Faithfully Yours - A sobering moment in my life


Neil Strohschein
The Neepawa Banner

I don’t remember how old I was when this happened; but I remember the day very vividly. Two days earlier, we had heard of a traffic accident involving one of our local truckers. He had lost control of his rig on a steep hill, had rolled it and then slid down the hill. The tractor of the unit he rolled was a single-axle GMC tilt cab. When I saw how badly damaged the unit was, I was amazed that he had managed to walk away from that accident with only few cuts and bruises.

We stood there for a while and then my dad looked at me and said: “Neil, one day when you get your license, remember what you’ve seen today. Slow down. Be careful. Don’t take risks.”

In the years since, I have witnessed the results of many serious traffic accidents. At every sight, I ask the same questions—who was at fault (if anyone), who was taking unnecessary risks who wasn’t paying due attention or adjusting driving practices to adapt to road conditions?

Every day, as I travel the roads in this part of Manitoba, I see people driving too fast, passing when it’s not safe to do so, making illegal turns, speeding up to get across a set of tracks before the train gets there—you name it, I’ve seen it. And yes, there have been times when I have taken unnecessary risks as well. I am, after all, only human.

It’s scenes like the one I described above that remind me of the dangers we face every day we live. There is always the possibility that sudden illness, accident or other calamity can touch us or someone we love. In this life, there are no guarantees.

There are three ways to respond to this reality—in fear, with folly or in faith.

If we live in fear, we will quickly become hermits; afraid to go anywhere, afraid to take risks, afraid to try anything new. And we will most likely become crabby, cranky and cantankerous individuals who see nothing but negativity in the world around us.

Those who respond with folly could care less about any danger. They waste their resources, take unnecessary risks, and seem to be constantly courting danger or tragedy. They live as though there is no tomorrow and sadly, for some of them, there won’t be.

Then there are those who respond to life with deep faith in God and in the loving and caring people God has placed in their lives. They understand that this world is a dangerous place in which to live. But they are not crippled by fear. They receive each new day as a gift from God. They embrace the opportunities for service that it contains. They are aware of the dangers they could encounter but they trust God to protect them and supply their needs.

And if, in the process of carrying out their daily tasks, they come upon a scene in which someone has experienced any form of tragedy, their hearts break—because they know that God’s heart breaks whenever someone suffers serious injury. So, they pray. They pray for people they have never met—people they probably never will meet. They ask that God will heal the wounded, comfort the sorrowing and help all touched by this tragedy to recover, rebuild and move on.

And whenever they recall that scene, they will thank God for another sobering moment—a moment that reminds them of how short life can be and encourages them to use each day wisely.