Car accident; disaster or opportunity?

I hope that this title is a bit intriguing to you. None of us wants to be in a car accident. It is dangerous first of all and secondly, it can get pretty expensive. If the Bible teaches us that God works all things for the good of those who love and serve Him then I believe that God can even use an accident for His glory and for our good. I know that sounds a little strange but it is true.

Yesterday (Saturday), I was at home with my family enjoying a fun day with the kids and hanging out with my wife. Since I am a minister/missionary, I am not home a lot during the week and Sundays are taken so basically, Saturday is the day that I try and devote to my family. While I was running around our apartment with the kids, our car alarm went off. I quickly grabbed the keys and opened the window to see what all the fuss was about. We have kids who kick soccer ball around our apt. complex so the alarm going off is not a new thing. I noticed, from the 8th floor, that there was a car behind ours and it was awfully close. I thought maybe the guy had parked close and bumped our car while exiting his own. The problem was, there was no one in the other car. Soon after, my neighbor calls and tells me that my car was hit and I need to go and see what happened. I dress and go outside where it is in the upper teens outside and the wind is blowing strongly. I went and looked around and sure enough, the car had hit our rear bumper. My bumper looked fine, just a small crack along the top. The other bumper was destroyed. I thought, “where is this wise guy who ran off after hitting me?”. I waited, asked around, and took pictures. No one saw the guy. Someone recognized the car but did not know the owner. I decided to return to my apt and write a note with my phone number so that he could call me when he decided to leave. I entered the house and peeked out the window just to see if the person were trying to sneak away. As soon as I got my heavy clothes off and sat down to write, (I took one last peek to make sure he wasn’t trying to get away) and I saw this young man run, jump in his car, and try to start it. I yelled out the window but he was already in his car. I quickly dressed and ran to catch him before he got away. Praise the Lord, his car would not start. I approached his car door and tapped on the glass. He opened the door to get out and I asked what happened. Come to find out, he had parked the car about 30 feet from my car earlier that morning and forget to put the stick shift in gear. He also forgot to pull the emergency brake. The car got a push by the strong wind and just rolled right into the back of mine. He did not know what to do or say. I asked if he had insurance. He did but could not get in touch with his agent. We decided to call each other later after he tried to call his agent again because we were tired of freezing standing in the frigid temps.

About an hour later I get a call and come to find out, the guy lives 3 floors below us in the same apt building. He invited me over. When I entered the house, his parents greeted me and they were all so nice. They had prepared food and were trying to “wine and dine” me since I had them at my mercy. A little cultural explanation is required here. In Moldova, many people use minor accidents to make money, especially if the other person is 100% at fault. I thanked them for the invitation but explained that I was not here to make money off of the situation. All I wanted was to have the bumper fixed. That broke the ice and they really opened up to me. I spent the next hour telling them (remember, they invited me to talk about our cars) our church and all of the activities that we do for the community, something that is almost unheard of in the Orthodox church. I explained that I am an English teacher and a priest. I left a business card with them because their son (the one who had last driven the car) wants to learn English. They kept asking me where the church was so that they can come because they do not attend any church and never really have. They asked me how long we have been living in the apt. and I told them about 2 years. I said that it is a shame that we have never met before and too bad under such circumstances but I really believe God did this so that I could share what I did with them. They said, we have never thought of things like that before. It is a new perspective for us. So, what could have been a disaster and joy killer, turned out to be a chance to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

How do you view difficult situations? Are they times that steal your joy and make you miserable or do you see them as opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul saw prison, not as the termination of his ministry but as an opportunity to write 75% of the New Testament as well as a chance to share the Gospel with a captive audience. If prison does not stop the preaching of the Gospel then nothing short of death should keep us from doing as Paul did. As he told Timothy, preach (explain) the Gospel in season and out (when people have come to hear and also when they do not really want to hear it). In other words, explain the Gospel to others at all times. Are you doing that? What stops you from explaining the Gospel to others? Chains could not stop Paul, what meager excuses do we have? May the Lord bless you as you live and share His Truth to the people around you.

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2 comments on “Car accident; disaster or opportunity?

  1. Six years ago my husband and I were attacked by 3 dogs. My husband was bit badly on the back of one leg; I was bit twice and broke my wrist when I fell. The woman who owned the dogs was horrified, kept apologizing and said that she would pay all our medical bills. This was a bit over my head as I was in terrible pain and in shock. The break in my wrist had crushed bone into nerves and pain medicine did nothing to relieve the pain I was in. I waited for 9 hours for a specialist to come set the bone (just like in the movies where they put something in your mouth to bite on and then my hand was pulled one way while someone held the rest of me so the bone could move back into place). That helped the pain, and the surgery I had to put a plate in my wrist helped heal the break. Now for my husband and his example to take a bad experience and use it for glorifying Christ. He set up a meeting with the dog owners to come to our house and talk. He wanted assurances that the dogs would not be out, ever, without leashes. We were caring for foster children at the time and by God’s grace we hadn’t brought them on our walk with us that morning. We had left them with our older daughter so they could sleep in. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened if they had been with us. Also, we wanted to be clear about the medical bills so that we wouldn’t have to take legal action. My husband prayed before the neighbors came over. He asked that God use us to show the love of Jesus. I remember thinking “What? No, I want to be angry. I want them to see how bad I got hurt. Forgiveness? I’m not ready for that.” But the Spirit worked on my heart and when the people arrived I was able to see how scared they were. We talked calmly and worked things out. It was later we found out that the wife had just lost a baby. She was also fired from her job. She was in a fog of grief and hadn’t taken precautions with the dogs like she normally did. The husband was a young, bitter Marine who had lost faith in mankind. He told us that he had come to our house prepared to be yelled at and threatened. He wasn’t expecting to be treated with kindness and concern. I don’t know what seeds were planted that night. We don’t have contact with them anymore. But we told them that we were loving them the way Jesus loved us, and that He loved them as well. We ended up the evening laughing about the strange way we went about meeting our neighbors. God took something potentially horrible and made it good. Every time I look at the scar on my arm I am reminded of the one who has scars on his wrists, and feet and side for me and I am grateful for the opportunity to love like He did, and for my husband who modeled that for me. May your experience bring about much fruit – I will be praying for you!

    • Thank you for your prayers and your story. I really enjoyed reading about how God brought you to the point where you were able to forgive and he turned the situation around for His glory. I am sorry about your injuries. In our case, no one was hurt.

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