Came close the other day to going home to be with Jesus – as in heavenly home – for eternity. I don’t know if it was the appointed time in God’s will but the opportunity was definitely there for me to be yanked home to meet my Maker. That intersection of grace and free will (someone else’s) was coming together to make this a real possibility. If it had happened, the launch point would have been the Walmart parking lot on Fruitville Pike in Lancaster PA.
I had just finished making my purchases and had returned to my Saturn. I was backing up slowly and cautiously because, of course, I was surrounded on either side by two monster trucks designed to obscure any view for at least a mile. As I attempted to back, I had not yet reached the stage of cautiously inching my rear end into traffic when a vehicle raced by at a speed that would have earned a ticket on the interstate. Then I took almost another full minute to back up stopping with great frequency, i.e., I lost count, as more vehicles backed out into the space I was trying to occupy.
When I finally made it “out”, my vehicle was accosted by the rear ends of at least three other vehicles who seemed to have simply kicked it into reverse and pushed the gas pedal before even beginning to think that there might be someone else out there. Once this exercise in “dodgem” was over, I still had to navigate a parking lot where people were making wide turns or occupying the center of the lane because they were talking on their doggone cell phones. (Actually, I had another expletive/adjective in mind but this is a religious blog site. Forgive me, Lord, for allowing that to even be in my vocabulary’s secret vault.)
After about six minutes of near-death experiences (it seemed like sixty), I made it into the safety of actual traffic where God spared my life so I could be home to be with my lovely wife instead of my Maker.
Did you ever notice how dangerous life can be? Even for those people who try to insulate their lives by taking no risks, eating bland foods, staying out of traffic, avoiding their neighbors, keeping their heads down and mouths shut, life comes at you fast and you really have a lot less control than you’d like. And at times it can scare the socks off of us.
That’s why wise people like David teach us that we need to put our lives into the hands of the Lord. “Even though I must walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” To do business as a human being requires us to venture into the Walmart parking lots and human intersections where another person’s freedom can rob us of our peace and attack our joy. Where damage can be done that then we will have to deal with.
But we can live with confidence because “nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35) It’s that confidence that removes my fear and allows me to live with confidence even in the Walmart parking lots of the planet. I may suffer a fender-bender, or I may actually meet with a fatal “accident”, but I cannot be separated from God.
This post originally appeared on my devotional blog called THRIVING IN CHRIST. (c) 2010 by Stephen Dunn. SEE BLOGROLL ON HOME PAGE FOR THIS LINK and to subscribe.