Thoughts on My Car Wreck

Thoughts on My Car Wreck

I’ll never forget the night I crashed my truck. I was speeding home from Portland to John Day on December 31st. Although it was a warm winter, the roads were icy in some places. It was after dark and I had no one in front of me. I wasn’t paying attention to how fast I was going, descending into Cottonwood Canyon between Wasco and Condon. By the time I hit a 35 mph curve, I was at 75 mph. I lost control, spun, overcorrected, and smashed into a makeshift rock bank, one tire dangling 200 feet above the canyon floor.

I share this because I remember how scared I was to take my eyes off the danger ahead of me. As I was spinning and turning, my arms, legs and eyes all had frozen on the looming edge of the canyon. I did exactly what they teach not to do—I looked where the danger was, not where I wanted to go.

Such is life. How often does a coach tell his team whose ahead in the fourth quarter, “Don’t play not to lose; play to win!” Or consider the maxim: If you aim to not hit the target, you’ll miss the target, every time.

My encouragement to you and me is to focus on playing to win; specifically, in trying to hit the bull’s eye. Because our bodies go in the direction of our eyes.

Consider Peter. When he stepped out of the boat, into the storm, there was only one place in the entire earth, and the heavens, that was safe for him to look. It was at Jesus. Anywhere else, and he’d be swamped, which in fact is what happened to him as he became afraid of the storm. If he had remembered to trust in Jesus before him, he would have managed to arrive safely at his Teacher, and then, in that arrival, praise Him.

The wonderful thing is, is that Jesus rescued him even though he didn’t look at Him. And I’m thankful that God spared me on that night when I did everything I shouldn’t have done to keep me safe, and everything besides to end my life haplessly.

The point is, even when we go where we shouldn’t, God is still there to pull us back to Him.

But imagine the quality of life we might have if we were intent to keep Jesus in our bull’s eye? To pursue Him relentlessly, as if He alone were the championship we’re suffering for all season? To omit fear and hear His voice and go, with great courage, trusting that He knows the way out, to let go and put our life in His hands?

I suppose we’d feel joy. All the time.

Jesus made the path to life a safe one—though our little boats are battered by storm and ice, we are safe in Him. In His sacrifice. In His love. In His arms. May our actions follow our faith. May we go toward the One who has saved His children from peril. On this day, and in the days of this Fall, and through every wreck we may encounter until God calls us home.

It’s comforting to think that Jesus Christ has made each of us His bull’s eye. There is not a storm ever imagined in heaven or in hell that will ever prevent Him from keeping His eyes on His target. You and me.

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