This is it.

Part 2

But yesterday...

...I was driving Manuel over to the Brown's to spend the night (the Browns had a period of temporary insanity and volunteered to have the kids spend the night so Dani and I could have an evening to ourselves - which was wonderful!), anyway, on this perfect, sunny summer day, we drove past Preston-Schilling just as a young couple was arriving for a funeral, and I couldn't help but think that in a couple of weeks it could be me they were coming to see.

That thought gave me a chill.

When that possibility first became real to me I couldn't help but wonder what that might mean for me; in other words, what I might see when I closed my eyes for the last time. My theology told me that because I believed Jesus had died for my sins, I was already sealed by the Spirit, as if the packing slip had already been attached to my soul, "Special Delivery - Heaven." But then, I know how I have lived my life, all the times I must have disappointed God, all the wasted opportunities, and I struggle with the idea that God could really love me.

But he does.

I guess that is the wonder of it all. God truly LOVES me. He sees in me something I don't, something he cherishes. Something he was willing to die for to keep.

And so if I do die, it will be because God has decided he would rather have me with him in heaven. If I should live, it will be because, for now, I can better serve and please him here. I kind of would like the chance to make amends for my past mistakes!

But what I have come to see is this.

Nothing happens that isn't God's will.

I used to think stuff just happened. There is evil in the world, and some of that stuff is bad. And evil, being what it is, inflicts itself on those who don't deserve it. Evil isn't fair. If it were fair, it wouldn't be evil! Evil cheats. It doesn't follow the rules.

I used to get real annoyed when someone would say in the face of some tragedy, like a small child getting hit by a car and killed, "It was God's will." Usually the speaker was some white-haired saint of an old lady.

Now I see the old lady was right.

Not in the sense that God willed that child to run into the street, but that for reasons we may never know, it was truly the better thing. And in his perfect love, and perfect wisdom, he allowed it to happen. If not, he would have prevented it. He would have delayed the car by a minute or two, or kept the ball from rolling away... somehow he would have prevented it.

If that is not so, if stuff really DOES just happen, then you have to throw out the Bible. Time and time again in the Bible God promises to watch out for us. He promises to be our protector, to be our rock, to be our shelter in the time of storm. If stuff just happens, and God can't, or doesn't allow himself, to interfere, then those promises are empty.

But if God is watching over us, how come bad stuff still happens?

I don't know.

Other to say that God has his reasons. It can't be that he wasn't paying attention that moment, or that he doesn't care sometimes. God is all knowing, his love for us is perfect. Whatever happens happens out of that perfect love, I just have to trust in that.

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2011 Paul Dallgas-Frey