Sometimes our natural reactions can get us killed...or at least give us a free pass to watch our life flash before our eyes. Can you picture it? The marquee lit up like a city with flashing bulbs and in the middle in big, black, bold letters: Now Showing - My Near-Death Experience.
When I was a child I thought about one particular conversation I would have with God once I got to heaven, unpacked and got settled in. I always wanted to see if I could take a look at the highlight reel of my life. Based on what ESPN tends to show on their highlight reels, I'm certain near-death experiences would be part of the presentation.
How many would there be? I'm not just talking about physical near-death experiences, but the choices we made - or could have - that would have made our lives completely different.
When driving, our natural reaction - for some - to a deer dashing across the street is to swerve. Bad news if there's a ditch, mailbox or even worse, another car. Of course, you may end up in a small, quirky little town that's in need of a new doctor, meet a girl and walk a pig around town on a leash. But enough about Michael J. Fox romantic comedies. I imagine the safer option would be to apply the brakes.
So what physical near-death experiences, or close-calls would show up in your highlight reel? I think I'm more fascinated by the close calls that are more emotional than physical. Such as, what if I decided to partake in drugs, alcohol and premarital sex. I know my life would be drastically different in some shape or form. Would I still have married my wife? There are so many paths on our adventure of life that sometimes it's scary to think about. If I hadn't married my wife, I wouldn't have my daughters. That thought literally makes me sick. But it could've happened. If she didn't move down to Virginia after I was hired, it would've turned out differently. Thank goodness God is in control. Thank goodness He doesn't swerve even though we make ourselves look foolish when we do.
I could write a entire book on near-misses and have a lot of fun with the main character as he or she both struggles and conquers the challenges that are faced with where different paths with different choices would lead them.
Whatever choices we're faced with we need to be heart-conscious of what our natural reaction is as well as knowing whether or not it's the right decision. Just because it feels good or feels right doesn't mean it is. Remember, we're not the ones in control. Yes, we're behind our own wheel sometimes and sometimes we swerve and make a mess of the situation. In my dinner-time devotional book by Sarah Young, it says not to do the natural thing, but rather the supernatural thing.
This means, when we do swerve and crash into a mailbox or we make a bad decision that even makes God shake His head (relax, it's just a figure of speech), that we give praise. Even when our money situation stinks, our job isn't fulfilling, when we lack a supportive and healthy relationship...you name the ugly situation and we need to do the same thing each and every time. No matter how bad things seem, give praise. Be thankful for all that you have. Not to end on a downer, but nothing lasts forever. The things we take for granted could be gone. Just. Like. That. Nest time you're in a ditch, or maybe you're in one now, hit the brakes.
Hit the brakes and give praise. Be filled with peace and the understanding that it'll all be alright. You never know, you just may end up in a small town walking a pig with a pretty girl. It could happen.
Afterthought: Notice the picture at the top. It's a blank marquee. You get to choose what your highlight reel gets to be. We all make the blooper reel. I'm sure even Mike Schmidt and Scott Rolen had some doozies. No matter if we swerve or not we are God's highlight reel.