God’s in Control

Traveling is never safeRob slams on the brakes shortly after exiting the highway. A car, facing us and in our turn lane, is sitting half on the road and half on the curb. Immediately, Rob turns on his flashers and calls for me to direct traffic behind us while he approaches the wrecked car to size up the situation. For the next 20 minutes or so, I stand in the spitting snow and freezing wind directing traffic until the police arrive and a friendly “neighbor” pull the car back on the road. We were minutes, if not seconds, away from potentially being involved in the accident.

Time is preciousIt was the first day back in Chicago, and I am enthusiastically typing away on the computer to help Robert get caught up on things that had built up over Christmas break. Forgetting to save a document on a Mac computer isn’t a very good thing. For no reason at all the program quits, and because the automatic saving feature isn’t turned on, I loose well over an hour of work. It was an act of the will (and after a good pep talk from Robert) before I am able to rejoice in the Lord for all things. I now have a good testimony to give at the Mission tomorrow: destruction comes unexpectedly and salvation in Jesus Christ is as simple as “Command + S”.

The buck about to cross the pathI stand frozen in my tracks as a wary, nice sized doe crosses the forest path a few yards in front of me. The light, winter breeze complements the bubbling sounds coming from the steam in the valley below. Two more does and, finally, a hefty 8-point buck, make their way across the path. My camera, which a lens unfortunately too short to be of any use at the moment, is at my side. To be in this situation smack in the middle a huge city, is truly amazing; but thanks to the network of Forest Preserves in the Chicago suburbs, a circumstance like this is not as uncommon as you might think. When I followed God’s direction to come and work with IBLP, I surrendered all expectations to pursue my love for nature photography. Finding this out was an unexpected blessing.

God leads His dear children alongWhat do these three stories have in common? For one thing, they are not all every-day occurrences (or, at least, not normally). But they have also proven to me the goodness of God and His complete ability to take care of the things I surrender to Him. God is in control. I surrendered my life to Christ and He has protected me and allowed me to live another day. I surrendered my right to get frustrated over a crashed computer, and God used that problem to creatively share the gospel with the lost. I surrendered my passion for photography, and God  has unexpectedly opened doors to allow me to keep pursuing it. God, in His great goodness and sovereignty, takes good care of what you give Him.


  1. Peter O. January 15, 2008 at 11:19 am #

    Nice pictures! Hey, are you going to be coming down for the Ritchie’s wedding?

  2. Joshua January 15, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    What a combination! Praise the Lord that you are aware of His hand and ever near presence in your life. He is actively working on our behalf. Thank you for the encouragement to see things from His perspective!

  3. Donald January 16, 2008 at 5:25 pm #

    Very captivating James. It reminds me of what Dad says about the difference between our way and God’s way: the outcome is superficially the same but what’s missing when we go our own safe, normal way is the testimony–the stories that bring God the glory. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9).

  4. Daniel January 18, 2008 at 3:32 pm #

    What a testimony, James! And great pictures, too. It is especially meaningful when each one is not just an excellent picture but also directly related to the point you are trying to make.

    By the way, why does that watch look so familiar? I don’t have a green shirt like that do I?

    Oh yes, of course! My new Christmas dress shirt. I don’t remember you taking that one.

  5. Esther January 18, 2008 at 4:05 pm #

    What a nice buck! What a blessing that God brought it by so you could get such a great picture! The lighting on the path is so beautiful. It makes me just want to be right there.

  6. chad January 19, 2008 at 7:49 am #

    Great testimony and captivating way of presenting it. God bless you James as you serve.
    Chad Isa. 43:10

  7. Don and Donna January 20, 2008 at 6:07 pm #

    God is Great, and God is Good.
    We love and appreciate you.

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