Oh, how terrible, a friend said when she heard – but really yesterday was a wonderful day! It was a day when I got to experience God’s love in so many ways! And his grace – his loving fatherly provision for me even though the crash was my fault. I’m in tears writing this now – it really is the most wonderful, overwhelming thing ever, that God chooses to show me grace and love and mercy despite my faults, despite my sin, despite everything wrong I’ve thought and said and done in my whole life – and that is a very long list! This is something I already knew about God, but yesterday I had so many tangible reminders…
Starting with the fact that no one was hurt. Not just that I personally wasn’t injured, but the other driver, and his daughter who was with him in the car – would I want their injuries, or worse, on my conscience, even for one minute? Thank God they were fine.
And the other driver was so gracious. He could have yelled at me, but he was nice and understanding and pleasant. Even to the extent that after we exchanged details, he asked: are you ok to get home? This is just awesome. Why should he care? I’m the one who turned into a main road without realising there’s a car coming from my right (a sharp lesson for me and a challenge to change a driving habit I didn’t realise I’d acquired – apparently I don’t always look right again after looking right and left, which is just so obviously stupid…) and caused damage to his car, shook his daughter up, and made them late for whatever they were on their way to. He could have let a whole load of anger out at me, but God arranged for me to collide into a person who had it in him to be gracious.
And sometime later, when I had finally got through to the RAC and was arranging for my car to be towed (because it wasn’t drivable), a lady who lives in one of the houses nearby came over to ask if I wanted a hot cup of tea or coffee – she’d seen me there with my hazard lights on and came out to offer a gesture of kindness and care.
The super awesome bit though was when the RAC van arrived and I wasn’t there… sorry, that was a plot spoiler… let me rewind: the RAC lady told me she’d arrange for a tow but it could take up to three hours. She said they’d ring me when they’re 20 minutes away, so I could go find somewhere warm to wait and I’d have enough time to get back to the car. Trouble was, I didn’t think to check the ringtone volume on my phone before I got out of the car and started the ten-minute walk to the nearest Starbucks. So I’m at Starbucks, just sitting down to enjoy my toasted cream cheese & smoked salmon bagel, and I check my voicemail… and it’s the RAC man saying “be with you very soon”… So I grab my lunch and rush back to the car, walking as fast as I can… and at first I’m thinking: what if I miss them? Then I’m reminded that God is sovereign, he’s in control of all of this and whatever happens, I can trust him to bring good out of it.
I get back to the car and find my husband there. I’d phoned him earlier and at some point, unbeknownst to me, he’d decided to put on his waterproofs and jog to where I was. (Another thing to thank God for – that this happened close enough to home, so he could!) (and that I had a rain coat with me. because it was a very wet and windy morning.) So, where was I? Ah yes, I’d worried about what if I miss them, but my husband was there to talk to the RAC guy and to fill me in when I got there. Because yes, God is in control of everything and – I keep coming back to this in my mind and whooping with joy: he loves me and provides for me even though it was my fault!
That’s where I was at yesterday – very much on cloud 9. But today I found myself grumbling: about the frustrations of difficult phone calls, dealing with insurance companies, trying to get the car fixed, struggling with communication with someone on the phone who has an accent I find nigh impossible to understand, etc etc etc… When really, this collision was my fault… This is so very much the human way – we’re the ones who rebelled against God and caused a perfect world to turn into a mess, but we grumble about the consequences…
And people even have the audacity to blame God for our misery – instead of being grateful that he doesn’t leave us in the mess we made, but offers us salvation! Instead of standing there, arms on hips, lips pursed, saying “you made your bed…” – he sent his Son to die for us, so we can have life! Eternal life, forgiveness of all our sins, adoption into God’s family, intimate relationship with him, a totally 100% sure promise that when we die we go to the best place ever and we get to spend eternity with Jesus, and all of this totally undeserved, unearned, unconditional!
The world around us may judge us by our actions and our attitudes. The world may react differently when I tell them about this car crash, which was my fault, to when they heard about the one I had last year – last year’s crash would more naturally elicit compassion, whereas yesterday’s collision can easily get people saying: how could you be so stupid? so irresponsible? But God isn’t like that. God says: I know what you’re like, and I love you anyway. And I sent my Son to die to take the punishment you deserve. For everything.