Emergency in the Jura Mountains


Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

I was just twenty-one and was studying theology in a seminary situated in the Jura Mountains of France, close to the beautiful city of Geneva, Switzerland. As a student, one of my assignments was to organize the collection of money for the needy in Africa by canvassing all of the towns in the Jura region.

I have to admit, I wasn't overly enthused by this assignment. Going door to door and asking for money sounded a lot like begging to me. How could I, in good conscience, organize a drive of "beggars"? And if I organized the drive, that would also mean that I would have to participate . . . Ugh! However, the more teams of students I could convince to participate, the fewer doors I would personally have to knock on, so I pasted a smile on my face and set out.

To my amazement (and joy!), more than fifty teams joined my cause on that sunny day in May. With this many teams, we would be able to cover most of the towns in the Jura region in France in no time. The teams were thoroughly prepared and even seemed eager to get started, so I quickly assigned two teams to each car and sent them to their designated towns. As I stepped into my friend's car with my partner, however, my heart was racing. What had I done? What was I doing? Why was I even here? But I had to set a good example, so as my partner and I headed for our first apartment complex, I pasted a broad smile on my face. Naturally, the first door was the hardest to knock on, but after a while, even I got into it. I even started to LIKE this organized "begging"!

All too soon it was 4:00 p.m., time to head back to the seminary. I had to be back before the other teams, as it was my responsibility to collect the money and thank the hapless participants. As my friend drove his car back through the mountains towards the school, I happened to notice that this narrow, winding road didn't have very many turnouts. In fact, in most places, there wasn't even enough room on the shoulder of the road to pull off, if ever we needed to do so! Not a very good place to have a breakdown, I thought, but I decided not to worry about it. After all, there were still many things that I was responsible for doing once we were back at the seminary. It was hardly likely that we would have a breakdown. I would be much better off spending my time planning just how to accomplish all that I still needed to accomplish that day!

All of a sudden we heard a terrifying noise, and then the car seemed to break apart! In a matter of seconds, the front, right side was considerably lower than the rest of the car. But to our amazement, just beside us was a turnout! As I stared out the window, I wondered. We hadn't seen one of these for many kilometers, yet right when we needed one, there it was!

The driver, a former mechanic, jumped out of the car and opened the hood. "Oh my God!" he exclaimed, and his face turned the palest color you've ever seen. "You won't believe this guys! The axle that connects the right front wheel is broken! We should have been in the ravine! What a miracle!"

Now it was OUR turn to pale. As we each looked under the hood, we found it exactly as he had said: the right front axle was in two pieces! No way could we have driven another ten meters in such a condition! God had really saved our lives!

But now I had a new worry. I had to be back at the seminary by 5:30! With the axle broken, I would never make it!

"Why don't we hitchhike?" suggested my partner.

"Hitchhike!" I exclaimed. "Isn't that dangerous?"

But other than walking (which probably would have taken at least two days!), we had no other choice, so we plastered fake smiles on our faces and polished our thumbs to wave them in front of the next unfortunate vehicle to pass our way. We didn't even have to wait five minutes before a truck stopped, and we arrived safely, on time, at the seminary.

Finding a turnout where there aren't any, right where we needed one, staying on the road with a broken axle, catching a ride so quickly back to the seminary . . . Were we just lucky? Was it all coincidence?

Hardly. It was simply the result of the fact that God was taking care of us! But then, why wouldn't He take care of us? He sent His only Son to die for us, didn't He? And He has an abundant life planned for each of us, a life that will flourish during all of eternity. Did we need to worry? No, we didn't! God had it all under control!

What about the problems you face today, friend? Do you need to worry about them? Of course not. Why? Because the things we worry about rarely ever become reality, and even if they do, God is right there to carry us through the worst circumstances. So instead of worrying, try trusting the One who will do everything to take care of us!

Are you planning a trip through the mountains? Are there no turnouts on the side of the road? Don't worry! God is in charge!

Rob Chaffart

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