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In God’s Hands

In God’s Hands

MARCH 5, 2024

/ Articles / In God’s Hands

I passed into the stairwell at the end of the first-floor hallway and headed to the door that would take me outside to where the busses were parked with their engines idling, waiting for their afternoon passengers.

As I entered the stairwell, I noticed someone under the stairs, almost like he was hiding. I remember thinking that that was strange.

Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the person jump out of the shadows and swing what looked like a stick. I felt something, not a pain, more like intense pressure on the back of my head. I tried to turn in the direction of the fellow who had hit me, but as I did, my vision blurred, and then, nothing.

The next thing I was aware of was being in a bed with silver rails on either side. My head hurt, and I had to squint because of a bright fluorescent light. Something was beeping. I realized that there was a blood pressure cuff on my arm. Then I heard someone talking.

I looked up and saw a doctor talking to my parents. I heard him say that I was lucky that I was alive. “That kind of a beating could have killed him.”

I had been hit in the back of the head with a pipe and went down to the floor, unconscious. Then, three boys kicked me repeatedly in the face and torso. I had a concussion, a broken nose, broken ribs, and was blind in one eye.

The boys, it turned out, had been expelled from the school the week before and had decided to return and express their displeasure by attacking someone. I happened to come along at just the right (or wrong) time.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks the question, “How does Christ execute the office of king?”

The answer is that he “executes the office of king in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.”

Isaiah 33:22 says, “…the LORD is our king and it is he who save us.” Psalm 34:7 says, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

Jesus is not only a Savior who rescues us from sin and gives us eternal life. He is also a King who watches over us and protects us.

That does not mean that we will never have trouble or hurt. But it does mean that those who would seek to harm us can never go any further than God allows.  

There was a man who was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” He loved the Lord and served him. He was known as “the greatest man among all the peoples of the East.” His name was Job (Job 1:1-3).

Satan wanted to prove that Job did not really love God. He wanted to show that the only reason that Job served the Lord was because of the things God gave him. If Satan could prove that the “greatest man in the East” did not really love God for himself but only loved him for what he could get from God, then that would show that no one really loved God.  

“Take away all the things you’ve given him,” Satan said to God, “and he’ll curse you.” But God knew otherwise. He knew that Job’s love for him was real. So, he let Satan conduct his test, knowing that it was Satan who would fail.

But Satan could do nothing against Job without God’s permission.

First, God said, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger” (Job 1:12).

Satan took Job’s children from him, and he took all of his wealth, but Job continued to love the Lord.

Satan came back to God and said, “Strike his flesh and his bones, then he will curse you to your face” (Job 2:5).

“Very well,” said God, “he is in your hands, but you must spare his life” (Job 2:6).

As much as he may have wanted to, Satan could not kill Job. He could only go as far as God allowed him. Even in the midst of such terrible trials, God protected Job.

In the end, Job did not turn away from God. He did question and complain about what he was going through. But his questions and complaints were always directed to God. He did not turn away and complain about God to others. He remained connected to God throughout his ordeal.

It was Satan who failed. He could not induce Job to turn away from the God he loved and served. And when the trial was over, God restored to Job double everything he’d lost.

Christ is our king. We can trust him to rule us and to protect us from all of his and our enemies. Even when our enemies seek to harm us, they can never go any further than God allows.

The three boys who attacked me were identified and arrested. When they went to trial for their assault on me, only two of my assailants were there. My father asked the assistant state’s attorney why the third attacker was absent. He was the one who had hit me with the pipe.

While he was out on bail awaiting trial for his assault on me, he had hit someone else in the head with a pipe. That person had been killed. He was in the county jail awaiting a trial for murder.

When the three had attacked me, was it their intent to kill me? I don’t know. What I do

know without any doubt is that even if they had attacked me with murderous intent, they could not take my life from me. My life was in God’s hands.

Barry Smith

Barry Smith

Barry’s aim is to prepare the Church to minister well in prisons so that prisoners are prepared to minister well in the Church. This is accomplished through service in complementary […]

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