“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
“…for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”
Isaiah 43: 19, 20b & 21
I’ll admit—I don’t always understand what God is up to. In fact…I doubt. A lot. I’ll be the first person to say I trust God, but I’m also the first to question Him when something tragic happens.
Let me give you a recent example:
Sunday afternoon a dear friend of mine asked me to pick him up from the airport. After (frustratingly) waiting an hour for his delayed flight to arrive, we get on the express way headed west. Not even 10 minutes into the drive, a drunk young girl in a giant, speeding Tahoe, smashes into 3 cars—my car being one of them, and my car being the worst hit. Nevertheless, my poor little Dodge Neon saw her final day on this late Sunday afternoon.
As I’m standing in the middle of the 836 with a totaled car, the last thing crossing my mind is faith (except for the fact that we walked out without a scratch—miraculous).
To make matters worse, the banged up couple in the banged up Tahoe decide in their banged up state of mind that fleeing the scene of the accident is the best choice to make.
As I’m watching this Tahoe speed away, leaving my car a total disaster, trust is the last thing crossing my mind.
To make a long, crazy story short enough to fit this blog post, the Tahoe was chased down in a witness’ car, to then have about 5 cop cars stop them several miles down the road. Needless to say, they were both arrested and charged with a whole lot more than they would’ve been if they had stayed at the scene of the accident.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I believe that God orchestrates this life to be abundantly more profound than we can ever imagine. He makes a way where there is no way, and he turns moments of despair into opportunities that ooze with life and love.
God always manages to blow my mind…every single time.
The accident is finally over and we are sitting inside the corpse of my deceased little Dodge, on the side of the express way awaiting a tow. 45 minutes and 6 phone calls later, the tow-truck arrives. As my designated driver begins tying my car upon the truck, I animatedly begin sharing details of what just happened. I ask him for a ride and before he can really answer, I’m sitting passenger seat of a giant tow-truck sharing a story with a new friend. Situations that would seem awkward for a typical person are absurdly normal for me. I usually do what I do best in those situations—talk up a storm. And that I did.
Scoping the truck, my eye caught sight of a picture of a little girl, “You have a daughter?” I asked. “Yes, 2 of them, actually”, he continued. We began the long drive home chatting about his children, life struggles, the crazy city of Miami and where our families are from. My new friend shared that he is also of Cuban decent. The conversation led to religious freedom in Cuba, and after about 20 minutes of getting to know my new friend, the question naturally arose, “Do you believe in God?”
“Yea, I do,” he admitted.
“Do you know who Jesus is?” I asked.
“Not really. I don’t know the whole story”
And in that moment I began to share the most incredible story of all time. The story that changed my life entirely.
“You know that emptiness you—we all—feel?”
“Let me tell you something, I don’t care what the world tells you—I don’t care how much sex you have; I don’t care how much you party; I don’t care how much money you make—that hole in your heart can’t be filled by any of that.”
“Yea, actually, I get you. The world tells you to ‘live it up’ and yea, it’s cool and all, but it doesn’t really fulfill you,” he confessed.
“Exactly. I’ve been there,” I admit—“I tried all of that. It wasn’t until I realized that I didn’t need to be entertained, I needed to be fulfilled. And you know what? God made you in His image. You hear me? You’re created like God. You’re not a monkey. You’re a human. You’re deep and you’re profound. The world is superficial, you’re not—that’s why what the world has to offer won’t satisfy you internally. People want to explain life away—make it cheap and shallow.”
“But, it’s not”, he finished. “It’s deeper than that.”
I watched his face as he listened intently to every word I said. It was making sense to him—the same way it made sense to me on that life-changing Friday night in February of 2012.
“It’s a broken world. Right? You see the brokenness. We’re messed up people,” I continued.
“Yea, we are”
“We want nothing to do with God. We want his stuff, and could care less about him…or anyone but ourselves for that matter. The world is a nasty place. And man, that’s sin. It’s everywhere. It affects everything. It’s in our very nature—we’re full of it. And because God is perfect, He can’t be in fellowship with us if we’re infested with sin.” I continued “But you know what God did? He came down in the form of a man—Jesus. Fully God, fully man. The King of the universe left his throne. He walked this earth. He healed the sick, he made the blind see, he cleansed the lepers, he loved the unloved. He never committed a sin. He lived the perfect life we could never live. And you know what? His own people hated him. They mocked him and they ridiculed him for claiming he was God. And you know what else? They crucified him. But this didn’t come as a surprise to Jesus—cause he was God. He could’ve stopped it, but he didn’t. Everything has a price, and he knew that a price needed to be paid for the terrible sins of the world. And he was more than willing to pay it for us. Because he loves us. He loves you.”
“That’s crazy. Me?”
“Yes. You. Ay, man. God loves you. So much so, that he died. Took your punishment. Died the death you deserve.”
“Yea...” My new friend added. Lost in thought.
“Wanna hear the best part of the story? Jesus resurrected from the dead. He literally rose himself up from the dead—proving he is God. And that’s a fact. It’s written in history. Does it sound crazy?”
“Ha…yea, it does.”
“That’s cause it is…it’s wild. It’s outrageous. It’s supernatural. And best of all—it’s true. So true that it changed my life completely. Wanna know something? I don’t believe in coincidences. I know God wanted you to hear this tonight. I believe that so much so, that if this conversation is the reason why I got into my car accident—so I can sit here in your tow truck and share this with you—then I can look you in the face right now and say my entire accident was worth it. God wants a relationship with you.”
My new friend was dumb-founded that I said my accident was worth me sitting in his truck sharing this information with him. In fact, I was dumb-founded that I said that—and meant it. And I am honored that God would turn my disaster—like a car accident, into something beautiful—like sharing a moment of life and love with a new friend.
That’s what Jesus does to you—that’s what true Love does to you. Not the cheap kind of love the world talks about, but real, sacrificial love. The kind that Jesus demonstrated.
The story that my new friend heard that night was the story that changed the entire course of my life. I couldn’t believe that life could be that profound. I couldn’t believe that it all boiled down to LOVE.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
The greatest story of all time can be a part of your personal story.
Do you believe it? If so, will you embrace its beauty, its truth?
God is inviting you to abundant life, abundant love. Don’t miss out.
Questions? E-mail me: email@example.com
Photo Credit: Keith Montero--dear friend, incredible photographer. Check him out at keeeffff.tumblr.com