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Busted

November 4, 2010 3 comments

Last Thursday was a normal day. At least it started out normal. I worked, met with people, worked some more, then got ready to cycle home. I particularly like this part of the day – not just because it’s home time, but because the bike ride home is my chance to process, pray and get some exercise at the same time.

So there I was, riding my bike down St. Matthew’s Avenue, when in the blink of an eye, it all stopped being normal. As I crossed the intersection at St. Matthew’s and Dominion, a car left its place at the stop sign and came barrelling towards me.

I’ve sometimes wondered what it would feel like to be invisible, but I can tell you that it doesn’t feel too good when there’s a car coming. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at first, and then came those moments that people describe as being “in slow motion”. I had a chance to think a lot of things in that second or two – “What’s this guy doing? Doesn’t he see me? He doesn’t see me. What am I going to do? I can try to veer right. Too late, he’s right here. I’m going to get hit. Oh, well. Here we go.”

Crack.

The car’s bumper hit my leg just above the ankle as I started to veer to the right. My bike disappeared out from under me, I landed half on the car, half on the street, then all on the street. Sprawled out on the road, I was still in hyper-thinking mode, so in a flash I took a mental inventory of my body – Head? Check. Back? Check. Arms? Check. Miraculously, everything was fine, except for that red-hot vice squeezing the life out of my lower left leg. It was a new sensation that quickly topped the charts in my lifetime “Pains I Have Felt” category. At times like this, what’s really inside a person comes out. To my relief, what came out was, “Jesus, help me!” If it was something else, it would have been embarrassing.

At this point, some might wonder, “Where was God when all this happened?” “Was your guardian angel doing a Sudoku when that car hit you?”

That one is easy. God was right there. In the few minutes following the collision, while I was on the road in my own little world of pain, I became aware that in those few minutes, the police arrived, the paramedics arrived, and the RCMP arrived (just happened to be passing by)! Almost instantly, traffic was being directed and I was being assessed by some really nice people. To top it off, in the midst of all this, as I called out to the Lord to help me, I actually heard a voice say, “Rob, I’m here.” I would have been cool if it was Jesus, but it was the next best thing. It was Brad! – one of my dearest friends, and a fellow pastor. By this time I was beginning to wonder if this was all a dream, but my leg was strongly contradicting that idea. I suddenly stopped my writhing and said in disbelief, “Brad? What are you doing here?” It turns out that he was “just passing by” too. I was able to borrow Brad’s cell phone to call Karen to let her know what happened, and I was able to receive prayer and encouragement from Brad, who “just happened” to be right there on the scene. It was so strange that it was almost fun – almost. So I know exactly where God was at the time. He was right there helping me. I felt honoured, actually.

Perhaps one might wonder why, even with all the crazy post-incident care, I still got hit by the car. Was the Lord a few minutes late? Well, the street signs where I got hit didn’t say “Pearly Gates” and “Streets of Gold”. They said “St. Matthew’s” and “Dominion”. I would feel ripped off if I got hit by a car in heaven, but here on earth, bad things happen. It’s because we’re surrounded by human beings, who are constantly either making bad things happen or having bad things happen to them. It’s the way the world has been since our earliest ancestors turned their backs on God and decided to go it alone. So it’s hard to stay completely out of harm’s way in this old sinful world.  But it’s encouraging to know that the Father sent His Son Jesus to redeem us and give us another chance for a new life here, and eternal life in heaven for all who place their faith in Him.

So as I took my life’s first ambulance ride to the hospital, I wasn’t wondering where God was, or why He let me get hit by a car. I was considering His kindness to me in sparing my life, and that even though we live in a fallen and broken world, the Lord has mercy on us amidst the fallenness and brokenness. I was also thankful that, having placed my faith in Jesus, he was my Friend, faithful to walk with me through the ups and downs of life – and what a Friend!

I started to cry. The ambulance attendant asked me if there was something wrong. I said, “No. I’m just so grateful”.

The attendant probably thought that I was in shock. I may have been, but I was also seeing things more clearly than I tend to on the “normal” days. So it’s complicated, but sometimes days like last Thursday are as necessary as the normal ones.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” – Psalm 23:4a

May the Lord bless you,

Rob

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