Back in the 1890’s, a Texas Ranger finally caught up with Jose Rodriguez, a notorious Mexican bank robber. The Ranger snuck up behind Rodriguez in a small, south of the border tavern and placed a gun to his head. He said, “Jose Rodriguez, you have stolen over a million dollars from the citizens of Texas. Unless you tell me where the money is, so I can retrieve it for them, I am going to shoot you in the head.”
There was a problem, however, which soon became apparent to the Ranger. Rodriguez had not understood a single word he had said. The bank robber did not speak English. The Ranger did not speak Spanish. Looking around the tavern he asked, “Is there anywhere here who speaks both Spanish and English?”
A man by the name of Juan Miranda quickly spoke up. “I do senor, and I would be happy to serve as a translator for you.”
“OK,” said the Ranger, “Please tell Jose Rodriguez that unless he tells me right now where the money is, I am going to shoot him.” Juan repeated those words, in Spanish, to Rodriguez. He quickly responded, in Spanish, that the money was hidden in an old well located three miles west of town.
Juan Miranda then turned to the Ranger and said, in English, “Jose Rodriguez says you will have to shoot him because he is not telling you where the money is.”
Friends, Juan Miranda is not someone we should try to imitate, but he was certainly a clever fellow. He was a man with a purpose and a plan, and as he left that little tavern he was the only person alive who knew where the money was. He knew what he was doing.
When natural disasters or personal catastrophes strike, people often ask, “Does God really know what He is doing? How can a loving God allow such a terrible thing to occur?” Those are not easy questions to answer, but the Bible makes it clear that God does know exactly what He is doing. Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God is the one “who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” I don’t believe God “sends” a tornado to destroy a particular community, but He does choose to allow it. As the omnipotent ruler of the universe he clearly can stop or divert a tornado and prevent any catastrophe. A God who is not as strong as a class-5 tornado would hardly be worth our worship and trust. When a natural disaster occurs, God has a reason for allowing it. You and I may not know what that reason is, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t have one. It is the height of arrogance for us to suggest that because we don’t understand God’s purposes, He therefore does not know what He is doing.
When the storms of life hit, whether in the form of earthquakes and tornados or personal storms like divorce, financial problems, or serious illness, it is important to remember that God knows what He is doing. No matter what we see on television or in the mirror, the Lord does have a plan. He asks us to show love and compassion to others who are hurting, and to trust Him, believing that as Romans 8:28 promises “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
Yours, confident that God really does know what He is doing,
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church