Thursday, March 2, 2017

Truth to Cling to When Disaster Comes Close

by Emily Conrad

The car pulled right as if making an emergency lane change of its own accord as we traveled 75 miles per hour down the highway. But it didn’t stop pulling right, and soon we were spinning full rotations, the tires skating circles in precipitation that refused to be either fully rain or fully slow.

The first spin: disorganized fear.

The second, a silent cry for help: Jesus!

The third rotation: expectation of disaster.
I knew the ditch must be close now. I thought of a family from our church where 3 siblings were in a wreck together, sustaining scary injuries that would heal. And now I and 2 of my siblings were going to be in a wreck, too, and I wasn’t confident of what the outcome would be. We’d been going fast. The ditch couldn’t be far away now, and once the tires hit it, we would flip, wouldn’t we?

The car seemed so fragile. So many windows. How would they crumple when the car rolled onto its hood? We were so exposed. Why did I have so much time to think, to see that we were in trouble?

Any moment now…

And then the car stopped. My brother and I had both made the same count: we’d made two and three-quarters rotations. Our back tires were on the gravel of the shoulder. Though we were on a major highway, no cars were in our immediate vicinity. We all took a breath. My brother steered the car back into a lane and accelerated to match the traffic that would soon catch up to us.

We were been granted deliverance, but the close call still breathes down my neck even now, nearly a week later.

Both before and after this incident, I've been thinking about the questions we live with.

I am studying some literary fiction in order to write a story of that genre myself. I find these stories often present questions without answers. The implication seems to be that there are none, that we can only ask and wonder but never know.

In one story, a character collects pieces of art that represent one of the biggest mysteries of her life, the disappearance of a friend in childhood. In the end, the character is left with the art, looking into it, knowing she will never have an answer.

In reading the story, we do the same: we look into art that makes no attempt to provide an answer. We begin to believe, like that character, in the impossibility of discovering truth. We notice questions we have not yet answered. Perhaps we believe there is no answer or we wouldn’t like it if we found it, so we stop looking. We tuck the unanswered question in our back pocket and settle for the malaise.

This is tragic because life is short, cars spin out of control, \disease creeps in silently, meteors flash into the atmosphere. (Literally. One boomed in through the sky over my state a couple of weeks ago, waking me in the night.)

Christianity teaches that there are answers. That we can seek God, find Him, and replace our malaise with peace.

I’ve told the girls in my high school Bible study multiple times that we needn’t be afraid of questions, even those regarding our faith. The Bible tells us we’re not following cleverly devised myths. We’re following truth that has stood the test of time.

Yet perhaps I tell them that for my own good. When a question niggles forward, I sometimes find myself, for whatever reason, afraid of looking for an answer.

But when I let questions drive me to renewed study, I find that my faith not only can be examined, it ought to be. It is by study that I find renewed and deeper understanding of what I believe and why.

Faith and reason are not contrary to each other. They complement each other.

When I’ve spent time dealing with my faith and then the car spins out, I can cry out to Jesus in assurance that whatever happens, I will be safe with Him.

Life is short. Let us not ignore questions or ask them without seeking an answer. Truth is real and available to those who pursue it with open hearts.

The earth is spinning so fast. We’re teetering on the edge of so many ditches. We must know whose name to cry out.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Truth to Cling to When Disaster Comes Close via @emilyrconrad #Jesussaves #truth


Rachel McDaniel said...

So glad you guys are all right! An experience like that surely allows you to see how fragile our existence is.

Emily Conrad said...

Me, too! Praising God for His protection and also for the lesson in the experience! Thanks for reading, Rachel.

Robyn Hook said...

"Christianity teaches that there are answers. That we can seek God, find Him, and replace our malaise with peace." I love this, Emily. What a gift we have as believers. We can be in awe at our amazing God and still seek truth and find answers that bring peace.

Jerusha Agen said...

Love this post, Emily! Yes, you are so right that there ARE answers to those questions--there is one, ultimate truth that answers all our questions. We need to seek that truth and be sure of those answers through the Word. I'm so thankful that God preserved you and your siblings!

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks, Jerusha! Amen!

Emily Conrad said...

So glad the post resonated with you, Robyn! God's gifts to us are indescribably great!

Christina Hubbard - Creative and Free said...

I'm so so glad you're OK. And your reflections echo my literary sentiments exactly. It's fun exploring the stories together,!

Emily Conrad said...

It's so much better to explore with a friend. I don't think I'd be pausing long enough to learn from the stories if I were reading alone!

stephaniejthompson said...

Emily, I resonate so much with this post. Two years ago, as I drove back to Chicago from Michigan, my two sons and I experienced a similar incident. Thinking we had averted the blizzard like conditions, I made my way through Indiana. Unbeknownst to me, my tires treaded on black ice. We spun out twice across three lanes of highway and landed in a ditch facing the highway. Thankfully we were towed out and found ourselves back on the road after an hour. So many questions...I actually did a paper in Seminary about those questions. Why did some of the patients I saw during my CPE die when they seemed well and others who appeared at death's door survive? As you said, we can cling to Jesus and seek answers while knowing that ultimately cry out to Jesus with assurance that all will be ok.

Julie Page Heath said...

Loved the way you said, "Faith and reason are not contrary to each other. They complement each other."
Reminded me of "credo ut intelligam" which is Latin for "I believe in order that I may understand."
So glad God watched over you!

Emily Conrad said...

I'm glad you and your sons were okay and all you needed was a tow. Isn't it amazing how events like that can have such an impact? Those are tough questions. I bet that was an interesting paper!

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie! That's a neat phrase--the second neat Latin phrase I've heard in so many days. I'm beginning to think I ought to take a course :)