At one point I made a handwritten list of all the times I almost could have died over the decades. After I filled the entire front of that sheet of paper, I started feeling incredibly depressed, crumpled up the sheet and threw it away.
True, I can't outpaced Agent 007, but it sometimes feels that way.
Much worse, however, was almost losing my wife, Renée, 20 months ago here in Portland. It was late. Renée was heading toward downtown to pick up our son and his girlfriend after a formal dance. A woman from out of town pulled off the freeway, missed the signs, turned onto a one-way, quickly sped up and smashed right into the front end of Renée's car. Air bags saved both of their lives, but Renée was cut and severely bruised and found herself trapped inside mangled metal and shattered glass with the smell of smoke filling the air. Try as she might, Renée couldn't get the driver's door open. She pounded and sobbed but couldn't get the passenger door open. Desperate, she climbed into the back seat. The door on her left wouldn't open either. The smell of smoke kept getting stronger. Finally, the door on her right budged a bit. She kicked it open, crawled out of the car and started weeping.
This next Sunday is Easter Resurrection Sunday. It's not always chocolate and bunnies. Sometimes God breaks our heart. He allows our lives to be shattered. He permits grievous mayhem and loss. A belief in resurrection "some day" must be replaced by the hope and prayer for resurrection "today." And if not, we keep hoping and praying for it "tomorrow" and tomorrow and tomorrow.
No matter what our past experiences, current circumstances and future prospects, I'm so glad we always can thank God for His sovereignty (greatness), providence (goodness), holiness (glory), love (graciousness) and mystery (God only knows). Without that, I don't know how Renee and I would have survived the crushing trials, enormous losses, and wrenching sorrows that have been ours to experience and endure and persevere through.
Many have asked how we've kept the faith. It's not because this life is easy. Instead, it's because we know we can trust God as He is (not how we wonder or wish or want Him to be). Every day, and that includes "today," we can enjoy His gifts of faith, hope, love, joy and peace...