A Pastor’s Ponderings; What If?

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By Rev. Pete Hyde

A Pastor’s Ponderings; What If?

There was nothing out of the ordinary about that evening.  The two young bachelors sat in the living room of their shared apartment. They seemed to have life by the horns – good jobs, freedom to do what they pleased, nice cars, parties, no real cares about the future, you know, all the necessities of life.  The TV was on, but the memory of what show was on has been lost in the events of the evening.  They had just purchased handguns.  Why?  There is probably not a good reason – just a cool thing to do because they could.  One was sitting on the couch cleaning his .38 pistol.  The other got up out of the recliner and headed to the bathroom.  He reached the middle of the room when a shot rang out.  It was deafening.  He instantly froze in his footsteps.  Though his heart was racing, the color ran from his face as he stood motionless, frozen in a moment that felt like eternity.  He glanced over to his friend who sat shaking, almost violently.  His face was white as a sheet.  Neither could speak for a long minute or so.

Once their senses had been gathered, they surveyed the situation.   The pistol was loaded.  The cleaning cloth snagged the trigger and the shot rang out.  The deadly bullet had passed just in front or just behind the young man walking across the room.  It penetrated the wall and buried itself in the towels stacked in the linen closet.  The wall could be fixed.  The closet could be cleaned out.  But the memory of that near-fatal moment was never forgotten – at least not forgotten by the young man who was almost the recipient of a stray, accidentally discharged bullet.

The memory has been shoved back into the deep storage banks of his mind until it resurfaced recently after an old friend’s picture popped up on Facebook.  It has been floating around in plain view for several weeks now along with some questions.  What were the chances of the bullet missing him as he walked across the room?  What would have happened if it had hit him?  What direction would his life, if he survived, have taken?  He knows those are unanswerable questions.  Most “what ifs” don’t have an answer.

A few days ago he heard someone quote Jeremiah 29:11.  This, too, has been floating around in his mind.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29: 11-14. ESV)

There was and is a plan for the young man’s life – God’s plan.  The young man would once again seek the Lord and the Lord would find him and give him a future and hope.  The old memory has resurfaced not to haunt him but to give him assurance that God has a plan and that God will carry out His plan even if it takes a miracle to do so.

The young man is now graying and little worn, but he is reassured once again of the presence and power of God Almighty who knows his name and knows the number of gray hairs on his head and has shaped the events of his life according God’s grand and many times unknowable plan.  Thanks be to God!!

God has a plan for your life.  Open yourself this week the great work He has in store for you.  You will be blessed because he has a plan grander than any plan we can devised for ourselves.

Rev. J. Pete Hyde, Senior Pastor

Santa Rosa Beach Community Church

850-267-2599; srbcc.com

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