By Reverend J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

Jeremiah 29: 11-13 AMP
“11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

‭‭”We repeat, TWA Flight 800 has crashed. There are no survivors!” These chilling words were broadcasted 25 years ago today (July 17). Anyone who heard those words on that day were stunned, dismayed, and saddened by the sheer number of people who lost their lives in that crash. Some even remember where they were when they heard the news. I am one of those people. ‬‬‬‬

Sitting in my living room with a milk crate to my left that contained all of the personal belongings I had in my office, from where I had just been terminated. I had been in my house for maybe 20 minutes, adjusting to and going over the things in my mind that I thought led up to my being dismissed. I remember thinking, I had never gotten a bad evaluation. My team was doing great. My punctuality and attendance was unblemished, yet here I was, sitting on my couch at 8:30 pm beginning to have a pity-party. “This was not right!” “Why me?” I recall my conversation with God; “Lord, You told me to close my financial service office and follow you. You opened the door for me to come to this agency which I did. And now, I have to tell my wife, who is out of town, that I no longer have a job.”

Then I remember taking a deep breath and turning on the television. That’s when I heard those chilling words, “TWA Flight 800 has crashed. There are no survivors.” I remember looking up and saying distinctly, “Lord, I’m Sorry! Please forgive me!” I was not on TWA Flight 800! I lost my job, not my life. I am still alive! Lord, what do you want me to do now?”

Sometimes, getting a proper perspective is all that’s needed to get back on the right track. When I realized that the Lord had His hand of protection around me, I could see that the end of that employment was not the end of the Lord’s work in my life. There were many things He had planned for me that did not include working at that specific job. As Jeremiah discovered, the Lord’s thoughts, His plans, are for our peace and well-being, not disaster or calamity. Our responsibility is to seek the Lord, to call on Him, and get to know Him. It is right there that we must allow Him to order our steps, guide our lives, and prepare us for bigger and better things. It is what we do when we get a proper perspective.

By the way, for those of you wondering why tragedies such as TWA Flight 800 happens, the Bible says “Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing” (James 1:3-4 AMP). That’s the proper perspective.

God Bless!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; and creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen on Matters of Faith on Facebook LIVE.

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