Back in June, my family and I were invited to attend a high school graduation party a family in our church had given for their daughter. As we were leaving, I was walking hand in hand with my six-year-old son to our mini-van parked across the street. The rest of the family had gone ahead of us. As we approached the street, I turned back to say good-bye to someone. At that moment, my boy wiggled free from my hand and bolted between two parked cars out into the street, wanting to catch up with his older brother. You can probably guess what happened next. A car driven by a teenager was coming from the opposite direction. When I turned back and saw what was unfolding, fear gripped my heart. I yelled at my boy. The young person driving the car heard my scream, saw him, and slammed on the breaks. Vehicle and six-year-old actually made contact, but fortunately my boy wasn’t injured. After I swallowed my heart back down to my chest, I thanked the driver for reacting so quickly. He looked as shaken as I felt. Even our 4-year-old immediately understood the gravity of what had just occurred, as she began to weep uncontrollably. After we arrived home from this near miss, we had a serious family confab concerning the dangers of streets and parking lots. Sheri and I now had a vivid word picture to impress upon our three kids concerning why we have previously instructed them to look both ways before crossing a street (fortunately, without tragic consequences). This incident was a sobering reminder to both Sheri and me that life can change forever in the blink of an eye. We like to believe we are in control, but the reality is we are not. Indeed our lives are not our own. My boy was within a split-second of serious injury or even death. At that moment, there was absolutely nothing I could do. The specter of that day continues to haunt me. Whenever I think of it, the fear I experienced begins to well up inside all over again. As a result, more than ever, I have been driven to my knees to pray for the safety of my family: “Lord, please protect Sheri, Bryce, Braden and Brooke from not only physical injury, but spiritual and emotional injury as well.” James 4:13-17 reminds us concerning the brevity of life and who truly is in control, “Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
May we in greater measure humbly submit ourselves to the lordship of Jesus, knowing that he holds our lives in the palm of his hand.
Keep the faith,
Originally from Huntington Beach, CA, Tony received his Bachelor's degree in religion from USC and his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology. Tony loves spending time with his wife, Sheri, and their two sons and daughter (Bryce, Braden, and Brooke); cheering for the USC Trojan football team; and playing tennis.