Have you ever had a close call with something dangerous? Did you know about it at the time or did you find out about it after the fact? Sometimes, we might not find out about close calls until they are past us and we retrospectively look back with relief that we were ignorant while we were going through it. Maybe it was a ride that broke at the amusement park right after or before we rode it. Maybe it was a transportation tragedy, an accident that happened right before or after we passed by an area, a plane that we were supposed to be a passenger on that had issues.
I’ve had some close calls in my life and I remember looking back on those experiences and wondering how on earth I managed to get out unscathed. Cars that spun out on the highway in the snow and managed to hit no one. Wheels that came off a car in front of me and miraculously missed hitting me. Along the way, I wondered about my own protection in the midst of a potential tragedy.
The other day, my air conditioning in the house stopped working and a friend came over to look at it. Turns out that an electrical box had a bad connection in it and fried up. When I say “fried up” I am not speaking metaphorically, it was literally fried, plastic melted, pieces disintegrated, singe marks on the wood frame, and the burning smell still lingering as we investigated the area. Things could have been much worse than they were.
As I told my wife the news, I couldn’t help but thinking about the “what ifs.” What if it had been worse? What if we were all sleeping? What if…..? What if….? And the possibilities are endless.
When the day was done and I finally laid my head on my pillow, I looked over at my wife and said, “I guess He’s keeping me around for a reason.” Having felt the protection of God, it was a bit unnerving thinking about the possible outcomes, in fact, I would dare say that someone could be crippled with fear in thinking about those possible outcomes.
If I’ve learned anything as I’ve gotten older it’s that life is risky. Every day, there are dangers lurking around every corner, and if I stop to think about all of them, I can easily find myself paralyzed by fear. I could find myself sitting alone in a room with no electricity, with every potential danger removed so that I would be “safe.” But, as much as we might think that we are in control, we’re not, and there will always be one more thing that is beyond our control that might pose another danger to us.
I’m at the place now where I realize that I have a decision to make as I become aware of these dangers lurking around every corner, I can live in fear or I can live in full. I can either let fear dictate everything that I do or I can take every day as a potential and live my life to the fullest. Fear isn’t something that God calls us to, he calls us to put our faith in him and trust. That doesn’t mean that tragedy doesn’t happen. It doesn’t mean that bad things never come across our paths. It does mean that we can face everything head on because we know that we can’t control the circumstances that come at us.
I’m sure that this won’t be the last close call that I will experience. I can let these close calls paralyze me with fear, or I can trust in the one whose love casts fear aside. I know what I want to do, it’s just a matter of trusting, which is much easier said than done. Close calls will still scare me and the temptation will be to fear, fear, and fear some more, but living in fear doesn’t seem to be living much at all.