By Justin Rossow
On my way into work last Tuesday, a guy ran a red light just as I entered the intersection. I saw him in the last split second and went for the brakes and started to turn away from the sedan that was barreling down on me at 45 MPH. He hit me square on the driver’s door. I’m not sure my foot ever touched the brakes.
“O God; be with me,” was my immediate prayer. Of course, He had been already, and according to His promise, still was. But acknowledging His presence helped me stay calm, even though I was a bit disoriented and in pain. My glasses had flown off my face, out the shattered driver’s window, and gotten run over in the street. So my world seemed pretty small as I took a few deep breaths and settled into the now snug driver’s seat.
The car door had collapsed 8 inches and was pressed against my thigh, hip, and arm; I shudder to think what would have happened if the door had collapsed just a couple of inches more.
All in all, I was treated very well. Friendly fireman Chris searched and searched the car for my glasses, until I suggested he check the street; he apologetically brought me a tangled mess. EMT Leah and I had a nice conversation on the ambulance ride: she had heard Ted Dekker had been at St. Luke, and she was a fan. A carousel of doctors, nurses, nurse associates, and X-ray technicians made sure I had no serious damage–just a deep contusion and probably cracked rib–and they sent me home.
Except for the loss of the glasses, and the loss of the car, and the sharp pain I still have in my ribs, it was a mostly pleasant day.
So what do you do with that? How do you respond? What do you do when your life is suddenly interrupted?
My overwhelming response at this point is gratitude: living through the wreck, seeing the pictures afterward, knowing people who have sustained major bodily harm in accidents not much worse than this, I am deeply thankful for God’s protection. And my life is still not back to normal. I am still in pain. This still stinks.
A note from our Pastor Ted helps keep me grounded. If you are going through a sudden challenge you didn’t expect, these words are for you, too.
When Gabriel (Dan Flynn) announced at our staff devotion last Tuesday that you had been in an automobile accident coming into town, there was a brief moment of “speechlessness” on the part of all of us as we immediately wondered not “How” but “Why”? – Wasn’t 2013 tough enough for your family? Does 2014 have to be a continuation of such “trouble”?
You know the answer as well as I, but we’ll verbalize it once again to experience “today” what is both our reality and our basis for confident hope! – Jesus said (Jn. 16:33):
“I have told you these things,
so that IN ME you may have peace.
IN THIS WORLD you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”
So, though rendered speechless by the “ouch” of circumstances, we join in the uninhibited shout of “Hallelujah” for what God is wanting to accomplish through all this.
Jesus is Savior and thus he is Lord!
There are times we have to live with the “ouch,” even when it’s not our fault: we live in a broken and sinful world.
But no matter what, we can always join the “Hallelujah,” for this broken, sinful world is on its way to being restored.
I am thankful for the presence of Jesus with me already now, and I can’t wait for the presence of Jesus with me in That Day! Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly!
(The sermon Ted referred to in his note can be found at the bottom of this blog.)