We were out together at de Boer’s in Holland, Michigan – Rita, a former neighbor from greater Detroit, Rob & his wife, Lynn, and Marilyn and me. Rita and Rob & Lynn were former army buddies who were in language school in Monterey California years ago. 

The subject turned to God’s protection (See Rejection is Protection which focuses on a different aspect of protection).  Each of us spoke of how God has kept us from the scar tissue that sin brings.

Marilyn said she just could not disappoint her father.  Dr. Leon J. Wood was a scholar and an iron disciplinarian. Non-emotional, serious student of the Bible, and author of 12 books. No way was she could going to do something foolish.  She could not bear to be less than he wanted her to be. Sitting around the breakfast table at de Boer’s she was seeing that as how God kept her from sin.  

Lynn spoke of God just keeping her from evil. She did not give any specifics, but she repeated her contention that God had kept her. She did speak of doing foolish things after high school but not during high school. 

Referring to her army days, Rita said, “I was doing things 18-year-olds do when away from home–drugs, partying.  A fellow trainee–they were all learning Italian in an immersion-style environment–turned her in. She got busted–no pay for three months and two hours of extra duty each night–stuff like mowing several acres with a push lawn mower.

She said, “I so wish I could find that man who turned me in. I would thank him over and over.  Getting caught was the very best thing that could have happened to me. It straightened me out.” Rita has since raised two sons alone, gotten an education as a nurse so she could earn a living for herself, and written three books. God protected Rita by arresting her downward slide. 

Keith spoke of being with two young women who would have done the wrong things for him. But God did not allow him to get off the straight and narrow, and this was before he became a Christian.

God in His mercy keeps us from bringing scar tissue on ourselves. It is of His mercy to not be allowed to do evil, to be corrected and to respond positively to correction.  It’s all of God’s mercy, no credit to any of the people named above.

What if the reader has messed up badly, lives with regret and unhappiness over sins committed.  Even those who have been protected to some degree–those of us having breakfast together–have done enough evil that we know the bitterness of sin and the need to repent.  God invites us to Himself, conquering us in a way that is 180 degrees opposite from the world–He continues to love us.  Eventually, that will break our stubborn attraction to evil, self-will, and sin.