A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
"A Consideration Of Close Calls"
Message summary: Aren't you glad for the many ways that God protects as evidenced by our recollection of close calls in addition to the many "near misses" we're completely unaware of. Peace triumphs over our fears when we realize our lives are safely in His loving hands!
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"And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night" (1 Samuel 19:10). "The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety" (Acts 27:44). "My times are in Your hands" (Psalm 31:15a).
Yesterday I had a close call, one of those moments that in retrospect was very stupid, but it sure got my attention, Brooksyne's as well. The safest way to expose a folly is to expose your own. I have given myself permission to share this.
I was trying to remove the wheel from an axle that had been on a small garden cart. The wheel was stuck on the axle so I placed it on the ground and pushed down with all my might against the wheel. Suddenly it came loose and slid down the spindle causing me to lose my balance. I fell into the spindle due to the momentum and the end of the axle went into my neck.
It really, really hurt and I fell against the fence in pain. Brooksyne was also working outside at the time and came over. She was worried that the swelling could cut off my airway so she took a photo for reference just in case we needed it later, should medical intervention be required (a loving wife she is). I still have the mark on my neck and a very sore throat but otherwise I seem to be OK. I've thought since then, had I exerted even more force, I could have done some really serious damage or worse. And, to add to the "What if?" line of thinking I am very thankful the steel end was not pointed!
The term "close call" describes "a narrow escape from danger or disaster". In aviation they use the term "near miss" when two planes pass dangerously close to one another, barely missing a mid-air collision.
I recall a safety meeting years ago at a construction company (Smucker and Sons) where Phil Givler, the safety director, encouraged the men to consider inevitable close calls and how they can learn from them by reviewing the steps that preceded the close call and consider the safer course of steps to prevent a potential accident.
All through life we have close calls, those experiences in life where we were within seconds of mere inches from disaster. Some, like my experience yesterday, we recognize and acknowledge how close we came to something serious happening. But we also have unrecognized near misses when we are unaware of how close we came to danger, such as a drunk driver or one distracted by texting who comes close to colliding with us but we were oblivious about the near miss.
Some close calls may be due to our own stupidity, carelessness or rebellious living, others due to circumstances beyond our control. In some cases we can learn from them and in all cases we can express gratitude to God for His hand of protection while also teaching us much about our sovereign God and also teaching us about the accidental and purposeful choices we make!
Do you recall any close calls you've encountered? After considering them do you find yourself doubly grateful to God, but also soberly troubled by the question, "WHAT IF"?
Ron DiCianni has an amazing ability to paint an image based on Biblical stories. In his art depictions he often creates people in modern dress and the picture just seems to come alive. He writes, "It will be interesting to one day find out all the near misses and unexplained detours God brought us through".
Today's texts refer to close calls. The first concerns David who had many close calls! After his amazing victory over Goliath he became immensely popular and Saul became insanely jealous. The latter part of 1 Samuel describes this period. The daily text is one attempt by Saul to kill David but he escaped. "And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night."
In the second text Paul and many others had been in a ship wreck that could have very well resulted in the loss of many lives. "The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety." This was according to the promise which was made by Paul in Acts 27:22 that no lives would be lost.
Bible teacher Albert Barnes writes,
"This was done by the special providence of God. It was a remarkable instance of divine interposition to save so many through so long-continued dangers; and it shows that God can defend in any perils, and can accomplish all His purposes. On the ocean or the land we are safe in His keeping, and He can devise ways that shall fulfill all His purposes, and that can protect His people from danger."
Aren't you glad for the many ways that God has protected through the "many dangers, toils and snares" of life? Our recollection of close calls in addition to the many "near misses" we're completely unaware of reminds us of God's steady care. Peace overcomes our fear when we realize our lives are safely in His loving hands!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, daily we entrust our safe keeping to others as we venture out on the highway, as we eat food provided by total strangers, as we take medicine that could bring about disastrous results rather than healing. When we use time-saving power tools or electrical gadgets we are at the mercy of modern inventions and other people, the vast majority of them being complete strangers. Whether it's the driver of the subway or pilot of the aircraft, whether it's the children obeying the crossing guard or a doctor prescribing a cure for what ails us or if it's a soldier looking to his comrades to cover for his safety, we rely on these animate and inanimate objects everyday and yet, as believers, we more fully rely on Your providence, Your knowledge, Your power and goodness to care for us in dangerous settings. What reassurance we garner as we realize that You are always watching and caring for us. And when our time on this side has expired You are there waiting to usher us to our eternal abode where no danger lurks, no sins defile and no sorrow awaits us. Praise be to Your holy name forevermore. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"He Will Hold Me Fast" Video Selah What a song of blessed assurance! The Story Behind the Song Video
"My Life is in Your Hands" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
"Christ Redeemer" Video written and performed by Nate Marialke
I (Stephen) have compiled a partial list of known close calls in my life:
Brooksyne's Memory of a Close
Call: My family was at Fort Gibson Lake in
Oklahoma with neighbors over a weekend when I was
about 9 years old. Two of the young boys about my
age were fishing and a cork floated off into the
distant water. Knowing they couldn't swim that far
they let it go. I thought I'd help them out and
recover the cork (a little showing off as well). But
I swam out so far I became exhausted and started to
sink. The boys alerted their dads so they swam out
very swiftly and pulled me back to safety. I was so
relieved, though I was thoroughly embarrassed. Of
course, in my more mature years, I'm way beyond the
embarrassment and thoroughly grateful for God's
"In My Seat" - A Pilot's Story from Sept 10th-11, 2001 Video Near misses are a sober reminder of how fragile life is. Steve Scheibner, a pilot who was scheduled to pilot the first plane that was hijacked on 9/11 and crashed into the World Trade Center. He has a dramatic testimony of a near miss. We rejoice at God's hand of providence in the near misses we have experienced all through life and realize He must have plans for us to stay on this earth a bit longer. However in the entire scheme of things a failure to experience a near miss is also a part of life. In fact Tom McGuinness, the pilot that took Steve Scheibner's place was also a Christian. See here.
In Acts 12 we rejoice at Peter's near miss of being executed by Herod and his deliverance. But in that same chapter his fellow disciple James was beheaded.
Shortly after moving to Lancaster County a newly married youth pastor died when a church van he was working on ran over him. I thought of my own close call when the jack slipped on a car I had been working under just moments earlier. Why one has a close call and the other has a different outcome is one of the mysteries of providence. But as believers we are victorious either way: "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." God takes care of us and provides for us on both sides of eternity - it doesn't get better than that!
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