First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blessings and Tragedy



Lots of bad things going on lately. The reactors in Japan are still leaking radiation. Many victims of the earthquake and tsunami have not been found, their families homeless. Libya is such a mess I don’t like reading about it. Our soldiers spread around the world in various wars and we at home keep wondering when it will all end.

So I pulled out this essay I wrote in 2006. It still seems very relevant today. The main character of my story continues to lead the Boy Scout troop. Slowly, doctors have repaired much of the damage from the car accident. He looks better, and is more functional. He has many more surgeries to go, but he is still very positive.


When I first met our Scout Leader, I couldn’t look directly at him. He had been burned from head to toe in a car accident. His face was mauled and his left arm was not functional. It took me several months to get over the willies whenever I saw him. Every once in a while he has an operation to correct something. He needs a lot of correcting. He has a bump on his forehead that he covers with a hat. He must have hit his head on the steering wheel. He took his hat off the other day… all I can say is I hope the doctor’s can help him.

I’m telling you this to show you how much suffering our Scout Leader has been through. And how much more suffering he has yet to face. But he is amazing. He comes to Boy Scout meetings, which is where I met him, and volunteers to help the boys with their badges. He was just up at Boy Scout summer camp chaperoning last week. He never complains and he is never down. If I were in his shoes I would be paralyzed with depression. But he is living his life. The tragedy that occurred hasn’t stopped him from doing the important things. And one of those things is helping the boys at his old scout troop. He is amazing.

And do you know why I say he is amazing? Because this 20 year old man is surely blessed. He is blessed because he is living a blessed life in the midst of tragedy. Now many people will disagree with that statement because most of us understand blessings as; health, wealth, and a long life. But there are many people who have all of those and don’t live a blessed life. I remember reading a quote from J. Paul Getty that said how miserable his life was. He had reasonably good health, lived a long time, and was fabulously wealthy, but he said he was never happy. And when I read about his family troubles, I could see why. His bio is not a life of blessing.

Job says this in the midst of terrible suffering: I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God (Job 19:25-29). Even in the face of disaster, Job knows that God is with him. The trials of life prod us to look into the light which is already shining within our hearts. I believe our Scout Leader has found the blessing within, because he is a blessing to those around him. Others have not looked and so do not find this blessing despite health, wealth, and long life.

I pray for our Scout Leader regularly. I pray he will be healed. It will take a miracle. But I think a miracle has already happened, it’s just not so obvious. It’s the miracle of finding the blessings of God and sharing what you have found with others.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill Whitehead

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