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What is it about the winter that makes people drive crazy. Here I am on I480 traveling west which is my regular route to work. I always travel about 15-20minutes on this interstate before my exit and today November 25th our first day of real snow I’m on the freeway about 5 minutes and I’ve already passed by three accidents. Thank God, they are only minor fender benders but still they are accidents. I turn on my radio to a smooth jazz station to calm my nerves and say a little prayer as I continue on my way. And just as I approach the I271 split there’s yet another accident. This one is no fender bender. My heart jumps out of my chest as I ride past. There’s something in me telling me to pull over. I look at the clock on my dash I don’t have enough time. If I pull over I’ll be late for work. Pull over something in me nags. I pull over to the shoulder. Grab my cell phone and dial 911. “911” the person on the other line says. “There has been an accident a terrible accident.” I continue to answer the questions of the operator as I approach the accident. “Yes…I480 at the I271 split…no…I’m approaching the car now”. I put my earpiece in the phone as I continue to approach the car.
What in the world am I doing? I ask myself. I’m no hero. But, I run over to the accident as if I am. Help me. I here someone cry. I peer into the car and assess the passengers. “Operator the driver is a lady and she’s pinned in by the dash and the steering wheel which are literally sitting in her lap.” There’s glass everywhere from the windshield that was shattered. “My daughter.” She mumbles. I look around in the car but I don’t see anyone else. But about maybe 10 feet from the car there’s a body lying in the field. “What is it about the winter months that cause people to drive so crazy” I say to myself as I hurry over to this person lying in the field. “Operator there’s a girl laying in the field about maybe about 10 feet.” The voice on the other line speaks “don’t move anyone help is on the way”.
I start talking to the girl and I tell her help will be here shortly. She can’t move here body but she manages to gurgle out a thank you. I cover her with my coat and I start to pray. I can hear the sirens but I don’t see anything yet. Finally the ambulance arrives and gains control of the situation. They rush the girl to the hospital while the fire fighters pry the mother out of the car. I look up and there are several people around. I didn’t notice them at first…I guess because I was so consumed with what was going on. They all have a story and know exactly what happened. They give the information to the police, get into their cars and drive away.
Now, I’m the only one still standing here. I can’t seem to leave. Tears are streaming down my face and I’m longing for answers. “Why?” “On God’s green earth why does tragedy have to happen?” I don’t know anything about these people yet I’m hurting as if they are my own. “Why is it that bad things happen to good people” I cry out to God “Why”.
It became clear to me that I had questions that needed to be answered. I called my job and told them that I wouldn’t be in for the day and then I called my pastor. My pastor’s secretary answered the phone and said that he had an opening at 2:00 p.m. that day. Pencil me in my name is Theodore Maxwell. Very well she replied 2:00 Theodore Maxwell. Thanks I replied.
It was 11:00 a.m. and I needed to kill some time so I went to the nearby McDonalds and ordered a coffee and something to eat. I sat in a booth near the window so that I could watch the traffic go by as I wasted time. Over in the next booth was a group of older gentlemen that appeared to be in their mid to late 60’s. As I ate my meal I couldn’t help overhearing their conversation which was about life and how good it has been to them. Having had worked and retired, raised a family and sent children to college, and the beauty of playing with their grandchildren. They were truly blessed to have lived their lives with any major catastrophes. All I could think about was my morning and how confused I was about life.
One o’clock came by quicker than I thought it would and I was off to visit with my pastor. I had so many questions so I jotted them down while I had my breakfast. I arrived at his office early and waited about thirty minutes. He arrived promptly at two o’clock and we began our session.
“Good afternoon.” He greeted. “Well pastor it hasn’t been such a good morning or afternoon for me.” “What’s troubling you on this blessed day?” I began my session with the details of my morning and went on to tell him about the irony of overhearing the conversation of the seniors that sat in the booth next to me at McDonalds. “Why is it that some people have difficulty living their lives while others appear to have a fairly smooth life with no major issues to deal with?” “You jumped right in with one of the most difficult questions of life Theodore.” “I wish that I could say that there is a simple answer to your question.” “But, if we look at the scriptures we will see life clearly.” “The book of Job is the best place to start when asking the question why does bad things happen to good people.” “Here’s a man that was found perfect in the eyesight of God and yet terrible calamities happened in his life.” But always keep in mind Romans 8:28 (And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.). Whenever you reach a hard spot in life remember always that God Almighty is in control. And it is the difficult times in life that draw us closer to Him. You can rest assure that the people who were in that terrible accident as well as their families are praying to God at this very moment. And if they have never prayed in their lives they are praying now. Some if not all of them will grow closer to God. Maybe even an innocent by stander who saw the accident may grow closer to God. Someone will find Him for the first time and someone will go to another level in their walk with God.
I always like to believe that when tragedy happens in a Christian’s life it is God’s way of either testing, chastising, or strengthening the Christian to prepare him for the next phase in his or her life. Because, that phase is going to require a stronger faith than what the Christian currently has. Of course there are times when a Christian looses his faith and strays. But, the Good Shepherd lays down His life read (NIV John 10:14"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.) Jesus is saying that the Christian knows Him and He knows the Christian in the same manner as Jesus knows the Father and the Father knows Jesus. He is also saying that there are those that are going to become Christians and He must bring them also. In either instance the Christian grows closer to God and his walk with the Almighty is strengthened. The ultimate goal when tragedy occurs is the development of faith and understanding in God and His purpose in and for our lives. Which, Theodore is a good place for you to start as you try to decipher the meaning of life.
Thanks, Pastor. The time you’ve spent with me has been rewarding. I can’t say that I totally understand why such tragedies occur in one’s life. But, my desire to deepen my faith has been stirred in my spirit. And, somehow I feel blessed today and I feel the need to visit and pray with the family that was in the accident today. I believe that as a result of the events that transpired today I have a call on my life to help those in need of faith.
God Bless you Pastor.
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