As teenagers we were invincible. We were young, healthy and strong, what could possibly go wrong?
It turned out that a whole lot of things could , and would, go wrong. A year after we graduated from high school in 1959, Jim and his dad were installing a septic system for their home. All the digging was done by hand and Jim was at the bottom of a trench when one side collapsed. He was dead by the time they dug him out.
Bobby wanted to see the world, so he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He went through training, specializing in radio communications. He was assigned to an aircraft carrier; one day out of port an electrical short circuit caused a fire in the radio cabin and he perished.
Joan Vickers’ father was an Anglican minister and had been transferred to another town before we finished school. Joan was a slim, attractive young lady, just nine days younger than me, there was no hint of any health problem. Yet she was only 21 when she suffered a heart attack and died.
A few years later, Ken was driving down the highway in a snow storm. He must not have realized that the white out condition just in front of him was being caused by a semi-trailer. He plowed into the back of the semi and the lights went out for him.
Yet here I am, past the Biblical best before date of threescore and ten, and still going. I won’t say that I’m going strong, though; by now I am well aware that I am not invincible. If I have learned anything in those years, it is that I have no right to expect good things to happen to me. The good things that have happened are not a result of my inherent goodness or wise planning. It’s all a bonus; something to be thankful for.
Yesterday I was part of a group in charge of a chapel service in one of Saskatoon’s hospitals. These services are short; I shared some thoughts on David’s statement in Psalm 31:15: “My times are in thy hands.” Nobody ever wishes or plans to be a hospital patient. Much of our life consists of unplanned things that happen to us. There’s no point looking for someone to blame these things on, especially not God. Yet God knows every detail of our life and will be with us, no matter what we face, if we don’t push Him away.
After the service, one of the attendees told me a little of her life. One day, when she was 30 years old, she had been a happily married lady in the morning; before evening her husband died in a car accident and she was a widow, left to raise their 5 year old daughter by herself. She said it drew her closer to God. He is there when everything else we depended on fails us.