A Letter from A Pastor

7-22-2021


"Interruption"



Hey, Cobblestone,

 

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming – the “Three R’s” series – for this special report: a testimony, actually. Testimonies typically lag behind the chances to give them; this’ll close the gap, if only by a little.

 

Early Wednesday morning, I was on my back porch praying. From up on the State highway, I heard the sound of tires squalling – a moaning, desperate slide. I cringed, hoping to not hear what so often comes next. But it came, the distinctive sound of hard impact and collapsing metal. My prayers changed direction: “Lord, have mercy!

 

It’s only about three hundred yards from my house to the big road, so I went up there, hoping to be some help. Thank you, Jesus – the scene wasn’t what I expected. Just south of where the residential streets of the neighborhood come out, the highway makes a bend, a right-hander to northbound traffic. Southbound drivers get clobbered with sickening regularity making left turns into the neighborhood. I’ve lived where I live for nearly forty-one years; what usually comes next is multiple police cruisers, ambulances, and at times even a helicopter. This was indeed a crash scene, but it involved only one vehicle – or to use the correct term, a combination.

 

A young man had been towing a trailer with his pickup truck; on the trailer was a not-so-mini excavator. On the road was a long, ugly, serpentine pattern of spent rubber. The crunching sound had been from the guardrail, and one axle of the trailer folding under. The whole mess had then bounced cattywampus, precisely into the middle of four traffic lanes. It must have been a wild ride, but nobody was hurt. When I arrived, the driver was frantically unloading the excavator, after which he used it to drag the crumpled trailer onto the wide shoulder. I kept on praying.

 

But what about the blind right-hander? The highway opens from two lanes to four as the turn commences; drivers would be side by side with nowhere for anyone to go. Thankfully, traffic slowed, and everyone managed to navigate the maze of equipment. The young man called out to me, said the undersized trailer had gotten away from him. A Sheriff’s cruiser was pulling up as I left.

 

Traffic engineers say that the second most deadly vehicle crash is the “T-Bone,” exceeded only by the head-on. T-bone is what usually happens where this one didn’t. Beyond the crunched guardrail and down an embankment are the postage-stamp backyards of some of the homes in my neighborhood. Most of the houses there are “pre-fabs” from the 1950’s – not exactly famous for their robust construction. Early mornings, all four lanes of the highway are usually humming, with lots of trucks shuttling raw materials from the gravel pits nearby. All in all, a recipe for disaster – except this one didn’t come together as such. Thank you, Jesus!

 

Thank you, Jesus – for a clear spot on an otherwise very busy highway.

Thank you, Jesus – for rubber tires that turn motion into heat.

Thank you, Jesus – for guardrails well placed.

Thank you, Jesus – for giving an extra second’s line-of-sight to hurried drivers.

Thank you, Jesus – for law enforcement officers who know how to secure a crash scene.

 

Jesus, who upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3), made this part of the universe a place where only the machinery got busted up on this particular morning.

 

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
(Psalm 105:1)

 

For the most part, the people of God have more chances to testify than we take. I know that’s the case with me. In eternity, I guess we’ll get to make up the difference, but why not pay on the account now? If it means an interruption to whatever else we’d be doing, it would be well worth the breath and time. Agreed?

 

Long-time fans of the Indy 500 will remember the 1985 winner, Danny Sullivan. At one point during the race, he and Mario Andretti were locked in a battle for the lead. From second place, Sullivan went low into Turn One to make the pass, but too low – you have to make it stick coming off the turn – and he didn’t. What he did manage to do was keep the car off the wall, which, in Indy Car terms, means the end of your day. After trading his flat-spotted tires for fresh rubber, he went on to win the race. Even though Andretti’s name is the more recognizable of the two, Sullivan holds the distinction of being the only Indy 500 champion to “spin-and-win.”

 

I don’t know if the young man Wednesday morning was thanking Jesus for the outcome, but given the fact that 240-some families live in my neighborhood, and my own children and grandchildren are in and out of “The Park” visiting Memaw and Papaw quite often, I’m glad to interrupt – whatever – to say, “Thank you, Jesus.” A rough way to start the workday, for sure, but I think we have to call this one a spin-and-win.

 

 

Grace and Peace (and breath to testify),

 

John