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.