Through a Glass Darkly
Inset: Dodge Dart on a hill in winter (sorry, my shop skills are not leet)
The week before last I was on my way to work in the early morning hours and I got caught in a brutal downpour. I could not see much through my windshield wipers and traffic was crawling on the two lane road, which was fine with me. I was still concerned that someone else would not be playing it safe (River Ridge High is on that road) and was driving cautiously. It was then that a verse came to me. Now, we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.
We humans tend to be pretty independent thinkers. We like to be self-reliant. It would disturb us if we seriously considered the idea that our vision, our hearing, our senses (of which a vehicles’ controls are an extension) are extremely limited. We don’t know the distractions that other drivers are dealing with as they hurtle past us in their 2+ ton vehicles at great speeds. In a similar vein, we don’t see the spiritual battles that are going on around us on nearly a daily basis. We remain clueless. Unaware. Ignorant. Dare I say blind? But that is the way we act- out of sight, out of mind. The blessings of God surround us. Which reminds me of a story; two of them in fact.
The year was 1984. I was in my junior year of a five year program now that I was at Liberty, taking Old and New Testament Survey, both year-long courses. I was dating a girl at the time named Dorrie, a cute greek thing that was out of my league. It was winter and we decided on a Saturday to go on a road trip to get away from the (it seemed at the time) oppressive campus atmosphere. So we filled out a dating permission slip from the office of student affairs (snicker) and headed out to the Blue Ridge Mountains in my trusty brown two tone Dodge Dart with the slant 6 engine.
Bessie was the name I had given to her. It was a good car for college, but had a brake problem that required one to pump the pedal once before the brake shoes engaged. No problem, right? So we enjoyed each others’ company and conversation on the trip out. We took a scenic route up some winding roads and I parked just on the opposite side of an isolated wood shrouded hill, turning the car around so it faced uphill on the white road.
We went for a nice walk in the winter wonderland of serenity, carefree and without the worries of courses, preacher boy RA’s and drama. After about an hour of walking, we came back to the car and prepared to go get dinner. There was a problem though. The white road on which I had parked was not snow. It was ice. The wheels were turning, but nothing was happening. I tried backing up a little, but there was no way that car was going anywhere. I was concerned because the road behind the car turned to the right, with a steep lightly wooded bank on the left side.
Dorrie asked to give it a try, and I said ok, reminding her that the brakes needed to be pumped. I was standing outside the car by the rear bumper on the drivers’ side. She put that thing in reverse and it started going down the hill faster than I anticipated. I don’t know how I did it, but as the car was passing me, I opened the driver side door, slung myself into the drivers’ seat shoving Dorrie off to the side,(it had a long seat across the front, not bucket seats) and yanked hard on the steering wheel to the left while pumping the brakes as we careened into the small ditch on the side of the road opposite the steep hill.
My left side mirror was ripped off by a passing tree, but aside from that, disaster was averted. The car was still stuck on the ice on the road, but we were many, many miles away from any form of assistance. I had to get traction to get up the hill, so I went to the trunk. An old tire iron was there. I used it to hack at the ice and it worked, chipping the half inch or so of slippery stuff away, revealing the road underneath. Two hours later I had two long tracks in front of my wheels heading up the hill. Vroom, vroom. We managed to make it back safely.
As I think back to that time, I shake my head in disbelief. How could we have managed to escape that situation? Easy. It was not blind luck. Not the laws of chance nor the splurge of adrenaline. I believe a guardian angel was with us that day. Thank you, Lord, for Your mercies towards us.
More recently, a few years ago, I was at the Kroger. I was stocking up on my favorite beverage, Diet Cherry Cola. A lean balding guy dressed in blue jeans and a jean jacket pointed at my cart, smiling, and said with enthusiasm, “Cherry Coke!”
“Yes, I suppose so.” I answered, mildly amused, wondering why such a thing would be of interest. I started to go but turned back around to say something… and he was just… gone. Nowhere. It was unreal.
Here’s the deal. The interventions of heaven are seldom recognized, but they are numerous. The miraculous surrounds us. God’s great love for us rains down on a daily basis, in a deluge of mercy and grace. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.