waiting through wreckage

I saw a car accident this summer.  On a highway in Wisconsin, my dad and brother were cruising towards Green Bay with me.  In front of us, a car suddenly went off the road into the median ditch.  The car flipped a few times and landed right side up.  We pulled over and ran down to the car.  Several other people stopped… and soon there were a dozen of us crawling into the car and trying to get doors open.  The air bags had left a strange smell in the air, along with the brake fluid and whatever else was leaking out of the car.  The couple in the car were semi alert and somewhat hurt.  While my brother called 911, my dad helped the driver, an older woman who seemed to be extremely drowsy.  I could not pry the passenger door open and the older man inside was struggling to breathe a bit and couldn't hold his head up.  His legs were pinned, so clearly he wasn't going anywhere until the fire department arrived with something to open up the vehicle.  So I climbed in behind the driver side, over to the man and held up his head.  That's all I could do.  He was bleeding a bit and wheezing.  I remember praying with God that I'd like to see the man healed and to walk out of the wreckage.  Meanwhile, I held his head and waited for the rescuers to arrive.

That's my view.  The passenger's view was a bit different… 

…He was comfortably, I assume, strolling down the road as a passenger. 
Everything was out of his hands… and it was all going along just
fine.  Then suddenly he was flipping through the air, the sounds of the
tires coming off the ground resonating eerily forever.  With traumatic
thuds the car would hit the ditch and keep spinning.  His head and neck
must have been whipping around.  I guess it was the second flip that
pinned his legs and the third flip that finally brought him to a
stop… stuck in the middle of wreckage.  He was only slightly aware of
the circumstance he was in.  Breathing was difficult.

What does a person do when they've been through a wreck and they are
trapped in the car, confused about what just happened, struggling to
figure out what's going on?  What does a person do when they've been
through a traumatic experience and can't just walk away from it?

Sometimes the answer is to wait through the wreckage.  Sometimes we
can't just find rest, we can't just take a day off, we can't just wish
our circumstances away.  Sometimes we are wrecked and we need to wait
through it.

It wasn't more than a few minutes before some paramedics arrived, some of whom were off duty and had just been driving by.  They
relieved me of my head-holding job and took over, knowing what to do to
help the man.  My dad and brother and I made our way back to our car. 
I noticed I had some blood on my finger and realized I had a sliver of
glass sticking in it.  All I had to do was pull it out and put a napkin
on my finger for a while.  That older couple, on other hand, were going to be
waiting a while before this ordeal is all done.

In my post yesterday I talked about being wrecked physically and
emotionally this week.  The comments were fantastic.  Yes, rest is what
I need.  Absolutely.  Sabbath is essential and it must not be
neglected.  And yes, time with the Lord is the answer.  Absolutely. 
Time with God is the only way to deeply breathe.  Yes, flourescent
bulbs are evil.  Absolutely.  Something without white noise would be

But what if I (or someone like "I") couldn't take time to rest because
the circumstances had pinned me?  What if I couldn't get out of my circumstances to walk in some deep intimate moments with my Creator?  And what if I
couldn't change the light bulbs because I wasn't driving the
maintenance committee?   This week, the truth is that I'd like to step
out of my wreckage… but sometimes the wreckage itself makes
walking away from the wreckage impossible… or even the wrong
thing to do.  Sometimes there is a need to endure through it because that's all you can do. 
Sometimes you can't just take the day off or just close your eyes
because you can't handle it.  Sometimes you have to wait in it.

And in the wait, I think, somehow, is the answer.  That older man could have
fought to get out… but he would have only hurt himself more.  That
older man eventually had to try to steady himself and wait for another
to help him.  There was nothing else he could rightfully do.  Somehow,
in the middle of wreckage, is the opportunity for rest.  Somehow, in
the pinned-down life, is the opportunity to be with God.  It's not a
give-up, it's a patient endurance.  It's not a laziness, it's an active
pursuit of life to it's fullest in the middle of wrecked
circumstances.  It's a trusting way to live.  It's a proactively
submissive posture. 

Psalm 27 is a beautiful example of waiting through wreckage.  It's a
heart that seeks after God even as it's trapped in out-of-control
events.  The psalm ends with this assuring, if not difficult-for-us

"Wait for the Lord.  Be strong and take heart.  Wait for the Lord."

One Comment

  1. It reminds me, a bit, of your previous postings and discussions on broken jars. God’s preferred instruments. Waiting, somehow, seems like a waste of time, but becomes essential for the Christian walk. My favorite verse is Micah 7:7, waiting for the Lord, knowing that he is my saviour, knowing he will come for me, but all the same, waiting, he has heard my cry. Powerful Ken…

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