Our Father, He Fails NotAdd Comment
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Our car was jolted toward the red light as fragments of metal whizzed ahead of us. The car behind us continued rolling through the intersection, and we watched in shock as it finally stopped halfway to the next light. Car accident. These words, previously foreign to me, became a reality. Thankfully, everyone, including those in the vehicle whose brakes had failed, walked away unharmed.Add Comment
The car that Jordan, Kayla, and I were in was less fortunate. Jordan’s vehicle was declared totaled, and at the end of his weekend visit to my house, Jordan had to hitch a ride home.
Jordan’s life returned to normal, but minus a previously underappreciated car. I prayed, “God, please help Jordan find a car soon and figure out all the finances with his insurance company.”
Money had become extremely tight for Jordan’s family because his dad had recently been laid off. A few days after the accident Jordan’s dad sat him down for a talk.
“There’s something that I think should be a rule from now on. Whenever we get in an accident, all the parties involved should go to the hospital, just to make sure that no one’s hurt.” He told Jordan about a girl who was in an accident and didn’t go to the hospital, later finding out that she had brain damage. Because of this, she sued the other person’s insurance company.
“Maybe we could do the same thing,” his father said. “It’s getting harder to pay these bills. The bank sent a letter of foreclosure on the house, and I can’t think of any other way. Jordan, we need you to go to the hospital so they can write some sort of documentation for lawyers to use that says you had a doctor look at you. Tell the doctor you have numbness in your fingers so it’s something they can’t disprove.”
Jordan’s head was spinning. His dad pushed him. “We need the money. Otherwise we’ll lose our home.”
A surge of anger was swelling in Jordan. I need to get away from here. I can’t be around him any longer. Jordan stood from his chair. “I’m not sure I want to do this.” Walking calmly to his room, he sat on his bed to process what had just happened.
Obey God or man?
I need to make my mind up, Jordan thought. I know my dad doesn’t want to steal, and we do need the money. But how could he ask this of me? My parents taught me about right and wrong, but now they want me to lie and steal for them? This is not right. Jordan couldn’t lie to doctors to get money. In his mind, he refused.
Later that night, answering my ringing phone, I listened to Jordan recap everything that had happened. I firmly declared, “This is wrong. You shouldn’t do it.” We talked through the ordeal. “I know that ultimately this is your choice, but you should definitely pray about it before you talk to your dad again.” Jordan promised to consider what I had said.
He opened his Bible, whispering a prayer: “God, let it be something useful, something I can relate to.” Psalm 77 jumped out at Jordan, inviting him to consume the words on the page. “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord” (verses 1, 2, NIV).* He knew instantly that this passage was meant especially for him.
Jordan knew that even when his parents betrayed the values they had taught him to uphold, God was there. No longer did he feel as though he had no role model to look up to or no one to care about him. I don’t need to feel alone anymore, he thought. God is listening and watching over me.
The next day, with speech prepared, Jordan was ready to defy the two people the Bible had instructed him to honor. Facing his parents, he began, “All my life you’ve both taught me what’s right and wrong. Now I need to stand up for what I believe, especially when something is wrong involving people I love. I won’t steal from a company that’s done no wrong. It’s because of your raising me that I can’t do this and won’t do this.”
Jordan watched as his parents’ faces fell with the realization of their mistake. His dad gathered his breath. “What you say is right. Sometimes even as parents we lose sight of God in times of great need and forget that we should rely on Him. I’m so sorry, Jordan. This shouldn’t have happened. You’re right—nobody should ever do this, and we have raised you to be better.”
Tears rolled down Jordan’s mom’s cheeks as Jordan embraced her and his dad.
Later Jordan told me, “In the past I was angry. I sometimes told my parents I hated them, couldn’t stand to be around them. Now I’ve forgiven them, and because of that talk, they look at me in a different light. I learned I’m never alone. Even when it feels as if there is no one to depend on, God is there.”
*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Brianna Schenkelberg will begin her senior year of college this fall. She is from the Hawkeye State—sister state of Terengganu, Malaysia—deep within America’s Breadbasket.
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