I’ll never forget that night. My brother (who was 18 at the time) stumbled into the road and was hit by a truck. He was drunk at the time after a wild night. From that time on, Steve did not have full motion of his left arm. I remember him telling me that he prayed several times, asking God to heal him. The healing never came. I sensed his bitterness and resentment toward God…almost blaming Him for what happened. Make no mistake. God is not obligated to answer all our prayers. Consider Moses. After a serious moral lapse where he dishonored God, he prayed several times that he might still go into the Promised Land. The answer was no (even though God allowed him to see it). Here is what God told Moses just before his death: “And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel” (Deuteronomy 32:50-52). There’s something important we need to understand. God is a merciful and forgiving God, but He doesn’t always cancel all consequences. I often wonder if God leaves some consequences to remind us to be careful going forward in how we live. The issue with my brother’s arm was a constant reminder that sinful behavior needs to be avoided at all costs. He could have easily lost his life…not just some use in his arm! I remember another conversation I had with a man who loved the Lord and wanted to serve him in the church I pastored. Several years earlier he committed a sexual sin with an underaged girl. I tried to encourage him that God forgives us of all sins, but sometimes our choices to sin close certain doors for the future. He could still love God and be involved in certain areas, but his sex-offender status required us to be extremely careful of how we allowed him access to serve others. As the old expression says, “It is what it is.” God can forgive all sin, but not all sin is forgotten by people or the law. Let’s be careful how we live, always walking in the love and fear of God. There are consequences!
Pastor Mark Boucher