By Matthew F. Leighty
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. - 1 Timothy 1:15-17
Have you ever experienced a moment when you felt God's divine protection watching over you? Perhaps it was during a health scare, a close call in a tragic accident, or a moment when you narrowly escaped a dangerous situation. These moments serve as powerful reminders of God's presence and care in our lives.
In that moment of realization, we are reminded of the trustworthiness of the words from 1 Timothy 1:15-17. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy, declares that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, even the foremost among them. It is in these times of peril and vulnerability that we may resonate with Paul's acknowledgment of our own shortcomings.
One such moment in my life occurred back in April 2007. I had flown into Albuquerque, N.M., on a Saturday because I was scheduled to speak at a church in a different part of the state the following day. As I was driving along the highway, I briefly took my eyes off the road to check my map. When I looked up, my car was veering dangerously off the highway. In that split second, I realized that there was nothing I could do to regain control except to pray. My car rolled and eventually settled in a nearby field. Despite the complete destruction of my vehicle, I walked away without a scratch. To this day, I remain grateful and in awe of God's protection on that fateful day. It's a profound reminder that God is indeed our ever-watchful guardian.
Emerging from such moments, one often contemplates the greater purpose God has in store for their life. Have you ever found yourself wondering about God's plan for your journey? I once sat with a grieving widow, her family and friends having long departed, and her children and grandkids rarely visiting. She questioned why God had not yet taken her to her heavenly home.
You've probably heard the phrase, "God's not done with me yet," and it resonates deeply with the idea that, even in challenging circumstances, we have a role to play in sharing God's love, mercy, and grace.
In the year 1505, a significant event unfolded in the life of Martin Luther. While returning to the university on horseback after a visit home, he encountered a violent thunderstorm. A lightning bolt struck perilously close, sending shivers of fear through him. He was gripped not only by the fear of death but also by the dread of divine judgment. In his moment of intense distress, he cried out, "Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk!" This plea was not a mere utterance; Luther considered it a solemn vow that he could never renounce.
True to his vow, Luther made a life-altering decision. He abandoned his university studies and embarked on a new path. On the 17th of July in the same year, he sought refuge within the walls of St. Augustine's Monastery in Erfurt. Some suggested that his choice was influenced by the grief of losing two dear friends. Nevertheless, this pivotal moment in Luther's life set in motion a profound spiritual transformation that would later shape the course of the Protestant Reformation.
While the significant events in our lives may not lead us to redefine the course of history, we can still draw inspiration from Luther's experience. It underscores the idea that God's divine protection and purpose are interwoven into our life journeys.
Just as God's protection and purpose accompany us until the day He calls us to our heavenly home, we are reminded that He is not done with us yet. Our individual journeys continue to unfold, marked by divine guidance, protection, and a shared mission to spread God's love to a world in need. These moments of divine protection and purpose serve as profound reminders of God's presence and care in our lives, inspiring us to carry out our mission with renewed dedication.