. Yet, in each one this is to be their reply because in every scenario, God brought them through whatever they faced.
It made me realize how it’s important for me to not only know the truth, but to practice ahead of time what my response to shaky situations will be based on what scripture says is accurate, instead of looking at my circumstances or relying on my feelings.
Psalm 34: 17-19 reminds me, “The righteous cry and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
And, “Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble. Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance,” is found in Psalm 32:7.
When we lived in South Florida, we attended a Seder Dinner each spring with our Reform Rabbi friend. As we went through the program remembering, acting out, and responding to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, I would think how beneficial it is to remember. How easily God’s faithfulness can be forgotten. And scripture makes numerous references to generations who were not diligent to remember, who forgot and fell away from Him.
In Psalm 124, the psalmist ends the passage by reminding me of the benefit of having the Lord on my side in unstable circumstances. “Blessed be the Lord, Who has not given us to be torn by their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (124:6-8).
Suffering can be a trap, one to trip me up, to try and destroy my faith in Christ. But if I know the truth, am attentive to practicing, remembering and reciting how to respond, I will recognize what is false and escape Satan’s snare to extinguish my faith.
Surprised by the receptionist’s statement, I didn’t come up with any snappy or deep response. But by the time we left the body shop, she shared how that week she had been hit by a driver who ran a red light. Her car was totaled and she was struggling with a knee injury. It gave me an opportunity to share with her how three of my daughters and I were in our car at the time of the accident, but none of us really felt the impact or received any injuries. Also, how through it we felt peace and a cushioning from the collision.
When I know God’s truth, there is a confidence that it’s not a matter of bad or good luck.