Sunday, July 6, 2008

Firefighter Refuses Rescue!

This morning I am thinking a lot about a man named John. When I met him he was stretched out on his bed, alone in his room at the facility. I couldn’t tell how old he was- maybe late 50’s? He was definitely underweight. The TV was blaring at full volume but John was staring blankly out his window. He turned and looked at me but said nothing. I asked if he would mind turning down his TV for a minute. He complied. I asked his name although I had seen it on the door. Introducing myself, I asked where he was from and he said, “Brooklyn”. I made small talk about his accent and the weather. John told me that he used to be a firefighter. We talked about that for a minute and then I asked where he was headed when he left. He shrugged his shoulders. I asked him if he considered himself to be good. He said, “Yes.” I began to ask him some questions and after the first two he put his hand up in the air and said, “Hold it right here. I know where you are going with this and I want to tell you that God and I aren’t speaking right now.”

I waited and he finally started to talk. He said, “I was a firefighter and I had a fire in my own house. My 14-year-old son was in the house so I went in and dragged him out…then for some reason he ran back into the fire! Why did God let that happen? Then last year I lost my only other son to cancer!!”

These types of questions are really difficult to hear. Last April my husband and I got the chance to attend the Way of the Master Ambassador’s Alliance Academy. While there I witnessed a man come to the microphone during an open air session with Ray Comfort. This man Larry asked Ray why God had allowed his two-year-old to die. Ray told the man he didn’t have an answer for him, but that it was not God’s plan for that to happen.

I took that to heart and told John that very thing. John went on to tell me that all of his friends kept asking him why he wouldn’t eat. John said he didn’t want to eat. He was a very bitter man and I felt that the Lord wanted me to share something that had happened in my own life with him.

First, I told John that there was no way I could understand how he felt in this situation. I then relayed that a long time ago I had a son. On the night before his third birthday, his father kidnapped him. It was very difficult. For years when I thought of my son the memories were wrapped in bitterness. I felt that if I let that go I might not remember what he even looked like! I had a hard time separating the bitter memories from the boy. I told John that he had a relationship with his son long before the bitterness came and he needed to let go of this unforgiveness and bitterness against God and himself. “Does that make sense to you?” I asked him. He said, “Yes, I know what you’re saying.” John and I continued our discussion and he promised to do some thinking. I tried to visit him again but he is gone, I don’t know where.

Just like his son, John didn’t want to be rescued. The reason doesn't really matter in the long run. God has done everything needed just to save him. Instead, he may turn and run into the fire.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

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