Scott Stockert was just a troubled man from North Dakota before his foray into canine abduction made him a national story last week. It would appear that Stockert intended to storm the White House and steal one of the Obama’s two dogs, though it is unclear at this time if Bo or Sunny was the intended target. As he revealed to the Secret Service agents that questioned him at a hotel in downtown Washington, he had brought two unlicensed guns, a twelve-gauge shotgun and a rifle, along with over 300 rounds of ammunition and a machete with him to complete the task.
If that kind of firepower seems ill-equipped for raiding the White House, perhaps it’s simply because you are unaware that, as he told the Secret Service agents interrogating him, he is none other than Jesus Christ (though he is also apparently the son of JFK and Marilyn Monroe). Given those credentials, I’m not sure why he felt that he needed the guns in the first place, but I suppose that’s just one of life’s many mysteries.
In all seriousness though, while Stockert never posed any real threat to the Obama family or their dogs, he could have still posed a danger to those charged with protecting them. For that reason, it is a blessing that he was never given a chance to carry out his planned heist.
As a spokesperson for the Secret Service pointed out though, there is a silver lining to Stockert’s failed attempt as it shows that their network of inter-agency connections is still working well. You see, the Secret Service found the North Dakota man after their Minnesota Field Office tipped them off to his intentions. As the spokesperson said, “Identifying and apprehending suspects who make threats towards our protectees, is often a coordinated effort between multiple jurisdictions in real time.” As it’s hard to judge the effectiveness of those efforts without a viable threat, no matter how seemingly inane it may be, Stockert’s efforts were not completely without some redeemable qualities.
Most things are like that if you think about it. Whether circumstances seem absurd and pointless, as with the aforementioned plot against the Obamas’ dogs, or much more serious and potentially damaging, we serve a God who can bring purpose and meaning out of every trial and difficult time we face. The thing is, that redemption is not always quick to come and, even when it does arrive, is seldom easy to see. Oftentimes it is only by looking back that we can perceive God’s hand at work, bringing good out of our times of trial.
In Genesis 50, when Joseph reflects with his brothers on the actions they took that led to years of slavery, abandonment, and imprisonment, he is able to say that God intended for good what they meant for harm because he could see all the ways that those trials had been redeemed to save countless people (Genesis 50:20). And while that ordeal was perhaps not God’s first choice in how he would accomplish that purpose (after all, it would seem likely that he could have found a way to do the same thing without Joseph going through all that he did), the Lord was still able to bring unimaginable good out of what must have seemed at times like a truly hopeless situation.
What God did for Joseph, he can do for each of us. We will never face a trial or circumstance that is beyond God’s capacity to redeem. The only question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we will have the patience and faith to see it. God could have saved the people of Egypt and the surrounding nations through Joseph without his ever coming to realize the redemption that was taking place. However, had that happened, Joseph would have missed out on the reconciliation that was so powerful and integral to God’s plan going forward.
So the next time you are faced with a situation that seems irredeemable, trust that your heavenly Father has a plan to bring some good where you may only seem harm. Sometimes the understanding of his character revealed through those times is the greatest redemption of all.