The Privileged Life: A Bump in the Road


“…count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2-3

As I pulled up to the traffic stop, it happened. The sickening screech of tires behind me. Then, the jolting thunk.

I’d been rear-ended. Pretty hard.

There’s always an initial shock in a car wreck. It took me a few seconds to locate the other driver—he had pulled his truck over to the side—before I was able to get out of the busy traffic. Then, training kicked in, same words I had given to my teens when I taught them how to drive:

Stay calm. Find out if anyone is injured. Assess the situation and get to safety. Call 911. Take down license tags and insurance information. 

Check, check, check, check, check. Although both of us were rattled (his airbags deployed), neither of us were really injured. No other passengers were in either vehicle, the other driver was insured, and my car was not propelled into oncoming traffic. I was very, very thankful. Things could have been much worse.

While we stood in drizzling rain and waited for a traffic patrolman, the other driver apologized several times. I reassured him that all was well with me. 

But a thought kept nagging me…about the sister of a very good friend of mine.

Back in March, my friend had emergency-texted our Bible study group to say that her sister Elizabeth had been in a terrible head-on collision and was being taken from the scene in an ambulance. Prayers were launched.

Elizabeth was hit by a truck driver who had veered out of his lane while reaching for his tipped-over drink. The driver came to talk with Elizabeth while she was being loaded onto a stretcher, telling her how sorry he was to have caused the wreck.

Elizabeth promptly told him that she forgave him.

En route to the hospital, one of the paramedics in the ambulance told Elizabeth that the “forgiven” statement had really affected her. “For as long as I’ve been working accidents,” the paramedic said, “I’ve never seen anyone respond with immediate forgiveness.” 

Elizabeth’s answer was this: “We all make mistakes, and the Lord forgives my mistakes each day.”

My friend later texted that after x-rays and examination at the hospital, her sister Elizabeth was released with only bruising from the airbags. We all praised God for answered prayers.

But what a profound and simple testimony Elizabeth had expressed, even in the aftershock of an awful accident! Her attitude of grace affected me, too. I’m sure the fellow who hit me was typically a very responsible driver, and I could just as easily have made the same mistake. I made a point to tell him he was forgiven.

I know I would have had a much harder time forgiving if I were injured or if this had been a hit-and-run. Fortunately, God had already convicted me a while back for being vain about my car, and I had laid it on the altar to Him. I really wasn’t that surprised by the accident. It opened doors to speak the name of our Lord to insurance agents and collision assessors. 

On the road of life, we all have “bumpy” moments when we need to forgive others…sometimes daily, as in that seventy-times-seven situation (see Matthew 18:21-22). Forgiveness needs to be a habit—never flippant or careless, but intentional and genuine.

The result? True freedom. When we choose to retain grudges, the effects are devastating—sometimes to the offender, but most definitely to the injured party. Unforgiving people are very unhappy. People who forgive are at peace…and can sleep at night.

Jesus personified true forgiveness under fire when He relinquished his life on the cross, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34a)

In light of His great forgiveness for my sins, how could I not forgive others for the inconveniences of life? And if I don’t practice the habit of forgiveness with small things, how will I ever develop the courage to forgive the big stuff? Or to forgive the people who aren’t apologetic?

By His grace and strength, we can endure the trials that hit us when we least expect them. My prayer is that, whatever comes your way this week, you will lean on His Holy Spirit to comfort you and remember Jesus’ words about grace and forgiveness. May we all be more like my friend’s sister Elizabeth and follow her example when moments like these arise!!

Jesus, You taught us to pray by saying, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” It’s so very hard for us to forgive others sometimes—please send Your Holy Spirit to remind us of Your overwhelming pardon for our sins so that we may release any grudges we cherish. Let Your grace so overflow in us that we freely extend it to others. In Your forgiving name, Amen.

For a taste of what God’s forgiveness is like, listen to these lyrics by the group, We the Kingdom—“Holy Water”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0xhhG1Hyos

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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

My sweet little ride…out of commission for a little bit…

5 responses to “The Privileged Life: A Bump in the Road”

  1. Nancy, that was one powerful, convicting and motivating devotional!! I’m so sorry for your accident, but very thankful you were unhurt! Who knows how many people will be inspired to respond with grace and forgiveness in the future because of your friend’s sister and your example! That opened the floodgates for Jesus to be glorified! Thank you for sharing it with us!

    Big hugs,

    Penny

    Liked by 1 person

    • Penny, you are so very kind! Yes, Elizabeth’s words and attitude were very powerful and convicting! She immediately came to mind in the midst of my fender-bender, helping me cope with the situation. I really did feel sorry for the other driver, definitely could have been me in his shoes. Blessings to you!!

      Like

    • Thanks, Mamalava! I’m thankful, too, especially since the airbags in my car didn’t inflate. I bruise easily, and that wouldn’t have been painful but would certainly have uglified my arms! 🤪 (Ha…my vanity surfaces…) Yes, very grateful to God for all of His big and little blessings. Have a beautiful day!

      Liked by 1 person

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