A Paradox, Bible-style

27 Nov

You know how the Bible has those paradoxes that unbelievers call contradictions?  Things that seem to not be able to both be true at the same time . . . except they are?

I saw one in action three weeks ago.  I lived it.  I then made a Sunday school lesson out of it.

The Bible says, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

It also says, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee; the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain . . .”  (Psalm 76:10)

So . . . how can those both be true?  

Let’s pick up my story at my hotel three weeks ago, as I checked out in the morning before an all-night flight from San Diego to Norfolk, Virginia (my home).

I decided to go to the San Diego Art Museum in Balboa Park to while away the time before my flight.  I had plenty of time after that to turn in my rental car and check in for my flight.  

I made a mental note, while navigating to Balboa Park, that I would need to look up a gas station on the way to the airport.  San Diego is so compact that I could get from my hotel to Balboa Park in less than ten minutes, then get from the park to the airport in less than ten minutes as well.  But San Diego is also old and doesn’t have many chain stores or gas stations just standing around–at least I saw very few in my two weeks there, going most places on the I-5. There  were not many chains located within a few blocks of my exits from I-5.

So, while at lunch in Balboa Park, I found a gas station on Google, as I looked up my directions to the airport.  Problem is, when I drove those directions, I never saw the station.  Either it was not there anymore or it was one block off of the beaten path or . . . I just never saw it.  

So it was that I ended up at the turn for where I had to drop off the rental car with . . . half a tank of gas.  And I knew my company would be furious if I turned in a half-full car.  That is expensive!

I decided to keep going, straight ahead, on the shore drive that seemed to run through the airport.  Our Norfolk airport is a deadend, but this one did not appear to be.  There were exits in every direction to various airport facilities, but the road itself kept going on.  

It was about three in the afternoon and it was stop and start traffic.  Especially with so many of us out-of-towners driving in that area.  

I later found out it was the hour that many Marines were checking into nearby hotels for the Marine Corps Ball that night.  

The young lady who was behind me in traffic may have been a Marine anxious to get to her hotel.  All I know is that I suddenly noticed she seemed to be holding me responsible for the entire traffic pattern in that area.  

I was in the right lane, but she was riding my bumper, about six inches away.  I stayed in the lane (didn’t want to switch lanes at the same moment she did) but tried speeding up, slowing down, pulling to the left of the lane, pulling to the right.  Nothing deterred her.  She was staying right on my bumper no matter what I did.  She even did that when the passing lane was open.  When all three passing lanes were open . .. 

I was becoming rather afraid of what might happen at her hand when I noticed we had entered Point Loma, the area where another Navy base is located.

In desperation, I decided to take the first right, to try to shake her off.

It worked!  I also saw a gas station, up on the right.

As I pulled into the station, a women popped out of a booth, asking for my ID.  It seems I was at the Point Loma Navy Exchange gas station.  Off-base.

Hurrah, I could fill up and the gas would be cheap(er).  

I looked skyward and asked, “How did You do that, Lord?”  And then I remembered that even the wrath of man praises Him!  And the remainder of wrath He restrains (I didn’t get hit, after all . . .).

See how that works?  From the young lady’s perspective, the wrath of man (woman) worked not the righteousness of God.  She did not glorify God, blowing her top like that.

But from God’s perspective, and mine, He used her wrath to get me to the gas station where I was supposed to fuel the car!!

Amazing God!!!

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