I feel compelled to inform you that if the continuance of life on Earth should somehow ever be linked to my children turning out the light in their bedrooms or the bathrooms — we’re all toast. I’m so sorry for this bit of news but I thought I’d mention it as a fair warning. I hope it helps you make plans and get ready for the big boom. No need to thank me, that’s just how I am, always thinking of others.
So anyway, last Sunday I went to the store to pick up a few necessities. As I was driving, the car seemed a little different, but I couldn’t figure out what it was or if I was imagining something. When I parked the car, I did the normal turn off the ignition and pull the key out, but the car kept running. This was a new and disturbing development.
I decided to head back home since the car wouldn’t turn off. As I was driving through the parking lot, I saw smoke and suddenly realized that the smoke was coming out of my car. I quickly pulled into another parking space away from other cars and told my daughter to get out of the car as fast as she could. I took the key out of the ignition and the engine actually stopped this time. Smoke was pouring out of the hood of my car and the smell of something burning was strong. I was convinced we were about to see flames at any moment. The smoke eventually slowed to a stop, but the burning smell was still strong.
I called my husband about this exciting development and then took my daughter into the store. I felt a little shaken as we walked through the store and then it dawned on me that while we were by the car, with smoke pouring out of it, not one single person stopped by to help in any way. Not one. It was a crowded parking lot with many people moving about and not one person even came over to ask if we were ok. I think this realization upset me more than when I thought the car was about to catch on fire.
Oddly enough, at the exact same time my car was taking a little trip into the twilight zone, the car that my teenage niece was driving broke down on a major roadway. She had been taking one of her sisters to soccer practice when the car stopped working. A woman, who knows my nieces, stopped and asked what was going on. My niece told her the car had broken down. The gist of what I understand the woman said in return was, “That’s too bad. Good luck with that.” Then off she drove.
We all have our moments of self-involvement where we don’t do anything for anybody and there certainly are moments where we simply cannot stop and do anything to help. But seriously, hundreds of cars in a parking lot and not one single person asked if we were ok? not even the security guys? And a family friend leaves two teenage girls on the side of the road to fend for themselves? No do you need me to call your mom and dad? or maybe a can I drive you to a safer place while you wait for help?
Isn’t it good to know that our fate does not actually rest in the hands of two young ones that don’t ever remember to turn off any light at any time? And while it is nice when people step in to help, especially when they don’t have to, it’s not usually necessary to make it through the day.
Despite the frustration these moments can create, I was reminded, by contrast, how God stepped in to do everything possible for us — all the while knowing we may not think His efforts were worth all that much. Our fate is in the hands of a God who loves us so very much that He was willing to not only become one of us, but also to become our guilt and shame so that we may know freedom and salvation. I’ll admit that I can barely comprehend the sacrifice that was made on our behalf, but I am so thankful for God’s love for us expressed in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person (or simply help with a car it seems), though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:6-8 NLT