Learning from life’s close calls

Published 4:49 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2019

By Roger Campbell

Christian Columnist

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“Now may your guardian angel be at the wheel!”

Those words were part of a prayer offered by my father-in-law while standing beside our car as Pauline and I prepared to leave central New York, heading home after a family get-together.  We had no way of knowing how quickly his prayer would be needed and answered.  Less than thirty minutes later, our lives would be in jeopardy.

When the traffic signal ahead turned green at a busy intersection, we started to proceed, unaware of the speeding car bearing down on us from our left; the careless driver having completely ignored the red light warning him to stop and give northbound traffic the right-of-way.

  “Roger!” my frightened wife exclaimed; the urgency in her voice causing me to glance to my left in time to see a speeding car bearing down on us, soon to strike us broadside.  I had but a split-second to decide whether to hit the brake or the accelerator and, thankfully, chose the brake.  The other driver veered left and roared past us.

  Had I decided to accelerate, there would have been a terrible crash, the twisting of metal, the sounds of sirens, probable hospitalization and possibly death.  All of these terrible consequences of reckless driving would have taken place within minutes of the time we had been safely embracing loved ones, finding it difficult to leave and wondering when we would be together again.

  We had been the youngest of those gathered in New York for that special time with our family, yet had left, apart from God’s protection, the closest to death.

You probably remember some close call, a brush with death.  Just thinking about it conjures up scenes of a near auto accident, swimming to shore from an overturned boat, missing a plane that crashed or surviving some deadly disease.

  The Psalmist understood close calls and wrote the following prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance from them:  “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.  Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from destruction” (Psalm 103:2-4), a prayer I quote every morning to start my day praising instead of pouting.

While many of us remember close calls, it’s likely we’re delivered daily from unknown dangers.  God lovingly guides us through minefields of destruction even when we’re not aware of His protection.  And this raises an important question:  Why has God spared you and me while others have lost their lives in similar situations?

The obvious answer is that we have work to do.

We don’t have time to pine, pout or nurse wounded feelings.  Life’s too precious to squander on trivial pursuits.  The time we have left must be invested in doing things that make a difference and have eternal value.

Several missionaries were being transported down the Amazon River.  The captain of the boat kept warning them about the dangers ahead and couldn’t understand their courage in the face of danger.  “We died before we left,” one of them explained.

Having faced death and survived, let’s live each day for the glory of God.

Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.