God’s Great Hand of Protection

It is amazing to ponder the greatness and sovereignty of God in all the small details of life. This last Friday and Saturday, the SLS staff in Oak Manor/Cornerstone went on a semi-spontaneous camping trip to Malibu. It lasted a grand total of 23 hours. 23 hours of pure barbarianism! We ate manly stew composed of meat and potatoes, told stories, threw a football around, and shared what God has been doing in our lives. Since SLS retreat we haven’t spent time together as a group like this, and it was wonderful to catch up with friends who aren’t necessarily deeply involved in my life on a day-by-day basis. Not that they don’t matter, I just don’t see them everyday.

Friday night we ran out of firewood and went to the beach to collect driftwood. The wood was massive but, not to be deterred, we threw big rocks at the logs until they split into manageable pieces. We would make one great Survivor team. It really is impossible to put a camping trip with friends into words for others to truly understand what happened on the trip. Suffice it to say, it was a time of God-honoring fellowship, where guys who trust one another sat around and shared their deepest concerns, regrets, joys, and triumphs.

We spent Saturday together at the beach. We all climbed rocks out to a little jetty which served as the breaker for the entire beach. There a whale treated us to a spectacular show by jumping and surfacing several times. It was a reminder of the awesome power of God. Go to the beach and see the expanse of water and the beauty of nature and read the latter part of the book of Job. One cannot help but feel awed at the greatness of salvation in the God who created the earth and all that is in it.

While we were rock climbing, we reached a point where the rocks fell away we were left with a choice–quit or jump from a height of 10 feet onto the wet sand below. As I was falling through the air, my glasses wobbled on my face, destroying all semblances of depth perception. This is no problem in as short jump, but 10 feet is a good distance down. I didn’t know when to brace for impact, and I landed hard on my toes, only to pitch forward and hit my forehead on the sand. No knees, no hands, just toes and forehead. Embarrassing? Yes, but no big deal. However, when I woke up the next morning and all the muscles in my neck were frozen in place, I was forced to think back to that jump. I didn’t realize at the time how hard I fell on my face or how hard my neck was whipped back as my forehead broke the fall. I don’t mean to blow this out of proportion, but I very easily could have broken my neck. Had the sand where my head hit been piled up a little higher, or I landed a little bit less on my toes anything could have happened. So, instead of a case of whiplash, I could be in a hospital right now with metal plates screwed in throughout my body.

I am so thankful for the protection of God in my life. I wonder how often He protects me from serious harm or death and I do not even realize it. If I truly understood the scope of the goodness and love of God I think I would be much more awestruck by Him and much less demanding of Him to provide me with happiness and comfort. Regardless of the outcome of any situation, God is in control. But I must remember to be all the more thankful when His plan includes my comfort or physical protection. My physical protection is the one thing absolutely not guaranteed by placing my trust in Christ as Lord. Realizing this makes me all the more thankful and take nothing for granted. Health, physical protection, an orderly life, and everything else are blessings from God which can be taken away at any moment by Him who gave them. We sing it often on Sundays, “You give and take away, You give and take away, My heart will chose to say, Lord blessed be Your name.” Can we live it?

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