A few years ago, I was in a car accident that totaled our two-month old Impala and left me with bad neck pain and car anxiety that makes my husband crazy. I can’t decide if his driving was always so erratic, if he always hit the brakes so late and seemed otherwise preoccupied before my accident, or if it really is just the residual fear from the wreck.
I remember clearly driving around the bend on the interstate, going about 55 miles per hour, and seeing a maroon car a couple of lanes to the right spin out across the lanes, and into mine. I hit the brakes, but there was no way to avoid her. Luckily, I had the wherewithal to hit the back rear panel of her car, rather than the passenger door, or it’s possible she may not have left the accident uninjured. I don’t know.
Thank goodness none of us were injured. My two-year old, asleep in the backseat, awoke screaming in terror. Even our Pointer Bulldog mix, who slammed into the back of my seat upon impact, walked away only a bit shaken up and without a scratch on him. No one in the other cars were injured either.
When I’d tell people about the accident, they’d so often reply with, “God was looking out for you, girl!”
It was really hard for me not to roll my eyes when I heard that, and I’d reply, “Isn’t He always?” I mean, if I had died in that accident, would we suddenly assume God was asleep on the job? Or maybe He was too busy checking Twitter to pay attention to me?
I don’t think so.
At that time, I wasn’t even kind of into God, except that I believed God is everywhere and “he’s” an all-encompassing Universal Energy (I still believe this, actually), but for some reason, I had to take a stand for God, even back then. God always has my back and always will.
I can’t stand when people act like God only watches over us when things go our way.
I’ve always been of the mind the She’s always watching over us, regardless of outcome and the problem is not and has never been Her, but Us, the lowly humans who are too wrapped up in this moment, this body, this scary situation, or whatever, to trust and have faith.
I recently watched a great show that starred Bill Murray, a man I hope to meet one day while strolling down the streets in Charleston, SC – I plan to photobomb him photobombing someone else. That’s my daydream…call me weird. Anyway, on that show, he begged the question: What is good?
When something happens that we hope will happen, we consider it good, but if we don’t get our way, we consider it bad. I guess it makes sense. Even toddlers grasp this idea. However, there are so many times that things have gone my way and later I realized maybe it wasn’t so good. Other times, things have been seriously shitty and eventually, a lot of excellent things came into my life as a result.
What is good and why do we assume we know what God has in store for us when He clearly states that his ways are not our ways?
Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, saith The Lord.” KJV
Who are we to think we know what the big plan is? And why do we insist on needing to know? Is it simply our human fear that makes us feel this way. I think it is for me. When things are going nuts in my life, or at least they seem to be going nuts to me, I feel the need to control things around me. I frantically clean my house from top to bottom. In the car, I white knuckle the Oh Shit Bar, as if this is going to help me in the event of an accident. I threaten my daughter with groundings when she’s going off the wall.
All of these are vain attempts to control something that feels out of control to me. I can’t trust and have faith that things are happening exactly as they are meant to. I can’t trust that there is something bigger coming. I can’t trust that the world crumbling around me might be making way for something bigger in my life.
I’m learning that God is always looking out for us. He’s looking out for me and damn if I know why. I am the last person I’d honestly expect him to pay attention to. While I’ve always proclaimed a love of Jesus, all the other stuff just seemed like crap to me, not going to lie. And nothing made me run from God more than the church, let me tell you…the very people telling me that God was looking out for me during my accident.
Yea. Sure he was.
He always is.
It’s amazing how that comment surprised so many Christians. I didn’t understand it, but it seems the more I learn and the more I read my Bible, the more I get where they’re coming from. There seems to be this culture of prosperity happening in churches and while I’m not against prosperity, I think it’s a slippery slope to be on, because there’s a fine line between Faith and entitlement.
Recently, I was reading something someone posted to Facebook and it said something like, “That medical diagnosis? God’s got it,” and I wondered about the woman reading it who’s daughter may have cancer and I hoped that she wouldn’t lose faith if the outcome wasn’t what she expected. I hoped that when she read that she’d simply trust that God has it taken care of, no matter what. I also hope that she believes that her faith can heal her daughter.
Oh Lord, so many of you all are going to let me have it over this one. I can feel it already, whether you comment or not. You’re going to declare: Only in Jesus’ name! GOD heals, not us!
And I’d say…that’s not what I’m reading. In Matthew, Jesus told the disciples they could heal others by their faith. He told them over and over that one day he’d not be here on earth to heal the sick that they had to do it by their faith. It was their unbelief that prevented them from performing the miracles he authorized them to perform. They were mere humans, just like you and me. Shaky in their faith, even when The Son was standing right in front of them. I can relate to them so much.
Once, they were asked to help heal a young boy and couldn’t and they went to Jesus anxiously and begged him to help them.
Matthew 17: 19-20: “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of you unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” KJV
Some will then say: The mountain is metaphorical. And that may be true and we can only take from the Bible and other religious works what we are ready to hear and learn.
I don’t think it really matters. If it’s a metaphorical mountain, there are definitely times in my life when I get so caught up in the situation that I can’t see past it. I wander around lost in the dark and worry about what I should do, when all I need to do is have faith and keep working and keep moving forward and trust that God’s got it.
Otherwise, I am sure to fall prostrate to the challenge and perhaps never get up again.
I still struggle with riding in a car, but I’m okay with driving. Again, it’s that control thing. I’m still a slave to that moment – that few seconds of terror on the interstate that day. It grips me very much the same way it did at that moment, albeit a little more loosely. I’m still working on myself and trust that one day, I’ll not feel that fear anymore. I remind myself that my perspective isn’t necessarily Truth. It’s a memory and all memories are false to an extent. We see life as we want to see it. Here’s an example…
Right after the wreck a light drizzle started. I was holding my daughter in my arms and she pointed off to the horizon and said, “Look, a rainbow, Mommy!” And sure enough, in the sky, a rainbow had formed.
Her version of the story is this: “Mommy, remember that time we spun around in the car really fast and then we saw a rainbow?”
Same incident; different perspective. Each as close to the truth as the other.
We see the world as we want to see it. We can either have faith that everything is working out, regardless of the outcome, even as we hold loosely to our plans, or we can tighten our grip on an idea we think is good and thus miss out on the rainbow that’s waiting to greet us after the storm.
Either way, I believe God has our backs. She’s watching over us.
And everything is going to be alright, as long as we believe.