Split Second -

Lessons learned from an accident (written 3 weeks after the event)


It happened just 2 days before Christmas on the way the church. I was driving 70 mph in cruise control on the interstate and a car decided to pull into my lane. I swerved, hit the side of the bridge, totaled my car and fractured a vertebra. Suddenly all of the plans I had for that day (and for months to come) were changed. Instead of accompanying the ladies quartet, instead of distributing gingerbread cookies to the choir and special people at church, instead of singing Christmas carols and enchanging hugs and smiles, I ended up on the emergency room in a great deal of pain and barely able to move.


Lying in bed for my Christmas vacation has given me the opportunity to think a lot, especially about how quickly things can change. My first thoughts were of Joni, who dove into the water and the next moment was paralyzed. I am so grateful that my injury was not that severe. But there are so many other examples of dramatic changes that can happen in a split second. Soldiers are injured on the battle field, policemen are shot in the line of duty and football players are just one tackle away from never playing again. People are told every day that they have cancer and a limited time to live. Others have homes that have been destroyed by fire, flood, tornado or hurricane. People are abused, trafficked, homeless, rejected, addicted, depressed and the list seems to go on forever.


But split second changes can be positive things. Someone can say "I love you" and a relationship can blossom. A nurse or doctor may say, "Congratulations, you are a Father" and suddenly the term parent has a new and deeper meaning. Or an angel may say "Greetings, you who are highly favored? The Lord is with you." (Luke 1:28) and your life changes forever.


The fact is, our days are filled with split seconds. Nothing stays the same. As much as we would like to think we are in control and things will happen the way we plan them, nothing is further from the truth. What really matters is what we do with our split seconds.


One second may offer an unexpected phone call or it could be the opportunity to say "Thank you" or "Can I pray for you" or "Let me tell you what God did last night." Each second we have is a gift from God and an opportunity to allow His glory to shine through us.


How often have we prayed "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) Yet we are so slow to do God's will, to listen to His instructions, to follow His direction. It is we who are impeding His will from being done as we hold on to our own will and selfish desires. Redeeming the time or numbering our days is not about time management. It is about yielding to God's plan and purpose. Yet we live as if we have all the time in the world and we will get around to God when we are ready.


The important thing about the announcement the angel made to Mary was not that she was highly favored, but that the Lord was with  her. He is with each of us, working His purpose and His will in our lives in spite of our stubbornness and determination to do otherwise. Our response should be the same as Mary's response. "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38)


No one knows how many seconds they will have on this earth. I am grateful that the Lord preserved my life to see another day. That tells me that He still has work for me to do anad a purpose for me on this earth, even at age 68. And best of all, I may yet live to experience that all important split second when the Lord returns to claim His bride, the church.


My prayer for whoever reads this, is that you will know the love of God, His mercy and His grace through Jesus Christ, and learn to walk obediently in whatever direction He takes your life.