As Death Brushed By…
Some who know me know I am afraid of a few things. I love to fly in airplanes, but I am afraid of heights. I hate changing the sign because it is so far off the ground. I hate working on the roof of a house, especially a two story, because it is both high and slanted. I am afraid of wasps; Red wasps, yellow jackets, guinea wasps, black wasps, bumble bees, honey bees and sometimes, even dirt daubers.
However, I am not afraid of snakes and things that could really do you harm. Silly, isn’t it? I’m, basically not afraid of death. I’m ready to go. I believe that God will take me when He is ready… and not until.
Yesterday… I thought He was ready. I was on my way to work driving along in my trusty old pickup truck, minding my own business and listening to a tape of a study we had done some weeks ago. It was raining (as usual lately) and the roads were bad. I had just passed Gilliam, La. where a tornado (or very near one) had touched down the night before. There was destruction everywhere. Police were all over the area. After passing the affected area, my eyes glued again ever so carefully to the road. Traffic was moderate for that time of day and things were going well. As I looked ahead I saw an eighteen wheeler coming my way. Because the roads were wet and it was still raining, he was throwing a spray of water into my lane that was taller than my pickup. He was, at the same time, emitting a fog of water that you could not see through. Whenever I encounter these conditions I typically move over to the right hand side of the road as far as I can without going off the pavement. My passenger side tires were riding on the paint stripe to the far right of my lane. It seems that the “wind wall” that is pushed in front of the big trucks has less affect on you if you have a little space between you. Also, the spray and the fog are a little easier to see through if you are over a bit. It tends not to blind you so badly. Before coming face to face with the big truck I took a look in the rearview mirror. There was a small pickup behind me that had been there for several miles. I saw him as he also moved to the side like me. By this time I was face to face with the big rig. Anticipating a second or so of blindness, we passed. It was then that I thought God was calling me home. As visibility was being restored I saw the chips in the paint of a huge yellow cab over eighteen wheeler in my lane coming toward me. He was trying to pass the truck ahead of him. If he would have had his window down and his hand stuck out I could have shook his hand and asked, “How’s yermommanem?” We almost rubbed paint. He was three feet over into my lane. I didn’t even have time to swerve and if I had, there was nowhere to go except in the mud… and death brushed by.
Just as quickly as I had seen him, he had passed, and I was alive. Quickly I looked in the mirror. The little truck behind me had not been so fortunate. The big rig rubbed more than paint. He side swiped the little Ford Ranger, and life for all of us changed in that moment.
As quickly as I could I came to a stop. I wheeled around at a little side drive and rushed back up the highway to see if anyone was hurt. The guy in the little pickup was just getting out of the vehicle. “Are you alright”? I asked. “Yes,” he replied. “I’ll go back up the road and get a deputy…I’ll be right back,” I said. I stopped briefly beside the big rig whose driver had pulled off the side of the road, jotted down his license plate number and went for the police.
No one was hurt, all of us were shaken up a bit and we filled out the reports that would make it clear who was at fault.
Something great happened to me in that event. Never once did I ask myself, “Would I have gone to heaven if I had been killed?” I have no fear of that, only assurance, but my life did flash before me. If I had been in my normal position on the highway… you would be singing “Rock of Ages” by now. I stayed shaken all day. There were so many things to finish. My boys were not yet raised. I don’t know what kind of father I am, but I’m all they have. The house is not finished. How would Nita finish the work alone? How would she deal with such a sudden change? Who would hold her and comfort her when she is frightened or frustrated? Who would finish my book? Who would see my dad to his final resting place? What would my family do? Who would preach those long sermons to you and love you the way I’ve always tried to do?
The questions would not go away. They just kept on coming…one right after the other. It was then I realized what had happened. God allowed me to experience this for a reason. God allowed me to be brushed by death to bring me back to the things that count. My family! Both the ones who are of the same blood and you. That’s all that is important.
I’m ready to go and meet God face to face, but I had just as soon stay and get to know Him a little better here and share what I find out with others. At least, now I understand my purpose a little better. God gave me some extra days, I fully expect that he will hold me accountable for how I use them.