I’m Back! (In New Jersey)
Hi! I’m back. For those of you who have been following this blog, yesterday was the first day that I have not written a post in 49 days. And if you read my last entry, you know that I was talking about a day of rest – and I took it! Hopefully, you understand. But today is a different story and as I was thinking about writing this evening, a number of different ideas came to mind. But it was only a matter of minutes after I landed in Newark this evening that I had my subject – Bill!
Now you probably don’t remember Bill! But if you want to refresh your memory, you can go back and read my post for March 1st – called “Our Culture – Downloadable and Disposable?” Bill was the driver I met last time I was picked up at the airport and we had a great talk on the way to my hotel. Well, tonight, the first time I have been back since I met Bill, I was scheduled to be picked up from the airport, and the driver was nowhere to be found. But I finally connected with him – he took my bags and was off to the races – I was lagging fifteen steps behind as we navigated through the airport and then out to the parking lot. He threw my suitcase into the truck and I got in the back seat and called Janet to let her know that I had safely arrived.
He had the radio turned up and it was tough to carry on a conversation with Janet, so we hung up and I sat quietly in the back seat. My driver was obviously annoyed about something, and had shared with me that he had been at the airport for thirty minutes before I arrived. And even though my flight had arrived a little early, the gate was occupied and we had to wait out on the tarmac for at least twenty minutes. I can see how my driver had to wait for me but I have never had a guy grab my stuff and set out so far ahead of me.
When we were about five minutes from the hotel, the driver turned to me and said, “So how are you doing, Rev. Toussaint?” I was a little surprised. We had not spoken the whole trip, and now he decided to speak to me? Literally, the last five minutes of the trip from the airport! What gives? He said he was annoyed, so that’s why he wasn’t talking to me. I was concerned that I had done something to offend him, but he said that was not the case. He was angry with the dispatcher, and perhaps several other people in his life. He told me how tough his life is right now, and that he can’t make enough money to make ends meet. He works long hours, and sometimes seven days in a row, and just can’t get ahead.
He started to settle down a little and our conversation got a little easier. He was trying to build a little rapport, but you could tell, he was suffering. Anyway, I just listened. He finally came around to mentioning the Lord and not understanding why things were so tough for him. He talked a little about his faith, and as we rounded the corner to the hotel, he said he would have to leave his problems up to God to resolve. Good decision. As I exited the car, I asked how he knew I was a minister. He announced that he had driven me before – it was Bill! And no greeting – no speaking – just anger almost the whole way.
And this brings me to tonight’s verse – 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Because each of us has had the same experience as Bill. Good one day, and struggling the next. Why the difference? How can we be devoted to God and still have these ups and downs? Because we aren’t God – we’re human. And we all have struggles and bad days. But Peter let us know that. He encouraged us to support one another, and pray for one another, but more than that, he let us know that God will restore us and we will once again be strong, firm and steadfast.
So my encouragement tonight is that God will restore you, no matter how much you have suffered, and my prayer is that you will rejoice, as much as possible, in the suffering you will do during your walk with Christ. For none of us is guaranteed that we will not hurt just because we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. But the suffering will be worth it – so rest in the benediction of Peter – that God is a God of grace and will draw you to himself. So have a great day in the Lord, as you receive my greetings from New Jersey!