Sometimes things do not go like we plan. Life is not always fair because we live in a sinful, fallen world.
Two of our children took advantage of opportunities in college to study abroad for a semester. My wife and I had never travelled a lot, but we went to visit both of our kids when they were in Europe. Our daughter went to Ireland, and we went to visit her. It was a great trip, I drove on the wrong side of the road, we toured the island, and we all had a great time.
My youngest son studied in Nice, France. We first went to Rome for a couple of days and then went to Nice to see Austin. Our first day in Rome was great. We saw the colosseum and toured around the city. On our second day we planned to see the Vatican. Sticking to my good Brethren values, I was too cheap to take a cab, so we took the subway. While getting on the subway, we were swarmed by a group of junior high age boys as we went through the door into the train. They pick pocketed my wife’s wallet out the top of her purse and they got mine out of the front pocket of my pants.
There we were in a foreign city with no money and no credit cards. We did not even have a subway ticket back to our hotel. We had never been robbed like this before and we were shaken. My wife wanted to go home.
After a few minutes, I silently prayed that God would see us through this. He did, and I felt his presence immediately. I should have taken my wife’s hands and prayed together right there on the street, but I did not. God did see us through. We were able to visit our son and we got home again.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This is easy to preach, teach, and talk about. It is a whole lot more difficult when you are robbed in a foreign city and left standing there broke. But that is what we are called to do. I think the only way this is possible when we have been wronged, offended, persecuted, or mistreated, is to pray continually. Without prayer, I would not be able to stay in God’s will.
I want to pray to avoid these unfair, unpleasant situations, but that is not what I pray for. I pray for God’s will to be done and that I remain in his will, no matter who or what comes my way. That is my prayer for the church also. May the Covenant Brethren Church stay in God’s will. Amen.
Jim Nolt – CBC Executive Board Member