Flurries of snow announce the arrival of a winter storm across eastern Washington on a frigid January evening. Snow quickly covers the road, hiding the dangerous icy patches that lie beneath. I carefully inch my car around the mountain road, unable to see more than a few feet in front of me. Suddenly, I come upon an overturned car in my lane and must make a split-second decision. Calculating how to best navigate the inevitable collision in front of me, the seconds feel like minutes. If I pull the wheel too sharply into the right lane, I will surely lose control with SUVs and semi-trucks behind me.
An indescribable peace and supernatural calm flood over me as decide to sideswipe the car. Miraculously, no one is seriously injured. As the drivers recall our varying accounts of the accident, we all realize just how close we came to disaster. A teenage driver exited his overturned vehicle just seconds before I hit his car. Unbeknownst to me, if I had swerved any further to the right, I would have hit the boy fleeing from the accident. By God’s divine providence, we were all spared from tragedy. As I reflect back on this experience, it is incredible to consider all of the ways God draws us close to him in the close calls.
God is close in the smallest details. Our creator is never sideswiped by the unexpected! He orchestrates the complex inter-workings of the universe down to the smallest atom and nanosecond. A few seconds sooner or a couple of inches to the right could have spelled tragedy. Colossians 1:16-17 says, “for in him all things were created…all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Without even stopping to think about the minute details of my existence, I go about much of my daily life on autopilot. I pay no attention to the heart beating in my chest, the air expanding and contracting in my lungs, or the subconscious use of my hands and feet. Praise God that he is intimately familiar with His creation. In these close calls, God reminds me He is in control!
God is close in suffering. I want to pause for a moment and acknowledge that sometimes traumatic situations have drastically different outcomes. After all, it would be a disservice to minimize the consequences of sin in the world with a false, toxic positivity. Why is it so often we only acknowledge God’s divine presence and providence in the good outcomes?
“Wow! God was with you that night!” some might surmise. I hope we can quickly recognize God in the midst of tragedy just as well! He is with me, even unto my dying day. Moreover, not only does God exists in the sorrow, but knows our experience of pain personally. Isaiah 53:4 says, “surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.” Before anyone could pull themselves from the overturned wreckage of their own sin, God intimately entered into our humanity to suffer and die. He is close to us in times of heartache as well as joy.
God’s Kingdom is close at hand. Why does it take a narrow escape from death to feel the gravity of the Lord’s sovereign hand? Undeniably, his righteousness that rescues and renews us daily is no less heroic! Romans 5:17 tells us, “just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God’s goodness to us on the mountain that night was just a finite glimpse of His Kingdom and eternal rescue plan to deliver us from sin and death.
Nothing can stop our all-mighty God who relentlessly pursues us. Romans 8:38-39 proclaims, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers…will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The victory is already yours, beloved child of the Risen King, regardless of what lies on the other side of that mountain.
Have you ever had a close call? Let’s remember how God is working in our lives and drawing us closer to Him–even in the unexpected.
In His Peace,