Last week (June 1997), son Jeremy left our driveway in suburban Houston to drive to Colorado for the summer, where he hoped to find work near a young lady who lately has become special in his life. It had not been 21 days since we watched him graduate from Baylor University with high honors, “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,” as my own Mother used to say (a squirrely expression if I ever heard one), with plans to attend the University of Texas Law School come September. As the familiar ’87 Chevy Blazer left our driveway, Jeremy also left standing there two parents, a Grandma and an older sister — some with teary eyes and all with hearts overflowing in prayer for his safe travels.
The call came about noon on Tuesday. Jeremy had been in a wreck, maybe 100 miles south of Amarillo. A moment’s distraction . . . a veer off the left side of the freeway . . . recognition of distress and sudden turn right . . . across the interstate to the opposite side . . . hard turn left to regain stability. The Blazer flipped, then skidded down the shoulder on its passenger side until it stopped. Jeremy unfastened his seat belt and shoulder harness, opened the driver’s door, now above his head, and climbed out — unharmed.
A wrecker righted the truck, which had a cracked windshield, broken back window, mirror missing and the entire passenger side smashed and worn to the shiny metal core. A checkover in the next small town verified that the vehicle sustained body damage only, and Jeremy, shaken but whole, drove 10 more hours to Colorado.
The next day three body shop estimators “totalled” the vehicle, and said they had never seen such damage without death or serious injury. Reflecting afterward, Jeremy knew that God delivered him through the ordeal. A friend in another city, knowing nothing of the accident, e-mailed me the next day that he was praying for God’s protection on my children.
Ten years ago my devout brother’s godly 15-year-old son was killed in a motorcycle accident. A couple of years ago, the 19-year-old son of former missionaries narrowly escaped death but sustained serious debilitating injuries of body and mind in a head-on crash with an 18-wheeler as he drove home late at night from Christian college. Those parents all prayed for their children also. Why was my son spared but not my brother’s son? Why did the missionaries’ son sustain injury but my son did not?
I have no answers to such questions. They are as old as Scripture. Why did God allow Herod to slaughter James, but sent an angel to deliver Peter (Acts 12)? Why were some Galileans victims to Pilate’s bloodthirsty vengeance, but not others? What distinguished those killed by a falling tower from their neighbors who went unharmed? Jesus warns us against glib, moralistic answers (Lk. 13:1-5).
Lacking solutions, we simply accept whatever comes, confident of God’s love despite any earthly circumstance. The Cross never changes, nor does the Empty Tomb. And we reflect, and repent, and give thanks. And we say with James, “If God wills, we shall live, and do this and that.” This time God did . . . and Jeremy does . . . and we his family are humbly grateful.