I know my mother has better things to do at work than to forward generic Christian chain mails to everyone in her address book…my problem is I can’t convince her of that. And so, every day, I receive a treasure trove of faith-promoting Christian stories that make me — a nonbeliever — cringe.
And while I ranted on my blog about how offensive I found various parts of one recently received email…I realized too that I found a strange comfort in realizing that it was just a generic Christian chain mail. This served to be one of the times when I was deeply thankful that we Mormons are a peculiar people — I realized that some of the ‘pop’ doctrines espoused in this email would be uncharacteristic for an LDS email. So, I wondered…what if we could deconstruct Christian chain mail and come up with LDS orthodox counterpoints?
So, the email, and some points to lead our discussion after the break!
A man from Norfolk , VA called a local radio station to share this on Sept 11th, 2003, TWO YEARS AFTER THE TRAGEDIES OF 9/11/2001. His name was Robert Matthews. These are his words:
A few weeks before Sept. 11th, my wife and I found out we were going to have our first child.. She planned a trip out to California to visit her sister. On our way to the airport, we prayed that God would grant my wife a safe trip and be with her. Shortly after I said ‘amen,’ we both heard a loud pop and the car shook violently. We had blown out a tire. I replaced the tire as quickly as I could, but we still missed her flight. both very upset, we drove home..
I received a call from my father who was retired NYFD. He asked what my wife’s flight number was, but I explained that we missed the flight.
My father informed me that her flight was the one that crashed into the southern tower. I was too shocked to speak. My father also had more news for me; he was going to help. ‘This is not something I can’t just sit by for; I have to do something.’
I was concerned for his safety, of course, but more because he had never given his life to Christ. After a brief debate, I knew his mind was made up. Before he got off of the phone, he said, ‘take good care of my grandchild. Those were the last words I ever heard my father say; he died while helping in the rescue effort.
My joy that my prayer of safety for my wife had been answered quickly became anger. I was angry at God, at my father, and at myself. I had gone for nearly two years blaming God for taking my father away. My son would never know his grandfather, my father had never accepted Christ, and I never got to say good-bye.
Then something happened. About two months ago, I was sitting at home with my wife and my son, when there was a knock on the door. I looked at my wife, but I could tell she wasn’t expecting anyone. I opened the door to a couple with a small child.
The man looked at me and asked if my father’s name was Jake Matthews. I told him it was. He quickly grabbed my hand and said, ‘I never got the chance to meet your father, but it is an honor to meet his son.’
He explained to me that his wife had worked in the World Trade Center and had been caught inside after the attack. She was pregnant and had been caught under debris. He then explained that my father had been the one to find his wife and free her. My eyes welled up with tears as I thought of my father giving his life for people like this. He then said, ‘there is something else you need to know.’
His wife then told me that as my father worked to free her, she talked to him and led him to Christ. I began sobbing at the news.
Now I know that when I get to Heaven, my father will be standing beside Jesus to welcome me, and that this family would be able to thank him themselves .
…This story should help us to realize this: God is always in control.
We may not see the reason behind things, and we may never know this side of heaven, but God is ALWAYS in control.
Please take time to share this amazing story. You may never know the impact it may have on someone.. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures Forever. Psalm 136:1
May God bless you, and your family,
So, some of my possible points of discussion:
- What would be official answers about the disturbing implications of predistination in such situations. How does free will play a role, and how would miracles or other intervening acts play out?
- How would LDS doctrines about baptisms by proxy and the nature of the afterlife play into our concerns about the mortal states of our relatives’ salvations?
- What does it mean that “God is in control” if it is a different interpretation than this email’s?
- The line: “God doesn’t call the qualified; God qualifies the called” — how does it mesh with LDS teachings about fore-ordination, or the process of ordination and setting apart?