Light for a Village of Seekers . You. Me. Us.

Archive for July, 2011

A Drunk and a Canal

God, why are storms necessary?

My brother and I were sent to Camp Keystone in the outskirts of Tampa, Florida for several summers by parents who needed a break from parenthood. Great fun that brought needed respite from an adolescence filled with fear, and violence brought on by a father in need of a Savior’s restoration.

We held no eagerness to return to home and longed for the several weeks of camp to span many months.

While Mom slept in the back seat, brother and I passed the long remote, boring drive return to North Miami teasing each other in the front. No seat belts existed back then.

Suddenly, a drunk and a canal intersected a life and a future.

Dad expertly swerved to miss a drunken driver speeding towards us on a two-lane deserted highway, during a blinding rainstorm.

Heaven intervened.

Lord, when I crash, will You save me from drowning?

Only the hands of our strong daddy invisibly and supernaturally strengthened beyond the human ability, held us from being catapulted through the windshield as our car spun, rolled and sunk into the canal.

Dazed, with no memory of how we extricated ourselves out of the twisted metal coffin, we crawled our way up to a steep embankment that held the weed-filled inland waterway back from the roadway.

Blood everywhere panicked mom who assumed we had a serious injury; herself protected by the fact sleep prevented tensing up as the car thrashed about into the watery grave. The profuse bleeding that painted everyone in the front-seat brick red was from dad’s shredded arm impaled with shards of broken glass.

A co-worker of my father, having just past the remote crash site on U.S. Highway 27, not seeing us from the ravine, felt a strange urge to make a U-turn telling his wife that he sensed something was wrong.

Heaven’s Cavalry?

He found us wet, cold, hemorrhaging. Coincidence or the Divine’s perfect-timed rescue?

The sheriff, completing his traffic report, questioned my parents and allowed the rescue squad to provide first aid. He copiously apologized that his team couldn’t get any other bodies out as the car was found, sunk and entrenched into the slimy, blackened abyss. Mom replied “We’re all here. What other bodies are you talking about?” The deputy speechless, mumbled something about a “miracle” because the accident was so severe no one could possibly have survived, he said.

We did survive.

Was that You God? Why did we matter to You? Why didn’t You prevent the accident?

God, where were You, when I needed You?

It’s easy to blame God for things I don’t understand; unexpected tragedies that turn my life upside down; upheavals that seem clearly to prove God’s abandonment or at very least, ignorance of my circumstances.

It’s effortless to categorize painful things I don’t understand and call them failures of God or the neglects of His grace, particularly when I lose everything I held dear, treasured or clung to for my safety and security.

Great discipline and systemic gratitude is necessary to daily recall all the times in my life of unexpected miracles or interventions by people or events that rescued me from the pit of hell at near death or hopelessness.

How many coincidences have occurred in your life that preserved you and your future, which were in actuality, God, in stealth mode? When was the last time you took a moment to say “Thank you,” to Him for how miraculously you’re still standing even to to this day, despite assaults against your life, peace, mental and emotional stability?

Coincidences are God acting anonymously. I need to pay closer attention, and remember Jeremiah 29:11.

What about you?
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Trains and Pigs

The train of hope, God's heart for you, is never far away.

When I was a little girl, we lived earshot close to some railroad tracks. We also lived near a pig farm. Life was hard, due to severe child abuse, but the smell of the pig farm, and the whoo-woo of the trains were rhythms threaded in my life that gave a tumultuous existence, some constancy.

Winds coming from the east were especially pungent in the middle of the night, under the covers of a non-air conditioned home, in Southern Florida. Nothing outside of intentional burrowing under the suffocation of sheets and a light blanket would allow escape from the stench.

But, at 4am every morning, no matter how alone I felt, or desperate for solace from the madness of a home environment where my father struggled to make sense of his own life, and my brother, mom and self dodged to keep out of his way, the trains came. Faithfully. On time. And wide-awake dreams followed the symphony, of where I imagined these trains could take me, if I jumped on.

God in His kindness would blow the winds westward into this little girl’s open windows, to carry the soothing clickety-clack, clickety-clack of the train’s old wheels on the rusted track
joints, the squeal of steel brakes on the rail coming through town, and His voice of consolation in the distance, to promise rescue disguised as the train’s recurring horn.

Exodus 2:23-25 proves God’s care for us in our darkest nights, in our times of captivity where we feel abandoned.

Distractions are like squealing, hungry pigs; never satisfied.

But then there are the pigs; the squeals for our attention, which distract us from the need for silence to hear and believe that help and hope is on its way. To avoid the stench and noise of our pigs, which we seem to not escape, we muffle the sound of the forthcoming train, buried under the covers, ignorantly preoccupied.

Yet the train, relentlessly on a liberation mission, speeds forward. Will you not hear it? Do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43: 18-19).

The train of hope, which transports precious cargo, God’s heart for you, is never far, if we will just be still enough to hear its assurance of deliverance and a new thing born.

Throw off those coverings, wake up your sweet self, and know that it is God alone who stands lovingly in the front engine as the Conductor to invite you to jump on, and remind you of your future destination.
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