A friend shared with me about a car accident in which his teenage son was recently involved. The unique thing about this accident is that it occurred immediately following the vehicle purchase and happened a mere three miles from the sales lot. I doubt if the engine even had time to warm itself. Thankfully, there were no injuries sustained by the people involved – which is more than can be said for the now newly-totaled vehicle.
Another interesting thing about this happening is that right before my friend’s son pulled out of the lot, his father warned him about the propensity of this particular vehicle to “handle in rain like other vehicles handle on ice.” The father’s warnings were listened to halfheartedly as the son interrupted the warnings with an exasperated, I know, Dad. I know.
Unfortunately, his knowing and his reacting to what he supposedly “knew” were on two different levels. Later, when he was describing the accident to his dad, he actually (and most likely, unthinkingly) restated his father’s warnings when he declared, “It was like the car was on ice!”
The father couldn’t help but point out that this was precisely what he had been attempting to warn his son about in the first place. But because the son was only half-listening, the warning went unheeded. Instead of taking his father’s advice into account, the son failed to maintain proper assured clear distance from the vehicle slowing in front of him as his new car slid out of control on a wet road.
The whole scenario reminds me of how quickly my own life careens out of control when I fail to heed my heavenly Father’s warnings. Thinking that I already “know” the risks involved, like an excited teenager, I halfheartedly listen to the counsel of the One who has only my good in mind. Instead of granting God my full attention, I listen with half an ear while my thoughts are already revving the engine of my new sports car and pulling out of the lot. Not once do I stop to consider that I could be among the statistics of a spiritual accident in the making.
After all, warnings are meant for careless people. Signs are posted for those who do not know the way. I know the commandments. I know that I’m called to love… warned to practice patience… to think on things that are pure and honorable… advised to flee even the very appearance of evil… I know, Dad. I know.
And God watches me pull away, knowing full-well that I have no intention of following His advice. By not listening, I am proving that it is only a matter of time before the unthinkable happens. Only a matter of miles before I will slide into temptation. Only a few more moments before I surrender my rights to the kingdom and fall into the first trap that is laid to ensnare me.
Could it be that 1 Corinthians 10:12 was placed in the Bible expressly for people like me?
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
All too often, I forget that my enemy is very real. I neglect to remember that Satan hates those whom the Father loves. That nothing brings him greater pleasure than setting me up for an accident even as he seeks to steal, to kill, and to destroy all that God deems as precious. Instead of contemplating the warnings to proceed with caution, I gun it through the yellow light as I speed to experience the fullness of a life that, much too quickly, becomes a blur. A life that, in the blink of an eye, slips out of control like a Ford Mustang on slick roads.
Thankfully, my Father God provides the very best form of insurance known to man. And even when my life seems to be a totaled wreck, He is able to repair and restore all the broken pieces. For God’s policy begins and ends with grace.
Grace to continue to speak warnings to a heart that is, more often than not, anything but attentive. Grace to hand me the keys to a kingdom far more valuable than any automobile. Grace that covers me against the liability of hell. Grace to entrust me with His love, knowing all along that I will sometimes fling it into the gutters of life. Grace to reach out, time after time, and come to my rescue.
Because, despite His warnings to “live carefully,” my Father knows that I will most likely become involved in an accident in the near future.
Thankfully, His grace will still be there to offer the way of escape… again.