Looking Back

images(Originally written during the Great Flood of 2010) The Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes has a couple of sentences that are always difficult for me to swallow in the moment, but with hindsight I’ve discovered that they have been true in my life without fail.

Yet, God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:10-12 NLT

As I write this Danny is missing in the flood waters of the Harpeth River. I had no idea until I saw Anderson Cooper interview his mom while we were in Destin last week. As I watched from afar I could feel a grieved mother’s soul-deep anguish. I thought “how sad”. But even then I didn’t know it was Danny from the gym, the man with the huge Jesus tattoo on his back, until his picture came up on the screen. I don’t recall ever having a feeling exactly like that. It was a shocking experience; a moment that I could actually feel in my gut. The very first thing I said to my wife was “I know him, he has a huge Jesus tattoo on his back!”

I didn’t know Danny well. Actually, I didn’t even know his last name. I’m sure he didn’t know mine. He was a boxer. He was tough in a good way. Over the years we chatted; he seemed to be interested in my bicycle riding. Often I overheard him talking to other folks at the gym about Jesus being his Savior. It was never any of what I call “Christianeese”. He didn’t use buzz words, but if someone opened a door he was willing to tell them what Jesus had done for him. Perhaps that is why he had the Jesus Tattoo. Who knows how many people Danny has touched.

For over a week volunteers have been searching for Danny. Many of them never knew him, but they have wadded through water, mud and briars because they care. ”…people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

I don’t believe for a New York second that God wanted Danny to die in a flood, but I believe to center of my heart that God’s work on earth includes using horrible happenings. No, we can’t see the whole picture, but God does always bring good out of bad. Some way or the other he will do it again even in the death of Danny with the Jesus tattoo.

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