A week or so ago I was driving down the road chewing on the plastic lid to a soda bottle (don't ask me why, I have no good reason), when I was jarred after I hit a bad spot in the road causing the cap to go a little farther down my throat than I was expecting. I coughed it out quickly but it caused me to realize how stupid of a thing it was to be chewing on a bottle cap. Had I been a bit unluckier I could have died either from the choking hazard or the accident that would have surely resulted as I was trying to dislodge it. Wouldn't that be a strange obituary? I could imagine my family trying to explain it to folks how I had died. As I reflected on this bit of my own foolishness, it got me to thinking how many times a day, I could have almost died.
So for the next week, I did just that. Any time a car pulled out in front of me (or I pulled out in front of someone), anytime I went down some stairs, or unplugged something without looking at the wires, got passed by a car walking down the street or any one of the other hundreds of ways people die each day in simple little accidents, I reminded myself, I could have died. It was kind of startling! We live in a kind of foolish fog thinking we are pretty insulated from any danger, but if you take the time to think about we really are not. As James tells us our life is “just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away”.
Now I'm not writing about this to put you in a state of fear. Most people don't die in freak accident. I writing to ask you to think about why we are not? It’s not because we are so good at watching out for potential dangers (some of us are driving around at high rates of speed chewing on items that are CLEARLY marked as choking hazards). Time and chance happen to everyone no matter how we might protect against it (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12). The only reason we get along so good is that’s someone is watching out for us.
In Psalm 5:11-12 we read, “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield. I think too often we think about how God protects us and we only think about the big life changing events that flash in our minds like a neon sign. But if we could even calculate all the little moments God protects and provides for us in the subtle minute ways that we gloss over as we zoom thru life, we would be falling on our news every moment thanking him for what he does for us.
Next time you pray don't just think about what God gave you but also think about all the things God kept from happening to you. Do that and you will never struggle with thankfulness again!