Bubba and Junior were out hunting when they came across a bear so big they dropped their rifles and ran for cover. Junior climbed a tree while Bubba took shelter in a nearby cave. The bear sat down between the tree and the cave. Suddenly Bubba came sprinting out, and in the process nearly ran headlong into the waiting bear. He gave a small cry of fright, hesitated slightly, and then ran back into the cave. Moments later he came running out again only to turn and bolt back into the cave. When he emerged for the third time his companion in the tree called out, “Bubba, are you crazy? Stay in the cave till he leaves!” “Can’t,” panted Bubba, “there’s a bear in there too.”
I have to tell you I’ve had days when my choices were about as good as poor Bubba’s. Maybe you have to. We dance between bad and worse, and nothing we do seems to make much difference.
Maybe you are there right now. Life could be described as a delicate balancing act between doom and disaster. Why does God allow us to be in those situations? Maybe you’re asking that right now.
I was trapped between the bears a few years back when I stumbled across an interview with Billy Graham.
Larry King had the great old sage as a guest on his show. He asked Billy about his health. Dr. Graham had recently fallen in a shower in Monte Carlo, and then shortly after that he had another bad spill in Canada. It was sadly apparent that age was dragging down this old lion.
“Were you scared?” Larry King asked.
“No,” Billy replied without hesitation, “I believe it is all a part of His marvelous plan and so He must have some purpose for it.”
King pressed him, “If you were on an airplane going down would you be afraid?”
Dr. Graham replied, “I would be afraid of the uncertainty, but not of death. I’m not afraid to die. I believe that when I die I will go to what the Bible calls heaven.”
“You have no doubt?”
Clearly, Larry King was having trouble believing anyone could live with that sort of assurance. Everyone fears death. Don’t they? Billy didn’t seem to.
I watched and wondered how Larry’s health had been. He was no spring chicken when this interview took place. Had Larry been wrestling with his own mortality? Was he trying to cope with his own fears?
After the death talk, Larry King tried to press Dr. Graham with some tough questions like: “If God controls everything . . .”
You could almost feel Billy read His mind as he finished the sentence, “…then why do bad things happen? I don’t know. That Bomber in Oklahoma City … I don’t know why God would allow that.”
“What about tornadoes?”
Graham responded, “I sometimes wonder who controls the weather. At a crusade we were praying that it wouldn’t rain and there came a deluge. Why would God do that?”
Larry King with typical cynicism asked, “You don’t know why it rained?”
“No, but that’s one of those questions I will ask when I get there.”
Going into commercial Larry King quipped, “We’re talking to Rev. Billy Graham, He doesn’t know it all but he does know one thing.”
I thought about that for a long time. Life fills up with questions, doesn’t it? And questions seldom come with answers.
I remember one time when Amy and I were barely making financial ends meet. We had a low paying youth job and two young babies. Then the old clothes dryer went out. I managed to secure a second hand dryer from a classified for $75 and told Amy, “We’ll be all right if nothing else breaks.” That night our new old dryer blew up.
I’m not going to lie; I was pretty frustrated with God. “Can’t I count on you for a dryer! Why’d you let this happen?”
You know, he never told me.
I eventually learned that there are a lot of things I’ll never know. I just need to know one thing, God has a plan for my life and for my eternity.
I don’t know it all, but I know that nothing in this life is beyond his control. He might not always explain himself, but I can live with that certainty. I don’t know a lot, but I know that no matter what I face in this life God has something better for for me after I take my last breath.
Listen carefully to the words of the old apostle John, “These things have I written that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
You don’t have to know it all; just be sure you know that one thing.