This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
John 18:9 (NIV)
We were driving south on the M1 motorway, ten minutes into what should have been a twenty-minute journey, when the traffic came to a complete standstill. We soon realised that this was going to take a while. It was 40 degrees inside the car in the blazing sun. Our two young grandchildren were seated in the back. What to do?
Reflecting, I thought that if Dante was to write his famous Inferno with references to hell today, he might have chosen the modern highway as a setting which seems to be always at risk of a standstill – abandon all hope ye who enter here!1 Think of it: hot, trapped, the stench of fuel fumes, stuck, no escape, tormented by missed opportunities – torture.
As time passed motorists got out of their stiflingly hot vehicles, walked around looking for a way out. The young boy in the car in front had a toilet accident; the faces of motorists contorted in anguish; people made frantic phone calls to inform of delays; there was internet searching to find out what was going on.
For me there was the refuge of intermittent prayer for the wellbeing of all concerned. Our toddler grandson was fast asleep – ‘Lord God, please let him sleep’ went the plea. I managed to manoeuvre the car into a little bit of shade alongside a large van. Some of us drivers got talking. The father of the boy who needed the toilet spoke very good English with what I thought was an Italian accent. He was Polish. He was going to be very late for work but we were both able to laugh at our shared plight.
What can we learn from these real-life events which affect us? We can remember to pray and to turn to God in every situation as encouraged in Philippians 4:6: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ And Matthew 28:20 reminds us that God is with us ‘always’. We can remember to think of others who share the situation we find ourselves in and show love to our ‘neighbour.’ (Matthew 19:19).
After several hours the traffic began to move; the relief on the travellers’ faces was palpable. News was out that a large vehicle had burst into flames, which we saw just a few miles down the road. It was indeed an inferno with the burnt-out articulated lorry left in charred ruins.
Fortunately, as far as we know, no one was hurt. We eventually arrived home. It took four hours – by the way, our young grandson slept almost until we got back.
One simple moral of the story is that we will undoubtedly get stuck at some point on our Christian journey but, thank God, we will make it home because, as the header scripture tells us, “I have not lost one…”.
Thank you, Lord God, for your safety, guidance and protection and for being with us, whatever the journey involves, as we look toward our home with you. Amen
Study by Kevin Harris
1 Idiomatic proverb, originates from Dante’s Divine Comedy, published in 1472
About the writer:
Kevin Harris attends the Watford congregation of Grace Communion International.
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
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