One of my favorite illustrations came back to haunt me the other day. Let me first give the illustration and then I’ll show how it was used to poke a little fun at ol' Dad.
I have been rather proud of the fact that, as near as we can determine, the Rev. John Witherspoon, Presbyterian Pastor and signer of the Declaration of Independence, is a 1st cousin, 7 times removed, of my wife.
Here’s the illustration:
One incident in the life of Dr. John Witherspoon (a signer of the Declaration of Independence and president of what later became Princeton University) may offer some insight into the matter of God’s providence and care. A neighbor of Dr. Witherspoon burst into his study one day and excitedly said, "You must join me in giving thanks to God for his providence in saving my life. As I was driving, the horse ran away and the buggy was smashed to pieces on the rocks, but I escaped unharmed." The college president replied, "Why, I can tell you a far more remarkable providence than that. I have driven over that road hundreds of times. My horse never ran away, my buggy never was smashed, I was never hurt. God’s providence has been for me even more remarkable than it has been for you."
Now, my daughter, who is very much prone to excitement, much like Dr. Witherspoon’s neighbor, is always telling me about how the grace of God has been worked out in her life in various ways or in the life of someone she dearly loves. She truly loves to share these wonderful stories with me of God’s marvelous grace. Now here lately, each time she tells me one of these tragic stories and how God’s grace and providence has been manifested in the midst of great tribulation, I have facetiously adapted the Witherspoon story above and told her that the tradgedy described never happened to me...so that God’s grace was manifested even more in my non-event.
Now here’s how my facetiousness came back to bite me. For the last month my entire family, my son and his wife and three children, my daughter and her child, and my wife have all either had the H1N1 flu bug or some seasonal variant. Whichever it was, each had their own story of just how cruel this little bug treated them. I was rather proud, even to the point of boasting, that this little bugger completely by-passed me. Yes, that is until about a week or so ago. I awoke in the middle of the night feeling rather weakly and went to the other end of our house for a cold drink of water. While there, a sudden fever came over me and in the space of about 30 seconds my temperature must have gone up five degrees. I broke out in a cold sweat and attempted to return to the bedroom. On the way, I lost consciousness and fell on the hardwood floor where I awoke in a pool of blood near my head. I had, evidently, first collapsed to my knees and then fell forward and hit my head above my right eye causng a sizeable cut. After getting my wife’s attention we treated and bandaged the cut and from there I went through the usual and customary effects of this very nasty flu bug.
The next day I was describing to my daughter how the grace and providence of God during my collapse had spared me of what could have easily been two lost front teeth..or even a broken nose or something worse had I fallen just slightly differently than I had. She said to me, "Dad, I’ve got an even more remarkable story about the grace and providence of God.....that’s never happened to me." All I could say was, "Touché"