Sunday, November 27, 2011

God’s protection and presence

This weekend is an anniversary of sorts.  Last year, near midnight on the day after Thanksgiving, one of our children was struck by a car while walking across a street.  That is the most abbreviated way of saying what happened.  The fuller account is that someone was driving through downtown Rochester and his car struck two pedestrians, killing one and breaking the leg of the other.  He accelerated away from that accident and then struck two more pedestrians less than one-half mile later, one of whom was our daughter, breaking a leg in each of them.  We did not learn of the accident for about 12 hours.

When we first heard the news I went directly to the hospital, where our daughter was being transferred to intensive care following surgery to repair her leg.  Because of my own background in health care I was able to quickly understand that while she had been seriously injured, she very easily could have been hurt much more severely.  She had a broken leg, a damaged knee and some scrapes.  That was about it.  No head trauma or serious internal injuries.  Similarly, the worst injuries to the other two survivors were their broken legs.  In the next few days we came to learn that our daughter had been struck by a car traveling 50 MPH, and that the mortality for rate for pedestrians hit at 30 MPH is 50%.  We saw God’s hand at work in protecting our daughter and we thanked him, as well as asking that his peace would be known among the family that had lost a son and brother. 

Our daughter is a single mom, and her children were 2 and 4.  They moved in with us for two months.  Along with our own 4 year-old, the demands of two full-time jobs, with one parent also in grad school, suffice to say that it was a very hectic time in our home.  We remain thankful today for the people from our church, our places of employment, and our families and friends who provided meals, supplies, encouragement and prayer during that time. 

One year later the legal case against the driver is still in process.  Our daughter has had a second surgery to repair her knee.  She is living in her own apartment and has returned to work.  It would be easy to continue to give God thanks for his goodness to our daughter and us, and leave it at that.  But the reality is much more complex, at least from my vantage point.  There is a family that is mourning and their wounds, from what little I know of them, appear to remain fresh and deep. 

God is sovereign over all that happens in the world.  He knows all that will happen within our lives, and nothing happens, or can possibly happen, that is outside of his divine authority.  Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”  These words of the truth of God’s knowledge and authority, words in which I find great comfort, apply to the family of loss as well as to my own. 

Today is the first day of Advent, the season of the church calendar when we wait in anticipation.  As we worship and wait, in anticipation of the Incarnation, the very presence of God among us for our salvation and redemption, let us pray that in this season his presence will not only be known among us, but also among those we know who are carrying their pain on their own.  The psalmist says “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”  God alone can bring perfect healing, of body, mind and soul. 

Right now I can pray for this family, that they would know God’s ability to bear their loss and heal their hurting hearts.  And as I pray and wait, may God also reveal to me other ways in which I can reach out to others with the Good News that is only to be known in Jesus.  And may also God reveal his presence to you anew this Advent, this season of joyful anticipation.

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