Thursday, July 9, 2009

Standing In The Gap

Yesterday, I tempted fate.

I teetered on the brink of death, gazed at hundreds of feet below me as I hung in the air upside down, and heard blood piercing screams of horror from all sides. I saw tears, and fear, in peoples eyes, including my own.

Yep, I rode a massive rollercoaster.

Not just any rollercoaster, mind you. The Nighthawk, at Carowinds. I not only made the crazy decision to ride this rollercoaster, knowing full well that I really did not like rollercoasters, but I suffered through an hour wait in anticipation of the 70 seconds of fear I would get to experience. ( I should also add, that the peer pressure from my 12 year old daughter to ride the ride with her was merciless, which was really my reason for giving in. What a mom wont do to keep her kids happy. Geesh).

Anyway, aside from those 70 seconds of sheer terror, of which I spent most of the time with my eyes closed shut (and when I did open my eyes I didnt like what I saw), I had a great day. The weather was perfect, not too hot, and the crowd level was low, so with the exception of this one ride, the lines were not long at all. We had a great time and hated to see the day end.

I did ride a few other coasters, which were not nearly as heart-stopping as the first one, and one in particular made me think about something. It was called The Ricochet, and was mainly a jerky ride, where you practically tipped off the edge of the track just before you were jerked back to safety.

Each time we neared the edge, my stomach sunk, and I had a quick thought about what would happen if a chain broke, a gear jammed, or a mechanism failed - and how close I would be to death if that were to happen. Now I know these parks are safe, but I cant help it! Although I have been known to take a few risks at times, Im not much of a dare devil. My kids call me a wimp, but I can live with that.

Anywhoo..... as I was teetering on the brink of death praying that nothing would break and that I would be abruptly jerked back to safety, I wondered how many other times I have been in impending danger, and was protected by God, whether I realized it or not.

I think back on my college years, and wonder how I ever made it out alive. God must have been there protecting me when I made bad decisions and gave little thought to the consequences of some of my actions.

I thought about how fearful I was that I would not ever be able to have a baby, but remembered how my heart was overwhelmed as I looked at the glow of Christs forgiveness and mercy shining through the big blue eyes of my first baby girl.

I thought about my son who was born with premature lungs and could not draw his first breath, but how God protected him and has helped him grow into an active little boy.

I thought about when my 18 month old daughter fell through an attic in a two story home, landing on the hard garage floor, and did not have one broken bone in her tiny little body.

I thought about how each of my children are healthy and happy, and how God has protected us from illness or harm.

I thought about how my marriage is still going strong, despite the challenges of marriage, family and finances, and the trend of divorce that plagues our country today.

And I remember how God was surely there that day that I was turning left in my car, with my blinker on, and just as I turned, a white truck going as fast as lightning came out of nowhere, passing me on the left, "brushing" against my car and then spinning wildly into a nearby yard.

Me and my three small children were in my car the day we had that "near-death" experience. Had that truck hit us, we probably would have been in serious, if not critical, condition - maybe worse. It is still hard to believe how we averted that accident - but obviously, God was there to push that truck away just far enough away to miss us. A millimeter of movement, in a millisecond of time.

In fact, it was so close, that the trucks bumper left an eight inch deep scratch on my front bumper. Now that is close. So close to leave a scratch, but far enough away that I didnt even feel the bump.

God had to have been there in these few circumstances, and so many countless others that I can remember. But what gives me chill bumps the most, is wondering how many other near-death experiences, or impending harmful or painful situations, that God has averted for me. How many other times was He present, wrapping His arms of protection around me, surrounding me with a cushion of angels, and I didnt even realize it?

These thoughts have prompted me to remember, that as we go through our daily lives, we need to try to not be so oblivious to the invisible Savior that is walking beside us.

For example, each time I get behind a really slow car going less than the speed limit, I admit that at first I may get annoyed, but then I tell myself that God must be protecting from something ahead of which I need to be slowing down. Maybe it is a deer in the road, a child on a bike, a car in the wrong lane - whatever it is, I have to believe that God knows what is best for me, and that He is protecting me, even though I dont understand it.

