Driving home from work last Friday was fairly uneventful. I had taken off a bit early so I could pick up some pictures of a wedding I shot last weekend. I was hoping they turned out well. I was tempted to reach over into the passenger seat where the envelope was sitting and take a peak. Nah, I'm driving. Probably shouldn't.
It was a beautiful day. Highway 10 was a little busier than normal. Lots of people heading up north for Father's Day weekend I guess. I am blessed to be able to live where I do. A state park right next to our subdivision, lots of beautiful lakes and scenery. God spent a little more time in Waupaca I think than he did creating most places. I don't have to "go up north." I'm there already. :)
Suddenly, I began to see brake lights turn red on the cars ahead of me. Not just one car but several we applying their brakes. The next thing I knew we were all at a complete standstill. Suddenly, a truck appears in my driver's side mirror - red lights flashing on top. A first responder heading for the scene of what I assumed was an accident up ahead. It was. And quite an accident too. One fatality, three others injured. The Flight For Life helicopter landed on the highway. Yeah . . . not good. Here's the full report if you'd care to read it.
Accident report by Wisconsin Rapids Tribune
When I watched the news about the accident on the TV the following morning I was able to see the contents of the car the woman who died was driving. A piece of luggage, a ball, some clothes. It was obvious the woman was headed someplace - some destination. That got me to thinking.
It could have been anyone in that SUV. It could have been me, It could have been you. "No one knows the day or the hour" as Jesus once said about the time of his return. I think the same statement holds true for our deaths. With very few exceptions, no one knows exactly when they will die.
Think about the woman who perished in that car. Maybe she was someones grandmother, heading up north to be with her new grandson, hence the ball. Or maybe she was a mom just returning from a business trip and now there's going to be a single dad trying to raise a child on his own. One thing's for sure. There is one less life in this world. The big question is, "Where are they now?" Their body is probably in a morgue someplace awaiting an autopsy, but where are they spiritually?
Life can hit us pretty hard sometimes. It hit that woman's family pretty hard this past week. Are we ready for events like that in OUR lives? Probably not.
My wife and I just got the first draft of our will in the mail a few days ago. Stuff like wills and
fatal crashes should really make us think. We begin to think about answers to questions like, "Who gets our stuff? Do we want to be buried, cremated or cryogenically frozen until a cure for what killed us can be found? Do we want a DNR (a do-not-resuscitate clause) in our will somewhere?
Those are all important questions to those who remain behind but I'm sure the person who just died couldn't care less. The important question for the dead, like the lady who died in the SUV, was "Do you know Jesus Christ and is He your Lord and Savior?" That is a VERY important question to have answered BEFORE it is YOUR time to go.
I KNOW that I am ready. My answer to the DNR question is "absolutely not!" I am SO ready to go it's scary. But what about my son and my daughter? Are they ready, spiritually? How are all of YOUR friends and relatives? Is everybody good to go in YOUR life? If not, like a few question marks in MY family, we've got some serious prayin' to do! And are we ready to explain to people the reason for the hope that we have? Do you have your testimony ready to tell?
"13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." - 1 Peter 3:13-18
Are we ready to explain why we have hope in the face of death? Can we explain the Gospel in such a way as to make someone who is perishing understand it? And will we be gentle and respectful in delivering those truths as Peter tells us to? Someone's eternal soul may depend on God using us as His witness. No pressure.
According to the Waupaca County Sherriff's Department, the woman who died was a 28-year old mother from West Bend. She was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car when it rolled. Her 8-year-old daughter survived the crash and must now go through life without a mom. Did the little girls mother know Jesus? I certainly hope so. If not, then it was truly a very sad day.
I'd like you to read something from the Book of Ezekiel . . .
"The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. 5 Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’ - Ezekiel 3:1-6
Heavenly Father, may there be no blood on OUR hands from failing to tell someone about you. I pray that we all would have the courage and the foresight to tell someone we love about your gift of grace and that we would do so today. You, God, have life-saving powers beyond our comprehension. Let us not suddenly find out that we were too late.