“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." Matthew 4:16
We are living in dark times. You can turn on any local or 24-hour news cycle and see it through violence, calamities, and natural events. Feel it. You may even sense the presence of evil in key areas of your life, walking alongside you like a dark shadow. And in the midst of these dark, chaotic days, or dark, chaotic circumstances, we sometimes forget that God is actively working in our lives. When we are dealing with forces beyond our control, it’s important that we hold onto our faith and know that we can survive them with God. When we recognize that Our Heavenly Father is in charge, He has a plan for us and He ultimately reigns supreme, we cannot fail. Sometimes, our ability to conquer and persevere through insurmountable odds can be revealed to us through acts of God. Acts of God are instances or events, such as sudden natural disasters, outside human control. These events can reveal how, through God’s protection and our inner will, we can triumph over calamity and adversity. These acts of God can also help us discover our own truths.
In the book “Acts of God” short-story writer Ellen Gilchrist crafts ten different scenarios in which people dealing with forces beyond their control manage to survive, persevere, and triumph, even if it’s only the triumph of the will. One of the stories involves a teenager named Marie James, from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Her whole world changes when she works with a group of friends to find survivors in the debris that was left when a tornado destroyed a neighboring town. She had no idea when she embarked on this journey with her friends the miracle that would occur.
In the pile up of debris, the group of friends found a baby trapped in the chaos left by the tornado. The baby’s mother, grandmother and older brother were also found dead in the home. They noticed the child’s eyes were open. As they waited for help, the group stood in wonder of the miracle baby. They learned that the baby’s father was still alive and when he was alerted, he immediately came to the Red Cross trailer where they were located to claim him. Marie covered the child with the shirt she was wearing. The situation really struck her. She realized through that situation that at any moment she could lose the people in her life she often took for granted. She couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that this child lost a mother, a grandmother and a brother and that their entire world would never be the same after this occurrence. She was committed to acknowledging her loved ones for the things they’d done for her and not staying hooked on the little things. She now knew the importance of holding onto the memories because at any moment, that special person in your life could be gone. We are reminded through these acts of God that Our Heavenly Father is working in all situations. God reveals to us through these acts of God how precious life is.
In another story, Eli Naylor who was left orphaned by a flood discovers that there comes an understanding that sometimes out of tragedy can come the greatest good, as he finds a life and a future in one of the most unexpected places. Through his circumstances, he found a vital role in the family he would come to know, and through a series of losses discovered how much meaning these men and women brought to his life. He triumphed over his calamity and adversity, and in his dying day was able to leave this world in peace.
These stories are great illustrations of what we can do in the face of extraordinary odds when we feel our circumstances are too great to overcome. Just like the characters in these stories, we are fighters and believers, survivors who find the strength to go on when we face our own truths. No matter how great our circumstances, we can conquer them with God.