While driving to work one day last week – it was Tuesday – I had no reason to suspect it wouldn’t be like every other morning’s commute. I drove the same roads, passed the same neighborhoods and schools and crossed the same train tracks that occasionally interject an unwelcomed delay. As I neared the final intersection before reaching my workplace, I didn’t know that in mere moments, lives would be forever changed.
When approaching that intersection from the side road, it’s a long light. But I don’t mind because I enjoy listening to music on my drive. So it’s a bit of a quiet time for me. That Tuesday was no different.
As the green arrow appeared signaling our turn, I remember slowly accelerating to make my way up the slight incline – I wanted to be sure to “make the light.” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a streak of white to my left as an 18-wheeler approached the intersection at an enormous speed.
Its light was red.
It wasn’t stopping.
I prayed the first car in my lane saw that too.
Faith Collides with Tragedy
The impact was incomprehensible as debris sprayed the area and sound waves boomed through my core. Immediately, I cried out to the Father for mercy as the tractor trailer relentlessly bullied the mangled SUV hundreds of yards down the highway, stringing my heart along, until it finally came to rest on the shoulder.
Could there still be life within the wreckage? I pleaded with God, “Lord, we need a miracle! Please let THIS be a time for Your miracle!” I sobbed – deep, heaving sobs – for the precious life I knew must have left this earth that very moment. My faith wavered.
Questions of a Shaky Heart
As emergency vehicles appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, the flow of traffic began to press on as time resumed its cadence.
I despised that. Could time be so cruel as not to allow space for grief? Yet I buoyed my hope in prayers that mercy would be found among the tear-blurred ruins fading in my rear view.
I had questions, fearful questions, and my heart demanded answers. What would cause the truck not to stop? Why did the light cycle have to be in that timing? Why was that SUV the one to enter the intersection? What if I had succeeded in “making the light?”
When I got to work, I texted my son-in-law desperate for his opinion as a truck driver to understand how this turn of events could have happened. I Googled for more details of the crash itself, hoping to find the missing answers within the various news accounts. But I came up empty.
My spiritual bearings were scattered like dust in the wind, snatching me by the roots from the eternal Truth I’ve known. I felt a disconnect as my soul took charge and my perception shifted to the temporary.
The Miracle of Grace
Later that morning I found out her name was Jordan. She was a 25 year old mama of an eight month old son who happened to be in the car with her. Jordan didn’t survive. But her baby boy did.
By the grace of God, her baby boy was alive. God gave us a miracle amidst the tragedy.
My heart swelled with thankfulness that her child had been spared. But the questions persisted as I continued my frenzy for answers.
Loss of Sight
Satan wields this power of distraction quite cleverly. All of a sudden, I was caught up in the fear of the details. I was peering through human eyes, not holy ones.
A fearful panic had risen within me when I learned Jordan had died, and out of anxiety I wondered, “What if she wasn’t saved?”
It would be easy to make a comfortable spot and have a seat amongst the fret. We do that sometimes. I could have set my sights on that tunnel of despair and resolved to allow that question of her salvation to remain one of hopelessness.
But our God can even use our propensity to question for the work of His Kingdom. As I became aware of my ants-in-the-pants behavior, I turned my attention back to the One who knows the number of our days. I turned to the Sovereign One who knows and executes His plans perfectly.
Finding My Faith Legs
I understand now that I may never know why or how that terrible accident happened, why Jordan had to die or whether or not she knew Jesus. What I do know is that God used her life to change me. Our lives mingled for one rippling moment, and it stretched my soul to a place that demanded I find the Holy Spirit’s restorative power at work in so many lives, including my own.
If I carry this horrendous memory for all my days, then so be it. I pray Jordan’s memory will dig in my side and move me to show hope, be hope and do hope in this vapor life.
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
In this, the Lord has strengthened my heart, and I pray I’ll have the steady bravery to restfully wade the waters of uncertainty when they come again.
That flow of overwhelming uncertainty – it will surely come again.
I urge you, with every borrowed breath, to grow in that wisdom spoken of in the Word. Let us shape what we do in the time that we have to fit the needs of His people, our people.
Friends, let’s open our faith eyes to see that our God is ever restoring our hearts through wisdom blessings within the brevity!