Last Christmas, a man rammed into us.
It was the night before Christmas Eve.
Our car had come to a stop, at a quiet intersection I have known all my life. There was hardly a soul on the road.
But just as our car rolled to a pause, we felt this jolt. With it came the terrible sound of rubber against metal. I watched in horror as the passenger door caved in towards me. Our car screeched and slid.
My heart nearly jumped out my chest. My body was thrown to the side. My legs ached badly.
I immediately looked back at the kids, and then at my mom who had been driving us that night. They were startled. But thank God, they seemed fine.
Then, holding my breath, I slowly looked down at my body, expecting the worse. But I had not been touched. The car door, however, was now crashed in before me.
The driver had missed me by a handful of inches.
Within no time, we saw flashing lights coming towards us.
“Are you hurt, miss?” I heard a man’s voice ask me.
Someone helped me out. I sat down on the edge of the sidewalk, staring at a car completely destroyed, surrounded by a blur of pulsating red and yellow lights… my head spinning, my heart still pounding. The cold mist hit my face. I wanted to cry. It had been such a hard year… a hard two years, in fact… and now this, two days before Christmas.
But the tears were held back by an overwhelming sense of relief. I knew I was okay… we were okay, and it could have been much, much worse.
“I am okay.” I managed to tell the police officer in a shaky voice.
But it had been a close call.
So now, a year later, I sit besides the gleam of our little humble Christmas tree, and I am hit with the sobering reality that there are likely a million other unseen ways God has been protecting me. Ways I will never fully know. Inches I will never see.
But sometimes, honestly… I want more than just inches. I want more safety. More assurance. Sometimes life does hit right on.
I will be the first to say, I can’t always make sense of this world.
Yet I can’t deny, some of my clearest insights have come out of my darkest nights.
Slowly, I am learning to trust that God indeed has a plan for our lives. A good plan. A plan of hope. It may not be an easy path. But nothing can ever thwart Him from finishing the good work He has started in us.
That means, those of us still granted breath, waking up to each new morning, in whatever condition, is a reminder that there is purpose… to believe a little more, hope a little harder, love the life we’ve been given with more gratitude.
At this moment, in fact, our Christmas tree is casting a curious mix of light and shadows onto our walls, and I can’t shake it. I can’t forget it… that it would have been a very different Christmas had it not been for those handful of inches.
And I realize again, there is nothing more impactful, more jolting… than when our very souls collide head-on with grace.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~ Philippians 1:6