What Will Happen Next?

A pandemic, economic collapse, and racial injustice with a face and a name.

Do bad things really happen in threes?

That's the proverbial wisdom, and it sometimes seems that way, but-- No, they do not. We like to look for patterns in the things that come our way. With "confirmation bias,” we pick-and-choose information that confirms what we already believe and then we overlook everything else. It's just another way humans have of bringing a sense of order to this chaotic world we find ourselves living in.

Sometimes it looks like good things come in threes, too. That was my experience this past Saturday. It was a day of spiritual blessing and twin brushes with the miraculous.

Late in the afternoon of a gorgeous day, enjoying the perfect weather and reading a book that a friend had given me, Countdown 1945 by Chris Wallace.

I had been so encouraged by the Men's breakfast that morning. We had another large gathering of guys (online, of course), a cooking demonstration by a father and son team, and a challenging message from Steve Whittenburg, one of the elders at Oakland Baptist Church. We have been fellowshipping with this African-American congregation for a few months now. Neighbors on the same block sharing a similar heart for the gospel and for discipleship.

I was thinking how great it was that we were already doing this before racial unrest over injustice exploded in the streets across America. We were already talking, listening, and building bridges before we realized how essential that was going to be.

God was at work--preparing our hearts.

Then a text arrived to take my mind off of World War II and jolt me into this century and hour with a story I did not know how would end. One of our precious families, John and Allison Horton, with their children, Kinsley and Hudson, had just been involved in a very serious automobile accident on the outskirts of Chattanooga, TN. Their car was struck by another, went airborne, and rolled over five times. Totaled. They were at that moment in the emergency room.

I called and was able to talk with John and Allison as they awaited getting checked over. There were lots of bumps, bruises, and a few cuts--but they survived and were going to be OK. It could have been so different on this June afternoon.

I prayed with them a prayer of thanksgiving for God's miraculous provision.

An hour or so later I got another text. At first I did not believe it. "Seriously?,” I asked.

The news was circulating that the Graveson boys, Matthew and Timothy, had been released from the hospital and would be sleeping in their own beds that very night!

Covid-19, the evil virus that has turned our world upside down this spring, and taken 115,000 lives just in our own country, had two brave teenaged boys wrestled away from its grip. After so many weeks of touch and go in the ICU--these dear ones would live!

Thousands upon thousands of people--from around the world, not just Alexandria--had united in prayer across the days and fought along with the excellent healthcare professionals at INOVA Fairfax to tenaciously pull them free.

I told Matthew yesterday when I visited with him: "Even people who do not believe in God were praying for you.”

Again, this story could have had a much different ending.

Miracles happen all around us--I believe. If we have eyes to see them, and ears to hear (as Jesus said). We miss seeing a lot of them because other things so easily distract us. But no one could miss this one! We may live a long time and seldom again see quite so clear an evidence of God's grace and ability to intervene in our lives.

So we should all write it down, make a note, tell it often--so that we never forget it.

No, it doesn't always happen this way. People die in horrible crashes on the interstate, and the Coronavirus is relentless--even when people just like us plead with God to rescue and deliver. I cannot explain or understand this mystery.

I just know that on Saturday night I ended the day and headed to bed, reflecting on three great experiences where God let me know, in unmistakable terms, that He was still at work in this world.

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