Yesterday I was driving Dw’s little car with Birdie and Ruby in the back seat. We had swapped cars and carseats downtown as I headed toward home with our two littlest daughters. Dw had stayed with our other six kids to bring home in the big van when they were done.
The trip to our home meant I had to get on the freeway. Frankly I hate the freeways and try to avoid them at all costs. I have been way too close to way too many accidents while on the freeways. One day I even saw two cars collide in the two lanes next to me while pieces of their automobile flew off and hit my windshield and hood. And almost every time I am on the freeways I am dumbfounded how ridiculous people can be as they recklessly put their own lives in danger as well as all the rest of us while dangerously weaving through gobs of traffic!
So it was that yesterday as I slowly merged onto the freeway I noticed the afternoon traffic was already pretty heavy and rush hour hadn’t even officially started. I thought I should probably get over into the HOV lane but paused as I suddenly felt I shouldn’t (now in hindsight, it was clearly the Lord). I thought it was weird how I felt such a hesitancy since I usually always drive in the HOV lane (even on the hours that it doesn’t matter) as usually it feels safer to me. But yesterday I knew I should just stay put.
As I got up to cruising speed, suddenly I noticed two cars in the right exit lanes a few car lengths in front of me putting their brakes on. I thought, “That’s weird.” Of course I slowed instantly and as I did immediately the cars in front of me started braking.
In seconds all the cars across all the lanes of traffic had come to a complete stop, I couldn’t imagine what was happening, other than it must be an accident but I couldn’t see anything in front of the stopped cars so for a split second I actually wondered if a mama duck was crossing the freeway with her babies (obviously probably zero chance in Phoenix), but so weird how our mind can think.
BUT imagine my shock when I realized that it was actually a car driving north on our southbound side!
A small silver car was actually in the HOV lane heading straight toward us…the same HOV lane that I would normally have gotten over and into! I was now completely stopped, but trust me, unsuspecting cars were speeding toward all of us and I kept checking my rear view mirror. Thankfully I was two lanes over from the HOV…but oh my word – it was so surreal and terrifying.
The wrong way driver must have realized he was on the wrong side and suddenly stopped, but probably impaired he tried to turn around and while attempting to back up he slammed his rear end into the cement wall median and then with his car perpendicular to traffic he had gotten out of his car. It was beyond belief. Because I was not in the HOV lane I was able to get around and moving past him with hands shaking I quickly called 9-11.
All that to say, in an instant our lives could have changed drastically yesterday.
Just like that.
I shudder to think what might have been if I had moved over to the HOV lane like I always do.
Or what if I had been texting or looking at my phone? (I don’t ever!) But what if I had?
Friends, yesterday was a fresh reminder that life can change in the blink of an eye. We don’t really think of that though. We tend to think we’ll do this tomorrow and that next summer and then something else the following year. Yet there is no promise of tomorrow or even of tonight.
So in all love and kindness, listen up….maybe you are withholding love from your spouse because they irritate you – just stop! Maybe you are not talking to a friend or your parents or your neighbor because they hurt your feelings or a myriad of other possibilities…if you are upset with anyone, get it right, pray and move on. And your kids?? Yeah, I know. But if your kids are aggravating the daylights out of you, pause and look at them – really look at them – not too long ago they were helplessly cuddled in your arms – remember that? Every single one of them is an incredible gift, no matter how annoying, upsetting, belligerent, disobedient or hurtful they might be in this season. Deliberately and intentionally love them anyway.
And lastly, if I had been killed on the freeway yesterday, I know with 100% certainty where I would have instantly gone – to be with my precious Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. One day, many years ago, I heard the story of Jesus. I heard how He had come to earth to bear the weight of our sins so we wouldn’t have to live an eternity separated from God. At my young age I understood my need for a Savior and I began to weep. I knew I had already done some very sinful things and more than anything I knew my life was a wreck. Right then and there I prayed and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to please come into my heart. That day I was set free!! I can remember it like it was yesterday and even though I was young, I understood. I can confidently say that Jesus has never left my side. He has been astoundingly faithful. My life was still very painful as I still lived at home, but I now had Jesus to talk to all day and all night long. He never left me. And to this day, He is still my faithful best friend, my constant companion, my peace-giver, my comfort, the one I whisper to all day long and who whispers back, the one I worship and praise for His goodness to me. I shudder to think what my life would have been like if I had not asked Jesus to come into my heart.
So now I ask…if you were in the HOV lane yesterday, do you know for certain where you would spend eternity? If you don’t, you can know with 100% assurance. Questions….email me: APlaceCalledSimplicity@yahoo.com. He longs for you to come into a personal relationship with Him and to give you the peace you long for.
PS. I need to think of something to put in our Memorial Box to remind us how close we came to have our lives change forever. Maybe a little silver car.