I talked to a boy my own age at a Life Recruit Rally in Terre Haute, Indiana. A LONG time ago. We stayed in the same house for the night. He related that he had been in an accident which killed a friend but spared him. Which aroused a question: why did he survive? That led him to Christ for the answer.
I remember, as a youth in Lincoln Christian Church, that a community family had lost a son in a motorcycle accident. It hadn’t been a church-going family. The Sunday following the funeral service, they attended church services. I wondered then, and wonder now, did they return the following Sunday, and beyond?
As a minister I talked with a man about Jesus. He admitted that seeing an accident on the road slowed him down. But did it speed his approach to God?
Allowing for the exceptions, life-experiences will likely average out over a period of years for everyone. The important question is always: will they have brought us closer to God, left us distanced from God or driven us farther from God?
We can’t tell the effect of experiences by immediate tears that fall when loved ones get sick, have strokes or contract cancer and die. Only if the experience rouse questions in us: what about my life? Am I missing something? Have I resisted learning lessons God wants to teach? Do I need to return to Bible teaching I heard when younger, but forsook for something else when growing older?
Keep this principle as a life-rule. Any experience we have that leaves us unchanged before God is a WASTE and a LOSS—no matter how pleasant or profitable. It doesn’t matter how it improves us intellectually, or financially, or relationally, if it doesn’t bring us closer to Jesus Christ. But...any experience that convinces us to question our purpose, our end, our judgment at Christ’s throne, and leads us to Jesus, is a BLESSING for which we should thank God! Whatever burdens of discipleship it imposes.
What impact will any experience have on my faith in Christ? In our end, “in life and death, and life is surely flying, the crib and coffin, carved from the self-same tree”...in “life and death, and death so soon is coming...., escape I cannot, there’s no place to flee....” How will any experience impact my faith in God and lead me to love the Savior?
After tears dry; after memory fades, after we have gone on to other things, where will we be in our relationship with Jesus? Only that matters. Nothing else.