Freeway Miracle or Old-Man Driving Habits?
Driving on California freeways is like a dyslexic playing Russian roulette—where the gun has one empty chamber instead of five. Yep, the odds are stacked against you on the Golden State’s pristine avenues of death and dismemberment. I was reminded of this a week ago when traveling eastbound on a local stretch of freeway. Traffic was thick and moving at a brisk pace, which is to say everyone was breaking the speed limit with reckless abandon. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flicker of red brake lights far ahead of the cars in front of me. Either instinct or an angel’s suggestion prompted me to take my foot off the accelerator. No sooner had I done this when instantly all the brake lights of the cars in front of me came on. I hit the brakes while the three cars directly in front of me plowed into each other in an explosive crash that deployed air bags and sent car parts rocketing in all directions. I screeched to a stop inches behind the last car in the pile up. (Where is my GoPro when I need it?) Car enthusiasts brag about vehicles that can go from 0 to 60 mph in mere seconds. Let me tell you, it is way more important to go from 75 to 0 mph in mere seconds.
Was my near miss on the freeway a miracle? If you are a Pentecostal, you’d probably say yes. If you are a Baptist, no. If you are a Lutheran, maybe. Joking aside, I don’t know for certain if it was a miracle. But when I consider my age and declining reflexes, I think it must have been a miracle. On the other hand, I drive like an old coot that rarely tailgates. Perhaps my curmudgeonly driving habits finally paid off. If it was a miracle, I give God all the credit.
After thinking about the almost crash for a few days, I was reminded of James 1:17 where we are told that every good and perfect gift comes to us from God in heaven. We have a tendency in the West to think of gifts as material things. But maybe heavenly gifts are more often as simple as God intervening to keep us from plowing into an accident on the freeway. For that I am very, very grateful. It also came to me that the miracle might not have been for me, it might have been for the lady in the car in front of me. In any case, it should give us goosebumps to think that the God of the universe cares enough to personally intervene in the course of daily life to keep us safe. He does not always intervene, but not because he does not love us. Though it can make us uncomfortable, his ways are mysterious to mortals. And for an instant on the freeway last week, I stepped into that mystery.
By the way, no one was seriously injured in the accident.