Glass crashed all around me. The car ahead stopped short and I didn’t see the lights in time; I smashed him very hard. I heard screeching tires as the car behind me rammed my back. Then I was off in a ditch, on the side of the road. The airbag deployed, and white powder sprayed like snow, filling the cabin. I couldn’t breathe; the chemical smell was sickening in the humid, autumn air of Virginia. I tried to get out the driver’s door, but it was jammed. I gasped for air in the shock of it all. “I guess this is the end,” I thought to myself.
Looking back, I have found that was the first of many trials I have faced as a Christian. I came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior in spring of 1996, when I was 29 years old. Then it was fall, just a few months later, and this car accident was not part of my plan. I have since learned that following Jesus is not always the easy “sunshine and roses, peaches and cream, all the lights on Main Street are green” life. Trials and tribulations, struggles and sufferings line our path as we walk along the way. It is a difficult road to follow, at times.
But God is a good shepherd. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul, He leads me in paths of righteousness for His namesake. Even though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, He meets me there, and I will fear no evil. He is with me, disciplining me, comforting me. He prepares a table in the presence of my enemies and anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23).
The sufferings of these present times are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. One day the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of glory of the children of God. It is in this hope we were saved, and we wait with patience. God helps us in our weakness. He intercedes for us, and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:18-28).
On that sunny day, I know I heard a voice: “Get out the back door.” I came to my senses, jumped into the back seat, and kicked at the passenger door. It popped open! I fell out and breathed fresh air. Police arrived on the scene and the process of reports and insurance began. I was minimally hurt and replaced the vehicle in the months ahead. I knew that God saved me and was with me in that hardship. He is an ever present help in all times of trouble, a loving Father who does not abandon His children, even in hard places.