by Linda Lee
Another Day - Another Deadline
Early one Thursday morning I was listening to one of my Bible CDs while heading into the office to meet another big deadline. I was driving my convertible in the fast lane at 65 mph when suddenly in my peripheral vision I saw a red car coming right at me about to broadside me! I swerved to avoid collision but there was nowhere to go with only a small burm near the concrete center divider. This evasive action sent my car out of control hitting the concrete wall. The impact spun me around, so that my car hit the wall twice more on each quarter panel and landed in the middle of the fast lane facing three lanes of oncoming traffic during Los Angeles rush hour!
When I realized that my car was headed into that concrete wall all I could do was cry out, "Lord Jesus!" and watch helplessly as my car collided into the concrete divider. It was surreal as I watched the scene in a slow motion. I thought I was on my way to heaven. I was surprised because I expected to finish my course on earth before leaving, but even so, I was completely at peace. Jesus' peace really does pass all understanding! There was absolutely NO fear! God was with me and protected me. I turned down a trip to the hospital offered by the paramedics and walked away from my totaled convertible completely unharmed!
Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God
Immediately following these events a Scripture came to my mind from a plaque hanging on my office wall that says:
The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (NIV)
I knew that the Lord watched over me - each and every day. I also knew the security of living by the words of Psalm 91, which promises us safety. There is safety in abiding in the presence of God (Psa. 1:1). As for my part, for many years I had lived a llifestyle of daily spending time with the Lord early in the morning. That is not without exception, but for the most part, Jesus and I met over morning coffee. And I did my part saying of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psa.91:2)
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.” (NKJ)
It is a wonderful passage of Scripture, which should be committed to memory. So, if I knew that the Lord watched over my life, He is my refuge and promises me protection, even appoints angels to watch over me - then what's up?
Was God Punishing me?
No! God does not put bad things on us. He is not sitting on His heavenly throne deciding who will get sick with the flu or arthritis or cancer, which person will get injured or maimed in an accident, who will die in a hurricane or any myriad of natural calamities. God is not a schizophrenic - loving and helping us one minute, deciding who will live or die the next. Jesus told us that the devil came to kill, steal and destroy but Jesus came that we might have life and enjoy life more abundantly.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (AMPL)
God is love. God loved you and me so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus to take our place of punishment by a just God. Jesus suffered and died for our sins so we could be in relationship with God, the Father. We can enjoy sweet, unbroken fellowship with God, born out of love. God loves us just the way we are - faults and all. He loved us before we were even born.
He knew you before He formed you in your mother's womb (Jer. 1:5) and even scheduled each day of your life before you began to breathe. The bible says that every day was recorded in His book!
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother's womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous-- and how well I know it.
15 You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion!
16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book! (TLB)
That sounds to me like God has good plans in store for us, all those great possibilities contained in His plan for our lives.
What about Accidents?
God is acquainted with all our ways (our fears, our hopes, and our dreams). So even an "accident" is no surprise to God. This would take more time and great consideration to further study it out, and certainly it would be a worthy subject. But let me simply say a couple of things that I perceive after giving this much thought and inquiring about it of the Lord.
First, we know unequivocally that when bad things happen to us it is never God's fault. When something goes wrong, we need only look in the mirror to see who is to blame. The fault must lie with us, not God. For God is love, God loves us, God is perfect and God cannot lie. So it is impossible for Him to do evil. So I would have to conclude that I missed it that morning, hurrying out the door with getting to work early to do my job on my mind. It could be that, instead, I needed to spend more quality time with the Lord in prayer to prepare for the day, or time with my husband, or, perhaps I exceeded the speed limit with my famous lead foot in the fast lane, causing my guardian angels to jump off the bumpers, or… We could go on and on with speculation after an event has happened. But that would do little good.
I believe that sometimes it takes years for the enemy of our soul to set up his wicked devices to kill, steal and destroy our lives. Surely he tried to kill me that day but the goodness and mercy of God followed me and I was kept from all harm. Since then, I have come to believe that it is possible to follow the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit so closely that we are protected from so-called accidents.
This indicates how vitally important it is to be sensitive to the Spirit of the Living God, Who lives inside of us born again believers. We must take time not only to pray, pour out our heart to God, making our requests known to Him but to take time to listen to the Lord and give Him opportunity to speak into our lives. And then our job is to obey what He tells us to do.
There is safety and protection in clearly hearing from the Lord and walking in the steps He has ordered. The Bible says, “The steps of a good man [or woman] are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way (Ps. 37:23). Another verse brings great assurance that our loving God has good things waiting for us when we walk in the path that He has made ready for us beforehand:
For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. (AMPL)
I have come to really appreciate the Lord giving me direction for my life on a daily basis. Too many of us make our plans and then ask God to bless our plan. I believe the Lord is pleased when we come to Him first to get His plan for us. And knowing that God loves us, has made arrangements for His good plans to take place in our lives, we ought to be able to face each day with joyful expectation about running into the good things God has awaiting us.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)
God knows what He is doing and has good plans for your life. Several years have passed since the accident, and now my husband and I have learned to daily confess, "We're always in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing."
Lastly, let us consider that Jesus said in the world we would have tribulation but take heart, He has overcome the world.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (NKJ)
Trials are a part of life. It is part of the normal, everyday "stuff" that we all experience in life. God does not put bad things on us but He uses the trials in our lives for our good, helping us, encouraging us, building us up and shaping our character. Jesus told us He has overcome the world so we can know and believe that we, too, can overcome. We are in Christ, the Anointed One, and greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). And remember, what we go through today may be the very thing that someday God will use to touch someone’s heart, comfort them, give them insight and help them make it through to victory too.
God's Grace is Sufficient
God's grace is poured out on us every day to help us in our weaknesses. But we must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so we can receive His well-timed help, coming just when we need it. If we will admit that we cannot do things in our own strength that we need God's help and lean on the Lord in simple, childlike faith, He will give us the grace and power we need to take us through whatever we are facing.
For God has said, "I will never, never fail you nor forsake you." (TLB)
In the days following the accident I strongly held onto the Bible teachings I had received about Jesus, our Healer (as well as Savior, Deliverer and soon coming King). To this day, several years later, I have not experienced any side effects from this accident - no whiplash, back problems or any other injuries. At the time, there was not even an ache or pain that a few loving back rubs from my husband didn't handle. It was merely a matter of replacing my old, faithful car. And of course, God had a newer, better car for me - and worked out the insurance settlement and finances in my favor to make the purchase.
To me, there were three miracles that morning: surviving the initial accident, protected from the oncoming traffic, and knowing God's peace when it seemed I was about to pass from life on earth to life in heaven with the Lord. We know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8) and that to live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). I'm glad to report that my life was not cut short and I am still here until my purpose on earth has been fulfilled.
Truly, His love never fails.
Walking in God's grace and favor,
Living Life One Day at a Time- "So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. Matt 6:34 (TLB)