Trials and Trails.

I haven’t been sleeping so well lately.  It seems my body wants to wake up between 4 and 5AM every morning, despite what time I go to sleep, and (even more frustrating) despite what time I have to get up!

Last night was, yet again, one of those nights.  I was awake up until just after midnight.  I do have to plead guilty to being fascinated (well, maybe ‘moved’ is a better term) by the story of Horatio Spafford.  You know, the guy who wrote “It Is Well With My Soul.”  No?  Well, Wikipedia does a good job illustrating his story.  Turns out, despite the impeccable amount of suffering this man endured, his faithfulness to our Creator prolonged!  Immediately, I was reminded of the story of Job.  But, rather than recite that story, let’s consider this truth:

God should be able to expect each and every one of us to be willing to endure the trials and tribulations of Job.  Why?  Because, as Job indicated, his joy comes from the Lord, alone and fully.

Last night, after I awoke at 4AM, I went downstairs for a glass of water.  Just after I got back to my bed I heard what sounded like a loud ATV or motorcycle.  Immediately, I thought, “who in their right mind would be starting a four-wheeler or a motorcycle at this hour?”  A minute later I heard the vehicle stall, then start again, then accelerate — that’s when it sounded waaay too familiar!  It was mine!

I dashed for the door in nothing more than sweatpants, and when I arrived at the garage, I found the door open wide and the ATV…gone.

Chris's ride

I was so frantic I had difficulty even dialing 9-1-1!  I couldn’t believe it!  For sake of new readers, let me apply some back-story:

In the summer of 2008, after arriving to the Big Sky, my brother, Chris Meccia, went to the local Yamaha dealership of Kalispell, Montana and left with a sweet 2008 Yamaha Raptor 700R Special Edition.  This quad was unreal!  I had never ridden anything like it – fast, agile, slick!  It was the mechanized epitome of my younger brother!

Over the summer, that vehicle brought him much joy as he rode throughout the mountains and up and down the Montana highways!  However, later that year on November 5, I received a phone-call from my dad around 10AM.  He had been trying to resuscitate Chris for some time now.  I’ll never let go of the horror in his voice as he informed me that Chris had passed.

It took some time for all of us to get over his passing, but, immediately we found comfort in knowing that our Lord had taken him home.  Greg Laurie’s book, “Hope for Hurting Hearts,” personally, was just that…a big help.  In 2010 I found the strength to honor the life and enthusiasm of my brother and decided to embark on a “memorial ride” across the entire state.  So I did.

Ride With Wings was born!

Leaving on his birthday, May 28, I then took one-week to return, but during the journey touched three US State borders, the Canadian border, saw epic scenery and wildlife — oh, and conquered over 1,200 miles enduring every form of precipitation!  It was epic!!

While I and my family are at peace with Chris’s passing, we do miss him.  And, that red and white Raptor has become a “family member.”  Simply seeing it brings us to tears.  Mostly tears of joy.  I even parked the Raptor at my wedding recently as if to “invite Chris” to witness that wonderful day in my life.  Even for my children, who barely had the chance to know him, knew that the ATV represented Chris and that it was a special item to all of us.

I’ll admit to it being very difficult to write these past few days.  Yes, days.  I began this on the morning of the incident.  Since then I’ve had the weekend to attempt to gather thoughts.  Though it has been difficult, one thing it has not been is hopeless.  Yes, hopeless.  For, I have come to a place where my faith was tested, and then strengthened.

Early Friday morning, just hours after the incident had occured, my good friend Shon Blotzer called me back.  In our discussion we concluded that this was a trial.  God has presented a test, but at the same time Satan has presented a temptation.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

-Romans 8:28 (NIV)

This began to comfort me.  Even though it was TOUGH, I knew that ultimately, this was going to be good for my God.  And, therefore, at this trauma’s best, it’s a temporary sting.

See, Satan clearly wanted me to lose my hope in God’s promise resulting in my faith becoming damaged.  But, it’s really because God has become so active in my life through the study of His Word that has provided me the armor (as promised) that has protected me against Satan’s arrows.  Here’s one to ponder:

Isn’t it interesting that my brother’s ATV was stolen on the three-year anniversary of his passing?  A day where I would normally fire the engine up in his honor, it, instead, was hijacked and now in the hands of a man whose heart is clearly hardened toward God’s will for it.

Yeah, I thought about that.  Then I chuckled, and thought, “sorry, but my God’s grace is sufficient.”

Though my weekend has been occupied with hanging fliers, talking to news reporters, puzzling the situation, growing skeptical of my neighbors, and driving endlessly looking for any hiding spot, I have victory.  I really do.  Jesus has already given me life, and life abundantly.  I need not hang onto material possessions and value them to the degree that if removed it would harm my walk with the Lord.  For all this, every bit of what we could possibly acquire in life, burns in the end.  You can’t take any of it with you.  In fact, my favorite one is:

“The best way to take it with you is to send it forward.”

That being said, “Lord, Jesus.  Thank you for your redemptive power.  That you for suffering and relating to me on many levels in your suffering.  That you for being a God who became human so I may know you.

Lord, thank you for my victory today, but please keep encouraging me to remain steadfast in that which fuels my spirit, your Word.  Lord, I lift of the hearts of those who have helped get the word of this tragedy out, may your glory become obvious to them.  Additioally, I’d like to offer prayer for the one who’s obviously got a larger hole in his heart.  Please let this story, this event, this victory begin the healing process by the Great Healer.

I love you, and thank you for the time and memories of my brother, and his machine.

November 6, 2011.

As of Sunday night there has been no success in uncovering the ATV belonging to my late-brother.  However, there is much success in growing in faith toward our Creator.

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