“YOU couldn’t make it up!” That phrase is associated in my mind with a contemporary newspaper columnist who usually concludes his exposure of the shenanigans of a well-known politician with that quip.
When we consider the complexity and inter-relatedness of human experience it is possible to recite events and encounters so that we can truthfully exclaim: “You couldn’t make it up!”
In his book “God’s Frontiersmen” about the Ulster-Scot community in Ireland and in the United States of America, Rory Fitzpatrick told the following story.
John Miller, who has recently emigrated from County Armagh, was in a hotel in Oswego in upstate New York on his way to Canada when “an oldish lady”, recognising his accent, asked him his name and if he had relatives in America.
He replied that he had a sister Mary who had emigrated to America when he was just a child but by now he thought she must be dead.
Tears fell down the cheeks of the “oldish lady”. She immediately took John in her arms and whispered “You must be my brother John!”
An English yachtsman sailing in the Carribean 4,000 miles from home lost his mast in a storm. He had been adrift for two days and was taking in water in 20-foot waves when his desperate SOS was picked up. Twenty minutes later he was rescued by the captain of a 116,000-ton liner. When the sailor had been pulled from the water and in discussion with his rescuer he learned that the captain responding to his SOS was from a village in Hampshire close to his gome in the village of Warsash.
A policeman in New Zealand recently recruited from the Met in London pulled over a driver and set about charging him with driving too fast. The policeman immediately recognised the driver, not so long ago he had stopped him on the London Orbital Road for a similar offence. The driver had just arrived in New Zealand in search of employment.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgements and His paths beyond tracing out!” Rom 11 v33. Thus St Paul expresses his conception of how God orders his world and the affairs of all his creatures.
We haven’t the tools to unpack God’s works of providence but we need never fear that His will shall be dethroned or that He will permit an evil which be so overpowering that He cannot bring good out of it.
Human failure, which may disappoint the saints and must sadden the Almighty, cannot ultimately defeat His purposes.
As creatures entrusted with the power of choice we are responsible for our decisions and their outworking. In so many ways we determine how our lives will pan out. “Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them!” Isaiah 3 v10-11.
There is a principle of justice running through life and the link between act and judgement may seem unduly long, so long to test out faith but that link abides and God in a myriad of ways causes to pass those issues which fulfill His righteous governance.
“The Lord does whatever pleases Him.” Psalm 135 v6.