We often attribute the “near misses” in our lives to the hand of God. We barely avoid an auto accident, and we breath a prayer of thanks, sensing God has intervened. We get a good report about tests our doctor has ordered, and we thank him that we are not sick. We narrowly avoid losing our job, dodge the bullet when we miss a deadline , or even escape jury duty and we feel like God has been working behind the scenes to keep our lives free of trouble.
But what about those times when, instead of the “near miss,” we take a “direct hit”? The biopsy is malignant, the phone call in the middle of the night changes our lives, the other driver slides on the ice across the center line and crashes into us, what then? What about when we get the pink slip, or someone we dearly love finds themselves in a deep, dark place? Are we to assume that God was nowhere present in those moments?
If there is one thing that is true it is that God is always at work. He will always be true to his word. He promised throughout scripture that he would never leave us to live or fight life’s battles alone. Even when our lives are not free of trouble, even when we experience the hard things we longed to avoid, he is there, faithfully loving us and working for our good.
While this might not be eloquently stated, one of the great lessons in life is that very often, God reveals himself to us not so much in the near misses but in the direct hits. This is not to say that he doesn’t intervene, that he doesn’t protect. It is instead to say that when we take that direct hit, when the troubles or heartaches come, we are drawn to him out of a great sense of need.
So many times, the direct hit causes us to realize how much we need God. That sense of desperation drives us to him, and as James said, when we draw near him, he will draw near us. When the biopsy is positive, the pink slip is in the mailbox, or the prodigal in our lives drift away, we often discover in the midst of it all that God is there, right in the midst of it all, and that without him we would be lost.
The direct hit, the times when bad things happen to us, are not caused by God. But his power and love is so amazing that those times are often the times when we see his hand of provision, experience the wonder of his presence, and stand in awe at the peace we cannot understand. We learn, in the midst of the direct hit, that he is faithful and that we are not alone.
On a personal note, let me add that my household has taken a couple of direct hits lately. In the midst of them, we have never sensed God more clearly, or felt loved by him more deeply. Would we have rather had a near miss or two? You bet! But in the place we find ourselves now, we know that in the hard times, in the times we have been desperate for him, he has been incredibly faithful. Without the direct hits, we may not be in the place we are with him. We have learned about prayer, about God’s provision, and about his faithfulness in ways that we could never have learned from a near miss.
Have you taken a “direct hit” lately? I am “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6 NIV).