When the expected happens

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2024

In his book “Your Best Life Now,” Joel Osteen relates the true story of a man named Nick.
Nick was a big, strong, tough man who worked in the railroad yards for many years.
He was one of his company’s best employees – always there on time, a reliable, hard worker who got along well with the other employees.
But Nick had one major problem: his attitude was chronically negative.
He was known around the railroad yards as the most pessimistic man on the job.
He perpetually feared the worst and constantly worried, fretting that something bad might happen.
One summer day, the crews were told that they could go home an hour early in order to celebrate the birthday of one of the foremen.
All the workers left, but somehow Nick accidentally locked himself in a refrigerated boxcar that had been brought into the yard for maintenance.
The boxcar was empty and not connected to any of the trains.
When Nick realized that he was locked inside the refrigerated boxcar, he panicked. Nick began beating on the doors so hard that his arms and fists became bloody.
He screamed and screamed, but his coworkers had already gone home to get ready for the party.
Nobody could hear Nick’s desperate calls for help.
Again and again he called out, until finally his voice was a raspy whisper.
Aware that he was in a refrigerated boxcar, Nick guessed that the temperature in the unit was well below freezing, maybe as low as five- or ten-degrees Fahrenheit.
Nick feared the worst.
He thought, “What am I going to do?
If I don’t get out of here, I’m going to freeze to death. There’s no way I can stay in here all night.”
The more he thought about his circumstances, the colder he became.
With the door shut tightly, and no apparent way of escape, he sat down to await his inevitable death by freezing or suffocation, whichever came first.
To pass the time, he decided to chronicle his demise.
He found a pen in his shirt pocket and noticed an old piece of cardboard in the corner of the car.
Shivering almost uncontrollably, he scribbled a message to his family.
In it Nick noted his dire prospects: “Getting so cold. Body numb.
If I don’t get out soon, these will probably be my last words.”
And they were.
The next morning, when the crews came to work, they opened the boxcar and found Nick’s body crumpled over in the corner.
When the autopsy was completed, it revealed that Nick had indeed frozen to death.
Now, here’s a fascinating enigma: The investigators discovered that the refrigeration unit for the car in which Nick had been trapped was not even on!
In fact, it had been out of order for some time and was not functioning at the time of the man’s death.
The temperature in the car that night, the night Nick froze to death, was sixty-one degrees.
Nick froze to death in slightly less than normal room temperatures because he believed that he was in a freezing boxcar.
He expected to die!
He was convinced that he didn’t have a chance. He expected the worst. He saw himself as doomed with no way out. He lost the battle in his own mind!
One day, two blind men came to Jesus and asked Him to heal their eyes.
Matthew 9:29 tells us what happened: “Jesus touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith it will be done to you;’ and their sight was restored.”
They were healed because they expected to be healed.
What about you?
Are you like Nick, expecting the worst in life?
Or will you be like the two blind men, expecting your situation to change?
Put your faith in Jesus and know that He can turn your circumstances around for good.

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

Email newsletter signup