He Hit My Car
Boom Boom. Thud.
That was the sound I heard just as I was about to head out of the Emory Children's Hospital complex in Atlanta yesterday.
I had gone to spend the day with a church family whose son was having surgery. The day had gone great. Surgery went well. Spent the time getting to know the family more. Big laughs. Great talks. Ya know, the day couldn't have been better.
Everyone knows that if you don't want to spend hours in Atlanta traffic, you've got to leave by a certain time. I walked out of the Hospital after 5pm (this is CERTAINLY NOT the time you want to leave in order to beat the traffic). I knew this was going to be an extra long ride home back to Columbus. But staying until they discharged my buddy was well worth it. I darted for the elevator. Found my car quickly. Made me way up and out of the underground parking garage and joined the long line of cars exiting the hospital.
In this part of Atlanta, the roads are very narrow. But Having lived in the city before, I was used to it. I inched up to the traffic light as I began to wait my turn to turn into traffic when I heard two loud "booms" and felt a "thud". I looked to my right and realized a car had hit my car. My immediate reaction, "GREAT! I've driven for 16 years and have never been in a car accident and this guy just ruined my streak!" (I know, I'm strange). I did a quick check of myself, looked around and pulled over to the side with my hazards on.
With a check of my car and a nod to the other driver, I realized what happened. He had gotten too close to my car and his driver-side mirror side swiped my passenger side mirror. So so so so so minor. I was extremely lucky! I looked for damage on my car and his. And I could barely find anything. Out of precaution , we exchanged information. While doing so, however, there was something about this guy that I was noticing.
He was upset.
He was nervous.
He was scared.
I enquired. "Are you ok?" He looked up at me and said, "I just hate that I did this. I hate that I did this to you". Immediately I felt an overwhelming need to reassure him that we were good. No one got hurt. Our vehicles were fine. I wasn't upset at all (except for the fact that now my 16 year old streak was gone). As he continued taking my info, I began to ask him, "Do you have any plans for Easter". He didn't have any. The way he answered, even, was as though Easter didn't really mean anything to him.
This came as a bit of a shock to me. I mean, everyone I know is stressing out about making our Easter services perfect, getting the word out, ordering invite cards, making sure the website is updated, choir rehearsals, stage design, tech scripts, etc. And here's this guy, completely oblivious.
I continued talking to him about Easter and what it was all about. I asked him if he knew Jesus. He said he didn't. And somehow, I had the courage to ask, "would you like to know him". He said sure.
So right there, in the turning lane of Uppergate Drive and Clifton Road, in the middle of major traffic that we were causing, I lay my hand on his shoulders and prayed the Sinners Prayer with him.
He accepted Christ as his lord and savior. Wow. Amazing. Praise God.
I began to wonder as I drove home, shouldn't ministry be this way all the time? The chance encounters to do life with someone, lead them to a place where they are rescued from darkness. The moments that we are often too busy to see are the moments filled with droplets of dust made of miracles. In our haste to make our services excellent, we can find ourselves ignoring the world around us. And sometimes, God has to literally ram our cars to get our attention--to pay attention to the lost ones around us.
As for the man who got saved. I connected him with a church I knew of in the area. I can't wait to report what God continues to do in his life.
As for me, I'm looking for more chance encounters...I'd like them without the car accident part though if possible.
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