Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Last Night’s Brush with Death

Last night.
11 p.m.
Route 33, a winding road in rural central Kentucky.

The loud crunch and jolt snapped my drowsy head backwards, forcing my eyes open just in time to see her flying through the air.

She gazed into our headlights as her entire body contorted and spun 360 degrees, and she flailed fluidly as if she was part of a slow-motion sports replay. The last I saw of her was her large brown eyes, as her neck and head gracefully arched backwards, and she seemed to be asking us, “Why?”

“Where did she come from?”

“From your side. She just darted out, and there was nothing I could do.”

Brent continued to drive, and we each craned to see what kind of damage she’d done to the front of the car.

“Do you think we should pull over? Do you think she’s dead?”

“I think we should get home, and I don’t know if she’s dead.”

“Oh, I hope she’s dead. I hope we killed her instantly.”

It’s not a conversation you’d expect to be having after a family outing. We’d just attended opening night for the Lexington Legends, our minor league baseball team. We’d experienced a full-bore American evening, starting with ball park hot dogs and cotton candy, to a stunningly-sung Star Spangled Banner, to the home team’s win, to a shimmering shower of fireworks.

It was a school night, but we love going to the ball park and decided it would be worth it.

And the evening was nothing short of perfect. Kind strangers sitting next to us caught a fly ball, and then they gave it to Neil.

Plus, we were coming off of an Easter high – not from all the candy we’d consumed, but from a wonderful day at Quest Community Church (but that’s for another blog entry!).

Ironically, though, I’d started yesterday pondering death.

Maybe it was because we had been consumed for the past week with Jesus’s crucifixion and with the miracle at the tomb. Maybe it was because I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from our friends at Voice of the Martyrs about some Christians suffering great persecution. Maybe it was because that very morning, I had been studying the seven churches in the book of Revelation and thinking about end times. Or, maybe, it was because of an unsettling conversation I’d had with my mom, who expressed that she feared I’d die before she does if I don’t take better care of my health.

As we sat in the ball park watching the fire works, I was literally thinking to myself, “We are as frail as the dust on that first base. We could go at any moment. I’m so happy I’m enjoying this time with my family.”

If we were to call yesterday my last day on earth, at least it was a good way to end it.

But it wasn’t our time to die.

The deer that ran into our car’s path slid onto the hood, then went flying through the air before she landed in the ditch. Anything could have happened. Her hooves could have come through the windshield and kicked our faces. We were going at least 55 miles per hour on that two-lane road, so at a minimum, the speed should have forced her entire body into our laps on the front seat.

It was as if a Hand reached down and gently slid her off of the car. For whatever reason, the angels were sent to surround us and keep us safe.

We’re not scratched. We’re not sore. Our child continued to sleep in the back seat, held firm by his booster strap. Brent continued to drive. We pulled into our driveway, physically shaking, but other than that, as if nothing had happened.

As I laid my head onto my pillow, I thought, “We should at least be in the hospital … or we could have been in body bags. We shouldn’t be home tonight.”

Why does God allow us to escape unscathed in some situations, but allow for us to suffer or die in others?

This is a question that I will continually ponder until I can see His face and ask Him myself.

In the meantime, today I am grateful for the treasure of breath in my lungs, whole and healthy family members … but most importantly, for the knowledge that if we had all three lost our lives, we all three would be in Jesus’s arms right now.

Do you have that knowledge? If today would be your last day on earth, are you certain that you’d wake to see Him smiling into your eyes?

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