Frozen-in-time Moments

The instant the phone rang I knew something was terribly wrong. No social caller would ring me at this time of the morning. The house was still mostly dark and I was the only one awake. As I grabbed my phone a million images paraded across my mind, and I had a pristine moment of clarity in which I acknowledged that this might be the last “normal” moment of my life. I guess having experienced other “frozen-in-time” moments that have changed the course of “normal” in my life, has left me with a heightened sensitivity toward them.

My mind registered my mom’s number as I clicked the talk button, my tone already panicky as I answered. Then the words I dreaded…”Jamie [my nephew] has been in a head-on collision on his way to work. I don’t know anything. We got the call from Tammy that he was in an accident and dad ran out the door.”

“You don’t know how badly hurt he is? I mean is he even alive?” I was afraid to voice the question, but I couldn’t stand the idea of not knowing anything. Head-on collision and the particular road I thought he was traveling combined in my mind to equal “very serious–potentially deadly.”  Mom’s voice cracked as she assured me she knew nothing else but would call as soon as she did.

My panicked mind ran in a million directions, and my prayers were short, desperate pleas for God to spare my nephew’s life. I felt the weight of reality bearing down on me, the awareness of our frailty and the brokenness of this world once again pressed on me like the weight of sodden clothing on a drowning man. I couldn’t catch my breath and I knew I might not catch it for a long time.

It was more than 20 minutes from that call until I received word that although the accident was extreme, Jamie was alive and not even seriously injured. I think I aged a year in those twenty minutes. Relief does not begin to describe the flood of emotion that washed over me in being assured that he was well. The grief lurking in the shadows in the waiting room of life suddenly evaporated. But the clarity remained.

This brief interlude on Friday morning has brought to my mind a myriad of things I am grateful for and has given me yet another reminder of God’s precious grace and ultimate control. It has also reminded me of His eternal purpose, the “bigger picture” that we often walk around in, stepping on the flowers of His creative provision without even realizing where we are. While I cannot express in words my personal joy that God spared our family from imminent tragedy, I am still fully aware that tragedy may well lurk around the corner of tomorrow. Yet I cannot live in dread of the next “frozen-in-time” moment. Instead, I can praise God for this miracle and rest in His goodness for whatever lies ahead, knowing that though my soul traverses the Shadowlands for a moment in time, it shall find its ultimate rest for eternity, further up and further in.

God spared my nephew James' life!

God spared my nephew James’ life!

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