Make It Count
One day last week, I jumped in my car and headed to work. Things seemed normal until the light in front of me turned red and I hit the brakes. Nothing happened. I hit them again - still nothing.
It was a surreal moment. I wasn't going very fast, but fast enough, and directly into oncoming traffic. Thankfully, I came to a stop about a car's length into the intersection and no one hit me.
Awkwardly sprawled out on the road, I quickly reversed back into my lane. The guys in the car next to me looked at me like I was crazy.
When the light turned green, I crept forward and turned into the first possible side street. Miraculously, the first building on the right was an auto repair shop!
I pulled in, put the car in park, and took a deep breath, my heart still beating fast.
Several hours later, my brakes were fixed, but days later, this moment kept replaying in my head.
Things could have been so much worse. What if my kids had been in the car? What if I had been going 60 miles per hour on the highway? To walk away totally unscathed was the least likely outcome, and I was grateful for God's protection.
This was one of those events that snaps you back into reality. You suddenly don't feel as safe as you did before. But as quickly as the feeling comes, it goes, and before long, you continue living life as though you were invincible.
This time I was determined to hold on to the feeling. I wanted to use this moment to remind myself of two critical truths: life is fragile and control is an illusion.
In the Bible, James calls our lives “a mist." We appear for a little while, and then we are gone. This is a sobering thought. We can wear our seat belts, work out daily, and eat well, but the end is coming - and sooner than you think.
We are living paradoxes, capable of incredible feats, yet weak and vulnerable. We create amazing works of art and climb mountains, but a simple flu virus can reduce us to an immobilized mess, without the strength to even stand.
One moment we are bright and full of ambition, the next moment, our lives are snuffed out by a distracted driver or multiplying cancer cells.
Being aware of our fragility is not morbid but wise. It reminds us to look beyond our limited selves for strength and hope. As followers of Jesus, we need to embrace that we are both fearfully and wonderfully made, as well as desperately dependent on God. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.
As a Christian, I can come to terms with my lack of control - not only because it's true, but because I don't believe the world is random and meaningless. God is in control. I still live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people, but I know that one day all things will be made right.
Skeptics think religion is for wishful thinkers, yet the opposite is true. Followers of Jesus are given incredible resources to cope with the difficulties of life, and the greatest motivation to live for what matters.
We can overcome tragedy, but a lack of hope irreparably damages the soul. The godless secular universe is cold and capricious, but as a child of God, I can know He has a good plan not only for the world, but for my life. He's not indifferent to the difficulties I face, and He promises to never leave nor forsake me.
In God's mercy, He chose to keep me safe on the road that day, but the lesson I learned from this experience was invaluable. Life is short, God is in control, and while I am here, I want to make it count.