Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed (Joshua 23:14).
Joshua had been leading the Israelites into battle for 28 years. Army by army, kingdom by kingdom, they took over the land God had promised them. Honestly, I didn’t find it a very exciting or suspenseful storyline because the outcome was so predictable. When God’s people followed his divine plan, they were successful. When they did not, they were defeated. As we come to the end of Joshua’s life in chapter 23, he reminds the Israelites about the source of their help and why the outcome had been so certain. Did you catch it? Verse 14 ends with such a powerful statement of God’s faithfulness and perfect provision – …not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
Today, July 16, I celebrate God’s incredible faithfulness to me and my family. The day started with my annual call of apology to my brother Darrin York. It went something like this, “I’m sorry I wrecked your car, I’m sorry I ruined your vacation, I’m sorry I gave you nightmares, but I sure am glad I’m alive to say I’m sorry. I love you D!”
Seventeen years ago today I suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that probably should have claimed my life. My brother was the only witness, or at least the only one awake, as my sister-in-law Jessica York was asleep in the backseat. With the help of many doctors and therapists, I came out of a coma and eventually regained my ability to walk and talk. Thanks to the support of family and dear friends, my recovery took less time and was more complete than anyone ever thought possible. The road wasn’t always easy, but while most survivors of a brain injury this severe live with some kind of long-term impairment, I have had the luxury of living a relatively ordinary life since that time.
Why? There is no other explanation than the prayers of fellow Christ followers and God’s incredible faithfulness. Hundreds of people from across the United States prayed for me and my family during that time. In fact, at the grocery store last summer I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. He had attended church with my family back when I was a kid. After introducing myself, he looked at me and paused for a second. He went on to say, “you know Jennifer, I thought about you just the other day. I wondered what happened to you after your bad accident. Then I realized it didn’t do any good to just think about you, so I stopped and prayed for you.” I paused. After all these years, God’s people are still praying. Wow.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with Thee. All I have needed Thy hand has provided, great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me (Thomas Obediah Chisholm (1866-1960), arrangement by Chris Rice, 2006).