Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Life Narrowly Spared

I saw him approaching the crosswalk as I slowed to a stop at the intersection. His summer skin glowed, framed by white tee and sandy mop. He pressed the button and waited his turn. As my children bickered in the backseat, I admired the distance he kept from the corner and wondered how many times his mother told him to step away from the curb. "He remembered," I thought, as I watched him fiddle with his skateboard. "Maybe Bub will too."

His eyes focused on the orange hand, willing it to change. When it did, he stepped into the road and continued to stare, looking at the blinking white figure as if he was looking ahead to a waiting friend. He did not look around, but even if he had, the path was clear and the way was his. He was confident in the figure calling him to cross.

In a flash, the SUV came barreling around the corner, racing to make the light, and for a moment, the boy was gone. I gasped. My eyes fell to the wheels making the bend, watching for the expelled viscera of someones blond-haired baby who waited his turn. The suburban mom on the cell phone never hit the brakes, but fortunately, the boy did. He stood waiting, his clothes billowing from the speeding motorist. His head turned along with the car, his face screwed tightly, partly from fear, partly from that 13-year-old need for a comeback. God's grace was evident in the life narrowly spared.

I wanted to cross traffic to take him up in my arms, to comfort him, to wipe away that fear and realization that his life had nearly been ended. But I couldn't. I was in a turning lane with traffic stacked behind me. The light changed and I had to go.

I watched him as I drove away and I wondered how often I'd been that same careless driver. I've never literally come close to killing a crossing child, but figuratively, how often have I, while wrapped up in my own moment or day or situation, nearly plowed over those around me -- people innocently living their lives left in my self-consumed wake?

As the boy became smaller in my rear-view, I became more acutely aware of my gratefulness for grace:

the grace that spared the blond-haired boy on a sunny summer day,
the grace that spares those in my wake,
the grace that continues to spare me.

"Grace is having a commitment to --
or at least an acceptance of --
being ineffective and foolish...
I do not at all understand the mystery of grace --
only that it meets us where we are
but does not leave us where it found us."
-- Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

"We believe that we are all saved the same way,
by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus."
-- Acts 15:11 NLT

"God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.
But as people sinned more and more,
God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.
So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death,
now God’s wonderful grace rules instead,
giving us right standing with God
and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
-- Romans 5:20-21 NLT

"Sin is no longer your master,
for you no longer live under the requirements of the law.
Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace."
-- Romans 6:14 NLT


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