“What is that car doing?”
I slowed down as another car slowly crept onto the road. Somehow they thought it was a good idea to pull out in front of me and a Domino’s delivery car on a street that wasn’t very busy. Nothing too dangerous, but it was definitely unexpected and required me briefly to pump my brakes.
Less than 20 seconds later I slammed on my brakes in an effort to avoid another stray vehicle. The traffic light at the intersection had been red for a while, but that didn’t stop the car from zooming right through and passing right in front of me.
All in one moment I hit the brake, swung my steering wheel to the right, and looked up to confirm the colour of my own traffic light.
Green. I had the right of passage.
Unfortunately, it was too late as the other car sheered off my front bumper and smashed it to pieces. Fortunately, that was the extent of the damage.
No damage to the frame, the engine, or the hood. Not much damage to the other lady’s car. Most importantly, no injuries.
The memory is so clear in my mind that I can remember that freak accident like it was just yesterday.
It was a reminder that life is dangerous, especially on the road. It could have ended worse, especially if I had not been slowed down by the car that pulled out in front of me a moment earlier.
It was a reminder that God is still in control of a sin-cursed world.
Less than 24 hours earlier I had told a friend that the potentiality of dying in a car accident wasn’t going to keep me from leaving my house to go somewhere. I had no idea I would actually be in an accident the next day.
But has that incident discouraged me from going back out and driving again? Of course not. I am aware of the possibility, but I am not fearful. I like to consider myself a defensive driver because I know that anything can happen, but fear does not keep me from driving to get places.
Driving in a world with a high chance of dying on the road is a risk I am willing to take almost every single day. It does not keep me from doing ministry, working, and visiting family and friends.
Consider these statistics from the Association for Safe International Road Travel:
- More than 38,000 people die every year in crashes on U.S. roadways. The U.S. traffic fatality rate is 12.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
- An additional 4.4 million are injured seriously enough to require medical attention.
- Road crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people aged 1-54.
Now compare those statistics to Covid-19 and draw your own conclusions.
When was the last time a governor issued a stay-at-home order to prevent people dying on the road? When was the last time a governor declared a state of emergency to address the 120,547 people needing medical attention from car accidents every day?
The ASIRT also estimates that “3,700 people lose their lives every day on the roads”. If that is accurate, that number would be at 395,900 so far in 2020 (probably less due to decreased traffic right now).
The novel coronavirus? A quick Google search says 139,469 people have died from Covid-19.
The virus has shut down the world, but danger on the roads does not keep us from driving. It will not keep me from using my car to go places.
So what’s the point?
We have plenty of things in this world that threaten to separate our spirits from our bodies at any moment. If we wanted to, we could fear driving just as much as we fear this virus.
But as Christians, we should not fear either the coronavirus or driving or the flu or natural disasters or mass murderers. Rather we should live for God and continue serving him with a healthy awareness of these dangers that surround us.
In other words, we should allow God to control our thoughts and actions toward these earthly things rather than allow these earthly things to control our thoughts and actions toward God.
Because I know that the roads are dangerous, and because I have been in a car accident, I try to drive carefully and in a way that I can quickly respond if someone else endangers me. But sometimes accidents are inevitable.
Because I know that the flu, the common cold, and the coronavirus are easily transmitted, I try to maintain a healthy immune system, wash my hands, and avoid holding kids with runny noses. But sometimes illnesses are inevitable. I have already been sick three times this year.
Ephesians 5:15-18 says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”
The idea of “walk circumspectly” has the idea of living carefully and being aware of everything that is happening. We should live wisely, taking advantage of every moment we are given, especially during difficult times (“because the days are evil”)!
We should not be drunk with wine because then we are forfeiting control of our senses and our logic. I would add that we also should not be drunk with fear or worry which can also control our senses and our logic. Instead, we should be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
As a Christian, I live the way that I believe God would want me to live and accept the dangers that are part of this world. Yes, I try to minimize those dangers, but I do not totally avoid them.
My desire is to live with a healthy awareness of everything that is going on. Nevertheless, sometimes I will get sick, sometimes I will be in car accidents, and someday I will die.
Christians must accept those risks, live carefully, and accept the results as God’s perfect will.
This brings up a couple of other questions: Should Christians continue to work jobs that the government considers non-essential? Should churches continue to meet every week in direct defiance of government orders?
We’ll cover those topics next time.
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