Close Call

Close Call (1,109)

April 7th, 2011

I was driving an old beat-up orange Volkswagen Beetle. Much of that description may be redundant considering the nature and history of that particular vehicle. It ran, but had a sticking throttle which caused it to accelerate suddenly, making it very difficult to stop. It didn’t happen all the time, but occurred enough that I was aware of its unpredictability.

One frosty, slippery morning, I needed to go out and get bread. The night before, when I arrived back at my apartment, the throttle had stuck and I was almost unable to turn off the engine without it continuing to run on its own.

In other words, I was aware of the problem. But determined to acquire my daily bread, I hopped into my dilapidated German model, started it up and headed down the road over the icy patches. I was about to arrive at a stoplight, which demanded that I cease driving, when suddenly the throttle stuck. I stepped on the brake to prevent moving forward, slid on the ice and slammed into a telephone pole.

I was not hurt. I was just angry.

At first I was angry at the car for being such a piece of crap. But eventually I wised up and realized that I was the idiot in the situation. Life gave me a warning.

I must tell you that one of my pet peeves is listening to people blame God for a tragedy when I know that all of us receive warnings—or close calls—before we are ever deluged with insurmountable difficulty. For after all, thunder usually comes before lightning, and lightning before the rain and the rain before the tornado.

There is a certain politeness to nature if we are of a mind to learn its manners. I can go back in my life and look at the times when I faced real tragedy and if I allow myself to be completely honest, I can recite to you the warnings and close calls that I received before it was taken out of my control.

I don’t like to talk about that. I don’t like to think about how dumb and stubborn I can be in order to avoid the gentle nudging of the spirit. But for those who love God and are filled with his spirit, we are normally granted a test-run on what might occur if we don’t stop some particular direction or behavior.

It is the definition of mercy and grace. It’s what some people might refer to as ESP—and if that stands for Extra Spiritual Protection, then I certainly do believe in it. It’s why there are seven warning signs for cancer, for those who actually do want to be aware. It’s why we drive down a road in a rain storm and see water rushing across the thoroughfare and decide not to go on instead of drowning our car and ourselves in the danger.

It is a close call.

How can we become more sensitive to these little nuzzlings from God’s sweet spirit?

1. Believe in them. Stop assuming that life is a crap shoot. If we are led of the spirit, we are led of the spirit. If we are not led of the spirit, we are at the mercy of chance. Just make up your mind. Which one do you really believe?

2. Since we are led of the spirit, nothing is chance. Everything is a sweet message from God to make our steps better ordered, and therefore more productive.

3. Don’t be stubborn with what you learn. If it’s a warning, it more than likely is not something with which you might agree. Take a moment. Stop being obstinate and give God a chance to teach you a pertinent lesson.

4. And finally, most of the blessings of life are things we avoided that we will never know the outcome for if we had not done so, so therefore there is not always visible proof that our caution was necessary. In other words, not being hit by a truck leaves no injury but it sure can still be a praise report of what you believe might have happened.

A close call—it is the thunder before the tornado—and if you have the sense to go inside, you won’t end up looking all wet.

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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