“This stiff neck couldn’t have come at a worse time.” That is what I woke up saying on Wednesday morning of last week. It was 5:00 in the morning and I could barely move. I can’t ever remember feeling pain like that in my neck (insert your own marriage joke here) and it seemed to come at the worst possible time (emphasis on “seemed”).
Why was it the worst possible time? Because on the next day, I was supposed to be travelling up to Toronto for 5 action-packed days. The main event during this trip would be two Outreach Nights hosted by my good friends at SMSV church. During these nights, they invite all the Christians and non-Christians in the area for a night of spiritual revival. They advertised on the radio, in the newspaper and online. And this year they expected a larger turnout than ever before – the facility they rented accommodated close to 900 people!
And the main speaker for both nights….FR. ANTHONY MESSEH! The guy whose neck is so sore at this point that he can barely lift up his head and talk at the same time. What great timing for this stiff neck!
Oh and on top of that, before arriving in Toronto, I had to somehow get through the travel. Usually that’s not a big deal – it’s just a 2 hour flight. But this year – just to show you how the timing really couldn’t have been any worse – I decided to bring my wife and kids with me and that meant that instead of a 2 hour plane ride, I had a 12 hour car ride instead!
YIPPEE! I get to sit in a car for 12 hours with a severely stiff neck and then when I arrive I get to speak in front of 900 people coming from all over to hear the always-animated and ever-passionate Fr. Anthony speak.
Greeeeeeeaaaat timing God!
(Yes I know I am being sarcastic and I know I shouldn’t be, but that is how I was feeling. Even we priests are allowed to have an off day every now and then)
"Why would You do this to me God? Why choose now for the stiff neck? I am trying to serve You God. I am going on this trip to spread the Truth about You – why does it seem like You’re not helping me or working with me?”"
Those were the thoughts that I was thinking as I lay in bed. And if you’re honest, you’ve had those same thoughts too. We all know the right answer. We know that God is always working, even behind the scenes. But it certainly doesn't seem that way sometimes does it?
The Bible says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
But do they really? How do you know? I know God’s Word is always true, but sometimes it’s just hard to see it isn’t it?
I’ll be honest and say that when the stiff neck came to me the day before my travels, I was questioning the wisdom of God’s timing. Give me a stiff neck any day and it’s ok, but why the day before I travel? Why now? It made no sense…
…until God showed me that that stiff neck saved my trip and was THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME!
When I woke up on Wednesday with a stiff neck and couldn’t move, I woke Marianne up and told her to call in sick and take the day off. I said “tell them your husband is sick and we believe that two become one in marriage, so therefore you’re sick!” I told her I needed her to stay home because I couldn’t move. So she did (good wife).
After she took the kids to school and came home, we figured we might as well start preparing for the trip. So I said, “let’s get the passports out.” So we pull out the passports and discover a little surprise…
Marianne's passport is expired! YIKES!!!!!
It is now one day before our trip and she doesn’t have a passport. Those who have gotten passports before know that it takes forever. You can’t get them in the same day. You can’t even get an appointment to enter the office the same day. It was a week before they told us we could come in and get one.
But we had no choice. So Marianne drove downtown and just showed up at the passport office and was going to beg for mercy. I had no hope of this being successful and was trying to figure out what to do next.
Long story short, she spent all day at the passport office and SHE GOT THE NEW PASSPORT! Same day. Truly miraculous! That never happens but it did on that day.
Now, here’s the million dollar question: why again did I have a stiff neck? Why would God give that to me just one day before travelling?
Because He knew that the passport had expired and without Marianne taking the day off, we couldn’t have gotten the new passport and the trip would have been ruined.
See how God works all things together for good? Trust me – He does the same in your life as well. The issue isn’t whether or not He’s working; the issue is whether or not we’ll see it.
And that’s why I started my blog – to help you find God in everyday life. He’s there. We know He’s there. The issue is just whether or not we’ll see Him. So keep your eyes open.
For discussion: can you share a story where God taught you the same lesson? That He’s always working even when it doesn’t look like it?