'Jesus Gave Us a Rock to Stand On'
"Trusting in God has kept us at peace, both separately and together as a family. It is because of Jesus and all He went through, that we can not only endure our own storms but know that God is still good.” – Crawford Johnson
“Two of the greatest Christians I’ve ever known were my grandfather and my own father. My grandfather was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, and was disowned shortly after he began following Jesus. My mother was 13 at the time. Meanwhile, my father was a B-17 pilot during WWII. When my grandson later asked him to name his life’s greatest accomplishment for a school paper, my father’s humble answer was “following where God led me after the war.” With examples like that, it was much easier to understand the weight Christ should have in the life of someone who follows Him.
“The details of my beliefs at age 30 were not the same at 40; the same was true when I hit 50 and even 60. But the bedrock of Jesus’ promises do not change. That is the foundation I have tried to build my life on, and during many storms, it has been just as solid and faithful as Jesus promised it would be.
“When I was 29, I began having extreme abdominal pain and several other disturbing symptoms. We were very concerned as my body weight plummeted by 60 pounds. Doctors told me it was either cancer, a severe ulcer, or Crohn’s Disease—exploratory surgery would determine which.
“Right before the procedure, however, my surgeon unexpectedly asked another surgeon to take his place for personal reasons. This new surgeon just happened to have read about the exact rare version of Crohn’s disease he soon discovered I had. He spared me of the incredibly invasive response that was practiced at the time, opting for the new response he read about.
“When my wife, Karen, saw me after the surgery, she claimed I looked better than when they rolled me back into the operating room. My life is now immeasurably more normal than it would be if the original doctor performed the surgery, and the only credit I can think to give is to God.
“Many years later, our 13-year-old daughter Steph took the SAT along with mostly high school seniors and still managed to score in the 85th percentile. She was a faithful teacher in VBS camps and even served with a clown ministry. Her balloon animals could make any kid smile.
“But while on a trip to Waco with her friends, Steph, two other girls and a sponsor were struck by a distracted driver while crossing a street. It was one of those freak accidents that leaves no one unaffected. Steph’s injuries were the most severe. In fact, the doctor first told us she was braindead and would not survive. He told us to come and say goodbye. And yet, in a way we can’t quite explain, God made it clear to us before even arriving to see her that she would live.
“The journey was intense and difficult. It took more than a year for her to go through ICU, a rehab facility, a nursing home to relearn how to speak, back to rehab, and finally come home in a wheelchair. But against all odds, God is still using Steph and her beautiful life for His glory.
“Through all of this, and more, we are overwhelmed with how good and faithful the Lord has been to us. People often ask us, ‘How could God allow such things?’ It’s a legitimate question, but it’s not the world’s obvious brokenness that Karen and I struggle with—not when Jesus made it so clear that storms would come regardless of what we believe or do. In fact, the brokenness was precisely why Jesus came in the first place. God doesn’t want us to stay here. He wants us to crave a new creation where He lives with us. Jesus’ purpose, meanwhile, is to give us a rock to stand on rather than sinking in the sand with no promise to hold onto.
“Trusting in God has kept us at peace, both separately and together as a family. It is because of Jesus, and all He went through, that we can not only endure our own storms but know that God is still good.” – Crawford Johnson, as told to Kyle Johnson