Friday, February 18, 2005

Justin and Jordan

This morning I took the round-about way to school so I could stop in on the shiny new Starbucks on Bakerview. It's a really nice place by comparison to the other locations and since it's right next to the freeway, I can still dash over to Western in short order...

The road I like to take to that area of town is called Northwest and meets up with Wiser Lake, where I live. Northwest ends up running south, parallel to the Guide (a state highway), and finally runs out of room somewhere in Bellingham. I like that route because it's calmer, it's got some pristine views further north and there's less traffic.

But today, as I was about to hit Ferndale, I noticed a sign surrounded by yellow ribbons, up on a hedge in front of a house, that said, "Welcome Home Justin!" I could just feel the joy shining from that house as I drove past. It helped that it was a bright, sunny morning and I was not seriously worried about anything. It struck me though, as I passed it how wonderful it must feel to be home in Whatcom County after what must have been a deployment overseas. How fortunate Justin must feel, even if his time back is only temporary.

I left campus about 3 p.m.

It was the usual route home, nothing much on my mind but the music and perhaps thoughts about when to get the next bunch of reading done. There's no school on Monday, of course, but I will still be busy preparing for the student council meeting on the 22nd (btw, that's also my 21st birthday). No matter though, life is normal... Then I noticed a little cross set up on the side of the road. As I passed I noticed it was a memorial, I assume to someone killed in a car accident, to someone named Jordan.

Immediately my mind flew back to the other memorial I had seen today and the irony of it all.

One person is fighting for his country and making it safely home to the family he loves. The other person seemed to be busy with his life--his harmless and simple life, traveling by car as we always do--but losing his life in the process.

I could go on about the number of deaths on American roads being higher than the death toll in Iraq...but that is not what struck me. What hit me was the decisive sovereignty of God so vivid on display. How carefree we live out our day-to-day affairs and then have the gall to be surprised when a soldier makes it home safely. Statistics being on my side, I shouldn't have to make this over-riding point: that any given situation we find ourselves in does not make us any more likely to die. On the contrary, it is only in a world of randomness and chance that we can possibly presume to think our short time here can be prolonged or shortened by our own actions. Practically speaking, I am not endorsing carelessness--Proverbs is clear: "he who is careless of his ways will die."

Still, there is nothing more profound than having this brought so vividly home to the mind and heart: God's ultimate control and wisdom are irrevocable; I am here by His bidding and at His bidding will I also leave in due time. Whether I am Jordan or Justin doesn't make any difference to Him.
<< Home 3 Comments:
Blogger Patty-Jo said...

Hi Mark. Great post. I love the views from Northwest too. I've been wanting to check out the Starbucks, I've never been to one. The parking lot has been full since the day they opened! At first I thought maybe they parked a bunch of rentals in the parking lot, so they would look popular! I usually stop at Cruisin Coffee, and keep on driving, but I'm looking forward to a new experience!

10:34 PM, February 19, 2005  
Blogger Rebekah said...

I recently have been talking with someone who is questioning God for not saving a loved one before their death. Its so hard to deal with someone like this--what can you say to them that they haven't already heard? But its also very refreshing to read a post like this--one that manifests the soveriegnty of God and delights in His perfect plan, whatever the circumstances.

4:23 PM, February 20, 2005  
Blogger Mark R said...

Yeah, I'm a "sit down to drink and read" kind of guy. I like Cruisin but don't find myself there very often.

Thanks for the perspective. I sometimes sit and try to get a grip on my own struggles and lose perspective on what other's are often called to go through. I ought to be ready to accept anything

6:46 PM, February 20, 2005  

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