Sunday, July 17, 2005

Believe It - Then I'll See It!

I'm sure that other Christians can relate to this. Being born-again spiritually is like an entirely new world opening up in front of our eyes. We see things in a completely new light and Christ begins his sanctification process within our hearts and minds to make us a new person. When I started looking back along the path of my journey to Christ, I see things differently than when I was actually experiencing them. The first incident that I would like to share goes way back (wayyyyy back...heh heh) when I was a teenager.

I had recently received my drivers license and wanted to drive my friend and I to a party house down at the shore. My parents said "NO"! However, I disobeyed them. They were away for the weekend so I took my dad's old clunky station wagon and took off for Belmar, N.J. with my good friend Debbie. We had a great time at the beach that day, then drove to a house that was rented out by several people whom Debbie knew. It was there that we had the opportunity to shower and change and join the others at the BBQ being held in the yard. I was only 18 at the time, and not legally eligible to drink alcohol, but there was a keg of beer and LOTS of mixed drinks available for consumption. I chose not to indulge and opted for soda. My friend Debbie had some beer, but wasn't intoxicated (unlike a LOT of the guys). We were told of another party going on a few miles away and Debbie and I decided to go check it out. When we arrived, I remember feeling uncomfortable almost immediately. It was a much older crowd and I felt out of place. I stayed for Debbie's sake because a guy she liked was there. It was getting late (almost 2 p.m.), it was raining and I was tired so I told Debbie we needed to leave.

While driving back to the other house on Rt. 35 (a divided 2 lane highway), we soon approached the next intersection where the signal light had just turned green in our direction. Just as we were entering the intersection, I glanced at Debbie (who was sitting in the front passenger seat) and saw this look of horror on her face. There wasn't any time for me to do anything, but Debbie grabbed me and pulled me over towards her on the bench seat of the station wagon. As I turned to look to my left, all I saw was a bright light beaming in the window. Less than a second later, a car crashed right into my driver side door. We spun around for what seemed like an eternity to me. I was screaming and Debbie braced herself with one hand and held onto me with the other. Our vehicle finally came to rest at the side of the road. All I could think of was, "my parents are going to kill me!" I was screaming and crying. Debbie had suffered some injuries and was bleeding and had glass stuck in her skin on her head and arms. She had hit her head on the windshield and bruised her knees, too.

The police and paramedics arrived and after hearing all the details of the accident, we found out that the teenaged girl driving the other car was drunk, had run a red light and hit me broadside. The road was slippery and that caused us to spin around.

I sat on the curb and continued to cry. I worried about disobeying my parents and totaling my dad's car. The paramedics asked if I was injured and I said no. I didn't have any injuries! If it were not for Debbie pulling me over and down on the bench seat, the huge protruding side door frame would have jammed into my side. In those years, seat belts were not mandatory yet. But I usually wore mine whenever driving or traveling in a car. That night, I must have just forgotten. If I had been belted in, that piece of metal would have penetrated my side and who knows how I would have ended up.

Debbie went to the hospital to get the glass removed, and her cuts and bruised treated. Later, she ended up having back trouble because she tensed up trying to brace herself for the impact. I remember the conversations going on all around me. The paramedics mentioned that it was a miracle that the driver wasn't killed. That's how badly the car was crushed in from the side. The police officer at the scene said something similar.

The next day at the car repair shop where they deemed that the vehicle totaled, a worker asked another guy near the car if the driver was killed in that crash. I said (sarcastically at the time), "no, I'm right here!" All I could think of was how my parents were going to react! I got tired of hearing all these people saying it was a miracle that I wasn't killed. Actually, it was a miracle! If you had seen this car and the damage done to the driver's side, you would have thought the same thing. But I was an angry, scared, impatient teenager dreading the moment I had to face my parents when they arrived to take me home. So, I wasn't paying any attention to all this "miracle" talk.

That horrible experience turned me into a defensive driver for the rest of my life. I have even told my kids that a stop light or stop sign is NOT a barrier and even when you have the right of way, ALWAYS look both ways when crossing an intersection.

