Thinking Out Loud

August 5, 2017

A Memorial Cortege

I had already planned to take a different route on Friday. Normally, I take the freeway and drive two exits to work, but I had to pick up three boxes from someone’s house, so pulling out of the driveway, I headed in a different direction.

Several minutes in, I realized these side streets were quite busy and it was easy to deduce that the highway was closed. The backup intensified so I turned on the radio.

There had been a fatal accident twelve hours prior involving a transport truck and two cars. Two people died.

For me, from that point on, with the traffic so tied up, it was like we were all part of a funeral procession, cars slowly moving past given points in honor of the deceased. It was sobering and cast a shadow over the entire workday…

…When you live near a busy motorway, there are always markers. This is where the person laid a sheet over a body at the on-ramp, this is where the teenager chose to take his life, this is where I saw the car spin out of control and roll over just before leaving for holidays.

It’s a sad but ever-present reality. On some days the highway is simply quiet. Sometimes for 15 seconds; other times for 3-4 minutes at a time. On those days you wonder what is going on. You worry…

…On your best days, a car or van is a death-trap. The drivers of the big rigs are usually the most responsible people on the freeway, but when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong. Some question the theology of praying for “traveling mercies” but asking God for protection is probably as much a reminder to us of our vulnerability as it is a request to him.  We do our best, we drive responsibly and trust him to prompt other drivers to do the same.

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January 15, 2009

Attempts at Prayer at 2:30 AM

Filed under: Christianity, Faith, prayer — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 2:55 pm

I haven’t been sleeping well lately.   I wake up and then have way too much on my mind.   Last night I woke up at 2:30 and all I could think of was an accident that had taken place on Tuesday night, which I had just heard about on Wednesday night,  where two local elementary school teachers had been killed in a collision with a transport truck.   They both left young families behind.

I figured my best response to those thoughts was to pray, but pray for what?   We’d already prayed for the peace and comfort of God to reach into those families, but it was 2:30 AM and I wasn’t thinking clearly.   So I prayed, “God, this is too hard.  Turn back the hands of time to Tuesday and make it so it never happened.”

Of course, you can see a number of problems in that prayer.    First, if anything, it’s probably inspired by the Superman movie where he sets the earth spinning backwards to reverse time.   Secondly, of course, it’s just not a prayer that can be answered.    Nobody can criticize my lack of faith for a request so big, but it’s very misplaced.

I guess what I was really praying at that hour was, “Make it go away.”   Not just the hurt of those two families, but the hurt everywhere; the broken marriages, the people in the U.S. and U.K. getting hit the hardest in the economic slowdown and losing their homes, the hungry and thirsty in the arid parts of Africa, the people dodging the rockets in the middle east.

I refined my prayer to ask that God, in His mercy, would intervene and give protection to those who travel on icy roads this winter; and give a heightened sense of diligence to those who maintain those roads.    “In Jesus name, Amen.”

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