When life looks gloomy, God has a plan

Published 3:53 pm Friday, June 22, 2018

had the privilege of visiting with my only brother—John Paul–and his family this week and we had a good time catching up with what has been going on with us and sharing a few real life stories.

My brother and his family like fresh tomatoes but he has never been successful in their production, so I carried them a few from my patch.  He shared with me about his gardening skills; he said his tomato vine had two fairly good size green tomatoes that he was looking forward to enjoying, but the squirrels chewed them both off.  To further intimidate him, the critters did not eat them, but left them on the ground to rot.  Not only that, but they ate the blooms off the vines so his hope for a successful crop was completely shut down.

You might remember the song from a popular TV comedy from years ago that included the line “If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”  It almost sounds like that could be an appropriate theme song for John Paul’s life.  As a young man in training to be an electrical lineman for a local utility company, his spikes cut out of a pole he was climbing; he slid to the ground, and suffered a broken ankle.  He finally gave up on becoming a lineman and took a job at the local sewage treatment plant.

As my brother shared more going in his life, he said that in the course of his grass cutting business he was trimming a yard when his string trimmer hit a rock causing it to skip onto the driveway, bounce onto the top of a parked car, then hitting the windshield and cracking it.  He paid to have the glass replaced, but to add to his agony, in just a few days after he bore the expense of the damaged windshield the owner of the vehicle wrecked it and destroyed it.  The windshield that he paid to have replaced wound up in the junkyard before it was hardly used at all. 

We all have our stories of mishaps of various sorts that we have encountered.  Looking back, some of them might now appear to be humorous, while others were tragically life-changing.  Perhaps you have even had some thoughts similar to those of Gideon, one of the men of the Old Testament that was greatly used by God:  “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?  Where are all the wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’  But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:13, New International Version). 

Gideon came into leadership during a time when it seemed that everything had gone awry for the Jewish people.  When God called Gideon to rise up and bring victory to his people he felt completely incapable.  But it was in that setting that God promised to be with him and enable him to accomplish what he could never do in his own strength.  If you are familiar with Gideon’s story, you know that what God did through him was nothing short of miraculous.  The Bible says that “During Gideon’s lifetime, the land enjoyed peace forty years” (Judges 8:28).

When life looks gloomy and everything seems to have turned against you, remember that God knows where you are and He has a plan.  Ask Him to guide you, enable you, and use you even when it seems impossible.