Each time I dont get a speaking engagement I was hoping for, or an opportunity that I had prayed for, I try to remember that God must have a reason for that decision.

I have to remind myself often to try to remember that God is with me, as I am sure you do too. Sometimes we get so caught up trying to be in control of our lives, and running around doing all of our important daily things, that we forget who is really holding the steering wheel of our destiny.

A close call with death is a stark reminder of Gods protection. I have never had that scratch on my bumper repaired, because every day when I go to get in my car and see that big long scratch, I am reminded of His love for me and my family. I am reminded of how He was there that day, standing in the gap between my car and the out of control truck. I am reminded of how angels caught my baby when she fell from the roof and how God breathed breath into my sons newborn lungs. I am reminded to thank Him for His goodness and protection, even during times I didnt acknowledge His presence.

It may seem silly to think that I need a scratch on a car to remind me of Gods omnipotence and greatness, but I am only human, and in such need of Gods grace and mercy. Thank goodness His mercies are renewed for us daily. That in itself, is a tremendous, undeserved blessing.

If the truth be told, I have lots of little reminders sitting around my house to remind me to praise God, to be thankful for all He has done that I know about, and that I dont know about it. To help me remember that He is with me every second of the day, even if I dont see Him, or know He is there. Ill try to share some of those reminders with you soon.

As you go about your weekend, be on the lookout for the invisible. You never know when He could protecting you from harm, standing in the gap for you, holding back pain that you cant even imagine, and filling your life with blessings that you didnt even know you wanted or needed.

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B His Girl said...

Thanks for this post Tracie. We could compare notes on close calls where you know God protected you. He is always with us yet many times we don't acknowledge His Presence with us. I am thankful His mercy is new every day. I don't ride the roller coasters though. You are very brave. I know you were praying on that ride! B

Angie said...

I too know about those little remimders. I can look at different places on my body and see the scares from a car accident that the doctors told me should have killed me.

It was a year after I had graduated from high school and I was going down a path I knew I shouldn't. I was hanging with people and doing things I knew I shouldn't. Even during this time I prayed asking God to help me change. Walk away from those people that were a bad influence on me. At that time he sent a guy (who is now my husband) to help draw me away from "that" crowd. I wanted to be with him, but also my friends. I remember praying asking God to do something to help me walk away from those friends.

That He did. October 12th, 1985 He did something to help me walk away from those friends and also took away the ability to walk for three months. A major car accident that broke those binds of friendship but brought together my husband and me. During my 22 day stay in the hospital, he was there everyday.

God was protecting me in that day, it is obvious from the picture of my car. He has many times in the past and I know many times in the future will protect me even when it is not so obvious.

BTW...what fun is it to ride a roller coaster with your eyes closed?? Can I assume you didn't throw your hands in the air as you rounded the curves and went down the hills?

You gave Kaitlyn something she will remember.The memory of overcoming your fear to share the excitment with her.

Joyful said...

Tracie I think about this all the time. Amy Grant used to sing a song with lyrics that say, "God only knows the times my life was threatened just today.
A reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way.
Near misses all around me, accidents unknown,
Though I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home."

Often when a car in front of me is going slow, up ahead there has been a "radar trap" and I might have been going too quickly and could have received a speeding ticket, yet the Lord intervened. I'm sure there are countless things that we are unaware of during the day where God's hand of protection is on us.

Thanks for calling me to pause and thank Him for all the things I don't know tonight. God's 'no' is always beause of a greater 'yes'.

You're a braver Mom than way could I have ridden that rollercoaster!!!!! Bravo!!!


Lysa TerKeurst said...

So true Tracie.

I have some dents and gaps in my life that remind me of God too. I think it's Biblical to keep these reminders around.

Such great inspiration dear friend.

Victoria said...

What a wonderful reminder of how loving our Father is. Definitely a call to worship. God bless!