Friday, December 31, 2010

How will it end? or begin?

4:15 p.m. Today's project was to prepare our house for a small gathering of friends to welcome in the New Year, although I'm not sure how many of us will stay up until midnight. The huge amount of cookies and candy I made this year are best shared before eating them becomes an ingrained habit in 2011! In fairness, I asked our friends to bring their goodies along with anything else in the snack and side dish line that they would like to share, ie., "get rid of."

We'll enjoy a meal, and then play either sedentary or active games, depending on our mood. I was pleased that my daughter Heather was willing to bring over the Wii Dance game we had played on Christmas afternoon. She and husband Nick are headed to Oceanside tonight, so it wasn't needed. She and Heidi were visiting when Steve and I got back from our friends' home.

Linda Martinez had been texting back and forth with a few of us good friends about her severe neck pain, but this morning's message floored us: her husband John, who works graveyard for Stater Bros. warehouse in Redlands, had slid on black ice driving home through Reche Canyon early this morning! The truck was towed, John is okay, but it may be totaled. Reche Canyon was closed--but, the enemy has his demons everywhere, because SOMEONE HAD REMOVED THE "ROAD CLOSED" SIGN! Steve and I called for directions and quickly went over to comfort and pray with the Martinezes and their daughter Lisa. The three of them just looked shocked, stunned and defeated, much as you or I would be, when we stepped into their living room.

We all were on the driveway inspecting the Ford F-150 when Steve noticed that its axle was broken. The rest of the truck, which they'd gotten such a good deal on earlier this year, wasn't too bad from the 360 degree skid John had experienced. The passenger side window was smashed out, which slamming up against a hillside would do. and the rear passenger side tire was off. The ice was so bad that 3 other cars had run off the road, and even the tow truck had a rough time maneuvering. The Lord had His hand on the drivers, that's for sure!

What makes this incident so heartbreaking is that John, Linda and Lisa have suffered so much in the last few years--serious diseases (cancer, diabetes, neuropathy, sleep apnea), other car accidents, chronic pain and even job fluctuations and loss. There are even structural problems with their house.Yet they are very faithful believers who never hesitate to encourage, share their faith, and Linda is always ready to teach a class for our Heart to Home ministry. Those who love them just ask, "Why them? Why so many trials?"

We prayed out by the truck, and then headed home, sad and hurting for our friends. We can't even pretend to understand, but we can only be assured that God knows what He is doing in each person's life, just as He knows each person inside and out. And that even includes the evildoer who removed the warning sign on Reche Canyon's entrance.

I looked in the subject index of my New Living Translation Bible at a theme commentary on Job 9 called, "The Righteous Suffer." The writer (Douglass Moo) refutes Satan's accusation that we sometimes buy into: "They must have sinned!" That isn't necessarily true, or I think we'd all have nothing but misery, since we all sin...and most of us have experienced God's mercy and grace when we absolutely know we've sinned! Romans 2:4 tells us that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. Praise Him!

Moo continues, "We are not meant to know or understand everything. Some things are for God alone to comprehend and direct according to His sovereign will. Our response should be to accept in faith what He sends us. Even when we suffer, we can trust God."

As I wonder how 2010, with its huge blessings and sorry disasters, will end, and how 2011 will begin and unfold, I can pray (for my children out traveling to the homes of friends, especially our youngest going up to the snow in the mountains near Shaver Lake), and trust in God's mercy, love and watchcare for all of us this evening.

Happy New Year to you, and joy in the Name of Jesus!

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