Generally speaking, I would rather drive in a snowstorm than in rain at night, but there I was Tuesday around 8:30 p.m. driving home on I-94 in the pouring rain. The scene was not much different the following day at 6:30 a.m. as I drove back to church, except that the morning traffic was much heavier than the night before. Fortunately on Wednesday evening I was home before it got dark.
As I drove, my mind wandered back to a day many years ago when I was driving on Eight Mile Road, near I-275, in the pouring rain. I was in the center lane preparing to make a left turn when a vehicle coming in the opposite direction pulled into “my” lane with the intent of doing the same. I slammed on my brakes, slid sideways into the lane to my right, and narrowly missed contact with any other vehicle as I again straightened out my car. I then pulled into my destination, said a prayer of thanksgiving, and wondered how many angels it took to keep us all safe during the incident.
I think it is the uncertainty that comes with driving when it is dark and wet that troubles me the most. Whether it is water on the road, unpredictable drivers, the speed of the highway, or me losing my focus, the combination of dark and wet makes it feel like my vehicle is closely surrounded by a shroud of danger. I understand why the Bible uses both the sea and the darkness to describe evil.
I do not think it is just my time of driving on the highway, either. In many ways, the days in which we are living seem dark and wet, even when the sun is shining. The rate of change in our world seems to be continuously accelerating. Combine this with the unpredictability of what will happen next and how easily we lose focus, and in many ways life itself is closely surrounded by a shroud of danger.
However, the reason my mind wandered back to that day on Eight Mile is not because of how close I came to tragedy, but rather to the fact and the way God rescued me. And how the comforting words of Psalm 91 were so true. “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91.11-12)
Those same “guardian angels” are on duty 24/7 for you and all who are God’s people in Christ Jesus. And, though it may seem like our lives are closely surrounded by a shroud of danger, Psalm 91 advises us otherwise. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91.1) In other words, we are constantly surrounded by a protective shield that keeps us safe no matter how dark and wet things are.
Does this mean that tragedy will never come our way … that our lives will be struggle and accident free? Of course not! Rather, it means that through it all – no matter what – God is at work, assuring us of his gracious presence and the ultimate fulfillment of all his promises.
No matter how dark or wet the day, his promise is clear. “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. … Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place – the Most High who is your refuge – no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent” (Psalm 91.7, 9) for the Lord himself says, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91.14-16) There is no life longer than eternal life, and there is nothing so dark or wet in our world that can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8.39)