There are moments in life when we can honestly say we are certain that God was already there. We are sure that He had to have gone ahead of us and protected us in some way. There are also moments in life when we need to be reminded that He is already there...that He has been there at the end from the very beginning. The moments I have found myself in recently have me thinking about this quite a bit.
I first started to consider this after a very unusual night at food pantry. I had asked a man in line if he wanted prayer, and I thought that he had responded with the words "I pray." So I said,"That's great that you pray!" He shook his head no and motioned for me to come closer to him. I did. Then he said, "Give me your hand." I thought nothing of it at the time because often the guests at food pantry want to hold hands when we pray. I gave him my hand. The instant I held his hand I felt this overwhelming sense of peace and safety. I felt the most safe that I have ever felt in my life. It was such an unusual feeling of safety that I was conscious of it. At precisely that moment the man brought my hand up, snarled at me, and said "I bite!". I thought he was joking with me so I laughed a little and said, "It's okay that you bite. I'll pray for you anyway." He shook his head no, so I went back to where I had been standing. Twice more, he walked past me that night snarled, acted like he was going to bite, and said "I bite!". By the third time I no longer believed he was joking, and I was certain he had a demon. I still felt safe.
That feeling of safety bothered me the whole way home and I asked God a lot of questions. What is wrong with me that I thought he was joking and didn't discern right away what was going on? Why did I feel safe when I should have been freaked out? Why didn't he bite me? What is it you want me to see that I'm missing? I wrestled with those questions on my own, and with a friend who is much older and wiser than me. A few times during the night God woke me up and brought various things to my attention. One of the things that He said to me was, "I was already there at the end of your day, from the beginning." That overwhelming feeling of peace and safety was because God was already there. He knew this was going to happen. He went before me, He covered me, and He protected me. I spent the next few days marveling at this. Every time I thought about it I felt so loved, so held, and so thankful.
In the week that followed, I faced quite a bit of uncertainty. I took a loved one for an MRI. I prayed hard that nothing would show up on it. We're still waiting for the results. My heart was burdened by another person I love who is contemplating walking away from God completely. As the week wore on and the burdens piled up, my mind was drawn to God who is already there at the ending. I couldn't help but wonder what the endings for all of these stories playing out in the lives of those I love are going to look like. I couldn't help but wonder why we have to go through them at all, if God knows the end from the beginning.
At the week's end, I sat on the porch with my aunt watching the kids play. There was a hornet buzzing around us and she wanted to throw something at it to make it go away. I reminded her that we didn't want to make it mad since I'm allergic. Eventually it flew away and we sat there enjoying the sunshine. I happened to look up during our conversation. I was looking at the clouds and enjoying the blue sky...when I saw directly above the chair I was sitting in...a large hornet's nest. I had been concerned about one hornet and there was a whole nest a few feet above my head! God had already been there. I was safe. I was covered. I was held.
We're not guaranteed a life free of trials, pain, or sorrow. We may never fully understand why God allows certain things to happen to us or to those we love. I truly don't believe that there is anything in this life that we will face without Him, if we are His. He is already there at the end, from the beginning. Another words, He has gone ahead of us. He knows what we are going to face before we face it and He will see us through if we'll let Him. I don't know about you, but right now there are things that I worry about and wonder how they are going to end. Will they end well or will there be more heartache? All I can see before my eyes is one hornet. I am learning that I don't need to know that answer. God hasn't lost sight of the whole hornet's nest! I don't need to worry about how things are going to turn out. All I need to know is that God's already there!