Tuesday, 2 August 2011

"ROLL DOWN THE WINDOW!" - A Story Of Salvation


Oh sweet, sweet, Jesus, if only we knew all the ways you watch out for us every day... even those who don't yet know You. You watch over them too... not because they deserve it. And not because You need to... simply because You love them. You love them with such a passionate desperation that You choose to defy the natural process of destruction and chaos, and You shower them with blessing, favor, and mercy.

- Amen

Back story: Today I had the pleasure of doing lifegroup with some of my favorite people - certainly some of God's favorites too - while floating down the Penticton Canal. (For those who don't know, there is a beautiful city about a 45 minute drive from my hometown called Penticton, which is sandwiched between two equally gorgeous lakes. Connecting those lakes is a Channel/Canal wth a strong current that is MAD fun to float/swim down in the summer.) So we had a wonderful time floating, chatting, flipping eachother, laughing histerically, swimming, and floating some more. About an hour and a half, and 6ish kms later, we arrived at the end of our ride, and dragged our floaties up onto the shore, and started deflating, still excited about our fun adventure. Little did we know, the real adventure was only beginning.

Minutes later, a taxi cab that had been waiting from up above for potential passengers jumped from it's parking lot position into a full on race towards the water. With only the driver in the vehicle (praise God!), the car barrelled down an embankment, and into the water as though it was travelling promptly with purpose. Myself and the several other witnesses stood dumbfounded for a moment before we realized that this was in fact real life, and not a scene from a movie (which seemed like a more probable conclusion for my now very confused and concerned mind).

Only moments after the car hit the water, three of my wonderful friends, Sean, Warren, and Alex, along with two others, jumped into the water determined to save this man's life. I remember so clearly seeing Warren with the fire, and desperation of Father God in his eyes, begging this trapped man to snap out of his extreme shock and blank daze, and unroll the window before we were all forced to witness the unthinkable. For what seemed like an eternity, we watched Warren banging with frantic urgency on the window, pleading with this man's blank stare to wake up, and accept his only chance for survival - the hand of a loving stranger. In literally the last second before it was too late, the man looked to his left, and then to his right, and realized, in his limited, shocked state, that his situation was bad. Likely unsure of how he got there, he knew he wanted out, and this was going to require immediate action on his part... one step in the right direction... one step would do it... a simple move of his finger... a lowering of the window... to let the stranger - the waiting hero - in. Thank GOD, he did just that. Mere moments before the top of the car was completely submerged, the still-shocked taxi driver, stiff as a board, was being kept afloat by five amazing men - three of whom I know for a fact had God's Spirit of strength on them, as they were the literal hands and feet of Jesus, dragging the stranger to shore.

God's providence didn't end there... Karmelle (Alex's wife, and one of my dearest friends) was waiting on the shore to put her nursing skills to work, praying for God's loving protection to continue, and monitoring his health until the ambulance arrived.

I am simply in awe of our merciful Father God. The more I look at the details of this unreal event, the more I see how God's hand was ALL over it!

Firstly, the taxi miraculously went off the road literally SECONDS AFTER our pastor's wife and two small children (ages 3 and 4) walked right in front of it. Had they been hit with the taxi going at that speed... I can't even bear to think about it. Just Praise God He didn't let that happen.        PRAISE           GOD           !!!

Secondly, on undoubtably one of the BUSIEST days of the year (The Monday of the August long weekend), there happened to be a perfect gap in floating-traffic at the exact time the car hit the water. One could only imagine the number of fatalities there could have been if a group of people were floating by before, during, or after that moment.

Thirdly, common cultural floating-practice is to collect all the booze you can get your hands on, and drink it on your way down the canal - for obvious reasons, we didn't participate in the drinking aspect, and were very possibly the only 100% sober people at the shore at that time. I believe that God strategically timed it that the first people on the scene, and the closest witnesses would be clear-minded, and God-dependent.

Fourthly, it might sound silly, but I'm personally eternally grateful to God that my wonderful friends (and the two other men) were at the scene, willing to risk their lives, and strong enough to save this man. I hate to say it, but I feel like if they weren't around, and I had to jump in, we would be telling a much different story right now. I don't think any number of women would have been able to do what those men did. This taxi driver was a big man, and even as we were watching these strong men pulling him to shore, his head bobbed under the water a couple of times, and I honestly questioned for a second whether or not THEY were going to make it. I praise God that I didn't have to attempt that myself. It would have been unbearable if my little girl-muscles were unable to bear the weight of this man and his water logged clothes. I can't bear to imagine how I would have felt if I had to watch this man go down with little I could do but struggle weakly.

But I didn't. Honestly, I feel so very involved... yet in reality, most of my involvement consisted of watching from the shore. I would have helped if I had to... I really would have. I was ready to make a move, but when I looked around, there was not much to do but praise the Father. God had taken care of everything. He thought out every little detail. Planned to the second for His glory and for the sake of His beloved children. He arranged in advance that no one would need to suffer - that everyone would come out unscathed. Do you think this East Indian taxi driver knew Jesus and that's why He saved him? Possibly... I don't know either way. But the chances are, this man was an unbeliever - most people are. Yet, his Heavenly Father, whether he knew Him or not, was watching him intently... concerned about his every move... anticipating his innocent mistake, and ready to catch him in His loving arms when he fell.

God did everything he possibly could do to help this man. Yet remember the part when Warren was pleading for the man to roll down his window? What if he didn't choose to comply? Would God have still been there? Would God still have been worthy of praise? God's part didn't change, did it? He would have been just as willing and prepared to save the man. He would still have done everything he could to bring him back to the safety of the shore... but ultimately, for a moment, salvation - the differenece between life and death - was in the taxi driver's hands. He had only one possible way out... no second, or third route to safety. This was it. And he had only but a moment to figure it out, and a lifetime of reward for doing it.

Isn't this how it is when we are faced with salvation through Jesus Christ? We don't have multiple options... several correct choices... a few ways that might work. The deal is, that if we don't roll down our spiritual window, our loving Saviour cannot pull us out to safety. No other option... no other way... period! We often sit in our car's too long, attempting foolishly to drive ourselves out of the water only to wind up drowning in our own "selfish ambition and vain conceit." Sometimes, we are tricked to believe that if we act like we aren't really sinking, and deny our obvious fate, that it can't get us. Yet, the fact is, Jesus is like Warren was... standing helplessly, only inches away from us, begging, and pleading for us to choose Him; to admit our need, accept His help, press the button, and hurry our way out of there with the help of our new Best-Friend.

The man later claimed to have accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake - likely over-tired, and half asleep on this long-weekend which was undoubtably busy for any taxi driver. He is a husband and a father, and seemed to be a very sweet, loving man. Please pray for him and his family as he mentally, physically, and emotionally recovers from this traumatic incident. My prayer for him is that his spiritual eyes would be open to see the desperate situation that is living a life without salvation through Jesus. Holy Spirit, I pray that he would willingly, and joyfully receive Your loving, and faithful hand.


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