It seems as though the minivan is altogether dead, and honestly, my masculine self is ok with this. It was the way its end came that scared me. Yesterday my wife called me to tell me that she had been in a wreck and I had to hurry to the scene of the accident. My immediate concern was with the wellbeing of my family as she was on her way to pick up our eldest from school, with my two youngsters in the back. Fortunately, apart from some bruising, no one seems the worse for wear. Shaken, scared, but ok.
I was particularly proud of my 5-year-old son who took it upon himself to secure his sister and gather belongings—“way to go my little man!” The family closed ranks and last night we sat around the table and delighted in our life together. God is good. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam 3:22–23, ESV)
But what if the outcome were different? What if our circumstances were more like that of the Schreiners? Many of you know Tom Schreiner the guest speaker at last year’s Bible conference. We all respect him. I love him. My professor, advisor, and friend, he is dear to me. Because of my affection for him, his recent family trauma is distressing me deeply. On Friday, Tom’s wife Diane was in a serious bike accident that resulted in head injuries. Fortunately, Diane is making steady progress, but the road to recovery is likely to be long.
This accident is a major interruption in their lives and my heart hurts for them and I have been diligent in my prayers for the family. Do I quote Lamentations 3 in these prayers? You bet! God’s faithfulness is not measured by our health and his mercies are not limited to our earthly security. The writer of lamentations is not waxing lyrical about blue skies and butterflies; he inserts this praise amongst dust, gall, and broken teeth. He praises God’s unfailing love in the midst of an unraveling life.
Our God has promised us suffering, but that should not alarm us. He has also sworn to rescue us from sin and its effects, and in this he is faithful. While we may languish in sorrow for a season, we have the confidence that God will restore us and reward us. He is faithful in this. Cancer may seem to have the day, calamity may creep close during the night, but the end of things is sure.
This confidence in God is supernaturally present in the Schreiner household. Patrick, Tom and Diane’s son, posted this at 4:50am on Saturday morning. “I cannot remember a time when I did not believe that God was in control of all things. It was, and is the air I breathe. Trying to cope with the big questions of life in a tragedy like this without The Sovereign Solid Rock beneath my feet, seems to me like attempting to fly with no wings.”
God is good, even when the days are bad. His faithfulness is present even when we can’t see the sun, and his mercies never come to an end, even when we do.