But even more importantly, I realized that God protected me throughout the entire ordeal. I didn't recognize His grace towards me at the time, but later, it became very clear. All that talk (which I rejected at the time) about my survival of that accident being a miracle was true. All of the little details added up to my surviving that accident. Details such as not wearing a seat belt that day; Debbie just happened to be looking my way and saw the drunk driver headed towards us; she instantly grabbed me and pulled me over to her side of the car; the slippery road lessened the impact; the fact that this old station wagon was like a tank and we were protected by the older framing cage of the car; are just a few of the details that saved me. I wasn't a Christian yet and it wasn't my time. The Lord had work for me to do.

I was destined to marry, have two children and sit here today to type this out for many to read. God has a plan for each of us. Even though I disobeyed my parents and in addition, sinned against God through my disobedience, God turned this terrible incident for good. He is a redeeming God! He desires us to know Him through his Son, Jesus Christ and He desires us to all be redeemed and adopted into His family as children.

Back when this accident happened, I didn't know Christ yet, hadn't confessed all my sins yet, hadn't asked for forgiveness of all my sin yet, hadn't asked Jesus Christ into my heart yet, hadn't received the mercy and grace given of God through salvation in my life yet. But God had a plan for me. He has a plan for you, too. I hope and pray that one day (if you are reading this and you haven't already) you will recognize who Jesus is and what he has done for you at the cross.

The following Charles Stanley Devotional tells us how we can be sure of our eternal security in Jesus Christ!

Eternal Life: You Can Be Sure
1 John 5:13
Salvation is eternally linked to Jesus Christ. It was His death on Calvary’s Cross that paid the penalty for our sin. Nothing we do can equal what Jesus did for us. This is why the apostle Paul writes that salvation is a gift.

The word grace also is linked to the message of salvation. The grace of God is His goodness manifested toward us. No one, on his own, is worthy of God’s salvation. "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him" (Isaiah 53:6).

We are saved by God’s grace–His goodness demonstrated toward us. And those God saves He keeps. He will not cast us away or refuse us the love that He so willingly gives. However, believers need to be mindful that sin steals the joy that salvation brings.

Even if you have known Christ for many years, sin will darken your life and blind you to the wonder of God’s grace. After his sin with Bathsheba, David prayed: "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation" (Psalm 51:12).

Joy is the evidence of God’s work in our lives. Sin brings His displeasure and judgment, but obedience brings joy to our hearts. David did not ask God merely to make him happy. He prayed for the restoration of joy, which was more than an emotional expression. It is the evidence of a heart that found its contentment in God.
This Month’s Devotionals
Copyright © 2005 IN TOUCH Magazine. In Touch Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

IN TOUCH® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, used with permission. All rights reserved. This content and more resources can be found on http://www.intouch.org/.

3 comments:

On_Fire_For_God said...

Thank you Christine for this great story of God's Grace in your life. Isn't it amazing how He "forknows" everything, eventhough you had not been saved yet. He, already knowing your eternal future, saw fit to spare your life.
What a wonderful thing it is to know that He has a plan for everyone,
and it is already set into motion prior to your salvation.
Praise the Lord! Alleluja!
Lepido (On_Fire_For_God)

Anna said...

Hi Christine -

I think we will all be surprised at the number of times God intervened to protect us not just the ones we know about. I've often said that the angels go on high alert when I get into a car!

I'm thankful to the Lord you were protected!

Blessings,
Anna

life's journey said...

Great post. God is so good! What saddens me are those who claim to be Christian, yet they show no good fruit. They claim the name of Christ yet they seem lost as anything. This jadedandopinionated woman is a very sad example. She knocks and makes fun of you and others like this Thomas (if she is a true Christian, she probably never read "division among the brethren is an abomination according to God.") She hates when anyone else talks about Jesus. Why? Why is it she comes across so angry at Christians, at the world, at her family, at life and probably even at God? Why is she obsessed with you? Maybe because you have what she doesn't? Is it broken dreams in her life? (I think she once tried to be a singer and it didn't work.) Unhappiness with her life? I truly feel sad when I read her mother knocked her teeth out. That was horrible especially by her own mother. A bar of soap though for a second may have been appropriate {I've experienced that.} By her own mouth she denies the Lord she claims to know. Please keep this woman who is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders in your prayers. It is not religion she needs, but a saving relationship with Jesus. God wishes that none of us should perish, but that all should come to everlasting life. Just look at how much mercy and love he had for us. Only God knows our souls' condition. I will not judge. I can only go by what I read and it is sad. Just remember Christ said if they hated me, they will hate you. Much blessings to you and thanks for your encouraging testimonies.