What if today I was planning a funeral?
Looking out the kitchen window, I saw them pulling up in front of the house, a cloud of smoke trailing behind.
Handsome, Eldest Son, and a teen-friend jumped out of the truck, threw open the tail-gate, and started throwing things from our camping trip out into the drive. Smoke and flames poured out the back end of the vehicle.
I grabbed the fire-extinguisher and came running. Before what was happening had time to sink in, it was all over.
Then as we continued unloading burned and blackened objects, it began to dawn on us more fully what almost happened.
From what we could best guess, something must have fallen to overlap the terminals on the boat battery.
As Handsome pulled out the acid leaking battery, a slightly blackened aerosol container of bug spray, an ash covered portable grill with its propane tank, the propane torch we use to start our campfires, and the gas tank for our little boat now partially melted and leaking, tears began to fill my eyes.
A few minutes later, when the adrenaline began to wear off, a friend arrived dropping off another teen. As I began to put into words what had just happened, I felt weak.
Everything was alright, but what if things had gone differently?
Had Handsome and the boys been delayed a few minutes, had they pulled over and not had an extinguisher, had any one of those flammable containers exploded…
A bit later, as the smoke cleared and the dust literally began to settle, I started to say “what could have happened”, Handsome hugged me and said, “but it didn’t”.
There is no benefit to working myself into an emotional state with vain imaginations of explosions and funerals. Why put myself through the phone call I didn’t receive, the phone calls I never had to make, the loneliness I am not experiencing… and on and on I could go?
The chain reaction of highly combustible thoughts ignited by an out of control flame of emotion can lead to an explosion of fear that destroys faith, opening a gaping void that swallows all hope, confidence, joy, and peace.
(I picture the results of fear like the Knox Mine disaster. — Once the mines, dug too close the Susquehanna River, hit the breaking point, they collapsed and 10 billion gallons of water and ice poured into the emptiness of an ever feeding whirlpool. It took 3 days of dumping railroad cars and large debris to plug the hole. — Miles and miles of anxious thinking are dug one faithless thought at a time, leaving us vulnerable to lies and doubts! Then, when trouble strikes a little “too close to home”, the weak foundation of our faith gives way, and we are caught up in the all consuming whirlpool of fear. )
I was tempted to misinterpret this event, before my husband stopped me mid-sentence and stated the truth. — I was given a glimpse of one of many dangers that my family has been spared through the protection of our Loving Father. — I will never know the evil that we have avoided through prayers and divine intervention. So, with the awareness of this Divine intervention, I choose to response by turning from “what could have been” and an endless chain of “what ifs” to adding to the ever-lengthening list of “Thank Yous”.
Thank you, Sovereign LORD, for your grace and protection this day! Thank you for Your timing that made us all aware of the tragedy You spared us. Thank YOU!
Thank You for the peace this close encounter gives me, knowing that You are always right on time, watching over, and intervening not only from physical danger but also stepping into to protect my thoughts and my faith from spiritual dangers. Were it not for You, LORD, I would be at the mercy of my fears.
(Even when trouble falls and sorrow come, You will still be there and You will still be good. You will help me and comfort me, but I will obey You and not be anxious about tomorrow. Indeed, this day has had enough trouble of its own.)
With a single word, You could take me home, or my husband, or any of my children. Yet, we are here, and You are preserving and sustaining our lives. Every breath, every heartbeat are a gift from You. I have nothing to fear with Your angels watching over, Your Spirit guiding, and Your holy presence overshadowing me. My family and I are safely hemmed in behind and before. You have placed Your hand over us as a shield.
With the knowledge of Your greatness and love, your mercy and patience, and your Fatherly bias towards my good and the worthy intention for Your own glory, I am strangely not afraid. Instead, I am in awe!
“Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.” Ps. 31:5
“…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him…” 2 Tim. 1:12
I cannot count the dangers and tragedies I have been sheltered from. Instead of asking for anything out of panic, I quiet my heart and thank You for the perspective You have brought me this day. As we hold each other closer and appreciate the brevity of life, I thank You for the privilege of being a wife and a mother for another day. Thank You, LORD!
More than just optimism, we really can learn to look at everything in life through the eyes of faith!
As Handsome said, “Well, that’s one quick way to unload the truck.”