Have you ever seen an accident in progress? I mean the kind of traffic accident you can see with your eyes and recognize what’s about to happen but you can’t think through it quick enough to do anything about it. Late one afternoon I was driving down the road here in the Capitol City when I saw an oncoming line of traffic stopped behind a car that had its blinker on waiting to turn. Behind that car were about five other cars waiting for him to turn that, I assumed, were going to turn also, but then behind all of them I saw a car coming fast – real fast, especially for a congested traffic area. It appeared to me the driver was not going to brake and probably didn’t even notice the cars in front of him. My initial thought was that he or she may have been blinded by the sun that was setting. All that said, I was watching it happen right in front of me. There was nothing I could do.
In those quick few seconds I saw this unfolding, I realized a crash was about to take place, or I thought it was, and although I’m not a prophet I was correct in my assessment. The thought also occurred to me in those quick seconds that the driver, when he finally saw there were cars stopped in front of him, possibly would swerve to his right or left to miss those cars but find himself turning directly into oncoming traffic or go off the road and wreck his car on the other side of the road. What took place was what I initially thought was going to take place. The driver smashed into the back of the last car in the line, which was then knocked into the car in front of him, which was then knocked into the car in front of him. There was absolutely nothing I could do except watch and cringe all at the same time.
I stopped just past the crash. Several cars were damaged but no one was seriously injured. I was thankful there was no loss of life. I stayed until the first responders got there with medical help and the police began the process of figuring out what had taken place. After talking with some of them, I went on my way.
I thought about how many, many times we see crashes about to take place and wonder what we can do. Sometimes we cannot come up with any possible help we can offer in the few seconds before the crash. I thought how often our Heavenly Father sees us cruising along in life, self-absorbed with our daily activities, with dangers all around us. Maybe the brightness of the sun’s light is shining in our eyes and we do not even recognize the crash ahead, but God does. He is God and He can act on His own will, but He lovingly allows us to drive our cars and make our decisions and move forward even though He may be influencing us otherwise.
He desires that our wills be tuned into His will, but the choices of life are handed to us and too often we ignore Him. Hopefully, we or those we love will hit the brakes before it’s too late. Hopefully, the damage we do will not be irreparable. I wonder as He watches how many times He would just love to stop everything, talk to us, and give us stern words that would cause us to realize we better not go where we’re headed as fast as we’re going.
All of us have experienced that to some degree. We have seen folks in our lives, our families, our circles of work or influence, going down wrong roads extremely fast, headed toward a ditch or a crash and there’s nothing we can do about it. Parents experience that with children who, in spite of all the instruction and love and care we give them, are headed for a crash but they will not listen. Pastors, professors, all of us have people in our lives with whom we wish we could intervene at least to tap the brakes, but we find that almost impossible to do.
I’ve often wondered what Jesus was feeling when He said over Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34). They would not listen to Him. They would not respond to Him. They would not follow Him, and they went on with their rejection of Him.
There are unavoidables in life, but I quickly say that though some people are just determined to go too fast in a wrong direction, God does speak to people and we can pray for them. Trust God to work in their lives so that whatever is taking place, they will eventually turn to Him and find help and hope, rescue and redemption. Don’t avoid turning to God, especially when you’re dealing with the unavoidables of life.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.