For some reason, people seem to be naturally interested in near-death stories. Stories of a teenager who nearly drowns, or the wife who is beaten and left for dead, all catch our interest. Most of us have our own story to tell as well. Some are more dramatic than others.
As we hear these stories we are reminded of the fragile condition of human life. We are always a few minutes from death. A question that may play through the thoughts of some is, “Does God care whether I continue to live or not?” If God does care, does He do anything to help preserve or protect our lives? Does He intervene in times of emergency? Was it chance, fate or God’s intervention that kept you from losing your life in your near death experience? Is there any way you can know for sure if God was involved?
What part does prayer have in this matter? If we are not protected from harm is it because we did not pray or did not exercise faith in God for our protection? Is wearing the amulet of a favorite patron saint your Kevlar vest? Does a cross on the wall in your home, a picture of Christ over your fireplace, a Bible under your pillow, or a saintly statue in your lawn give you addition coverage in your “divine protection policy”?
If God protects people, does He do it only for His own purposes? Does He protect some more than others? Can you curry His favor and expect additional consideration regarding your safety? Does He protect both the righteous and unrighteous?
A person’s theological bias will slant his/her thinking regarding this matter. Some will say that God has our lives charted from beginning to end. We are on a set course and no event in life will be allowed to alter that course. Others emphasize that God’s ultimate will is that all will be saved but that He allows us complete freedom of will in the choices we make. These choices will at times alter the direction our lives take and thus lead us down dangerous, drastic, or even damning paths.
As we look at the news articles for this lesson, we will read of three different instances where people should have died because of the accidents in which they were involved. Instead, they lived to tell their story. As we discuss the passages of Scripture in this lesson it will be our design to try to understand God’s part concerning the lives of people.