Over the last few months or so I have noticed an increase in incidents of drivers running amber and red lights at a main intersection on my way to work, as well as a number of near misses with passengers for the tram as drivers fail to stop. I don’t understand why people are rushing to get to work in this time of a pandemic, but seemingly they are.
So as a result of my observation, when the lights signal green for me to go, I have taken to delaying entering the intersection. I double check again that any traffic present has come to a complete stop, and then I enter the intersection with extra caution, just in case someone should run the red light via an empty lane.
This morning it was 6:20am, when I pulled up at the intersection described above. It’s still dark and the road is wet from the early morning rain. On my left there are no trams, there is traffic in both lanes at a complete stop, and there is no traffic on my right. Their traffic light is well and truly red, and mine has been green for some seconds, so I drive out entering the intersection to turn right.
In that moment while I’m in the middle of the intersection, crossing the tram tracks, I see the blinding headlights of a vehicle to my right, on the inside lane, coming straight at me FAST ! It all happened so quickly and yet it felt like I was in a slow motion scene of a movie. His (or her) brakes screaming, his wheels smoking! As I saw him sliding through the intersection I caught a glimpse of his vehicle, a utility tray truck coming straight at my driver door of my little two door hatchback.
In that moment, feeling ‘cool as a cucumber’, I remember thinking: “Gently accelerate and get out of his way.” which in hindsight is a surreal memory, because I think my usual response under such circumstances would be to plant my foot in panic. But on a wet road across tram tracks, who knows where that might have landed me. In any case, my gentle acceleration meant that we each continued through the intersection, in our opposite directions, without making contact.
As I pulled up at the next set of traffic lights, my witnesses soon pulled up behind me. I wanted to get out and say “Did you see that !” (because obviously they had) but I remained in my car.
Further along on my way to work, while stopped at another set of traffic lights, I noticed the number plate on the car in front of me:
. . . and I thought . . . indeed WHY ARE YOU ‘ERE, I do not know? Other than that I am ‘ere, sitting behind ‘you’ on my way to work – which I’m currently very thankful for. But I do know HOW I am here . . . by the grace of God and His armour of protection around me.
I know this because in the moments before this ‘near miss’ took place, I had just started my morning prayer – an audio recording of ‘The Armour of God.’ Since the start of the pandemic this has been something I like to put on every morning on my way to work. Because I believe that after doing what I can do in applying wisdom to follow the hygiene guidelines, the rest is up to God. All the things that I don’t have control over in this time (in any time), I have faith to believe that God is in control, and so this is one way that I seek His help through this prayer of declaration.
It was just as I was entering the intersection that I was saying: “I put on the helmet of salvation” and then the ute was there, having come around what is a slight bend in the road, at top notch speed. I find it interesting that that prayer then goes on to say: “I will not be overcome with fear and anxious thoughts . . . “ and that was my experience. For all the times I’ve declared those words on mornings past, they were with me this morning as I had felt no fear or anxious thoughts, just surprise that he (or she) was suddenly there, and how fast he must have been driving to be so. I had no adrenaline response ‘jitters’ as an after effect, just a feeling of extreme thankfulness for the covering and protection afforded to me in that moment.
Then I remembered the night before while experiencing some angst about some situations and decisions I need to make. A teary conversation with God while doing the dishes, added to the water level in the sink. And I pleaded: “God I really need You to show up for me tomorrow! I dont know how You’ll do it, but I’m trusting that You will.”
Then later in looking up the message for the day, it was 1 Corinthians Chapter 2 and in the midst of reading that passage is verse 9 which just happens to be: “God has prepared things for those who love Him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being.”
Well, He had certainly proven true to His word on that already this morning. For all the caution I had taken, and my moments delay, I had no idea that ute was coming around the bend still another moment later. And so that set me up to believe that God could and would show up for me throughout the rest of my day.
And I can say for the whole of my day . . . God continued to show up, answering my prayers (about those situations for that day causing me angst), in ways I did not think was possible. For all the options I wanted to take to escape those situations, but I felt challenged to show up to them, so as to give God a chance to demonstrate how He would show up for me in them, to now be able to share this experience, that is WHY I am here!
And so as per the title of the 2006 comedy:
“Thank God you’re here!”