When Airbags Deploy
Jul 23, 2017 03:46AM ● Published by Bonnie Lyn Smith
I was happily driving my daughter back from camp in Keene, NH. We “processed” the week, reminding the younger brother to not interrupt during this time, and by the time I pulled up to the traffic light at the end of the ramp to my exit, my mind was on unpacking, tadpoles going AWOL upon reaching froglet status in my house, and dinner. I pulled to a complete stop, waiting for that green left turn arrow. And there it was.
Awesome. Just a few miles to go. I entered the intersection gradually, only to hear my youngest son, Little Man, make a comment to get my attention as we both saw the sedan speeding toward us on our left, running the traffic light.
I remember crying out to Jesus. And waiting for a secondary crash that never happened. When the airbags went off around me and my daughter who was sitting in the front, I detected the classic burning smell as well as other fluids now leaking out of the car at a fast rate. I asked the kids to exit the car if they were able.
But then my own door wouldn’t open. Airbags trapped me. My brain was in slow motion. I remember the kids in view as they exited the vehicle, and then it registered that I was physically able to crawl across the debris to get out the passenger side.
For what seemed like forever, I stood there mumbling over and over again that there was a green arrow. My kids told me later that I repeated that many times as I trembled and tried to find more words. It was a full hour, an ambulance ride, and a few x-rays among us later before I could speak in full sentences. But we were okay.
Bruised, stiff, sore, shaken, grateful.
A few more inches into that intersection, and the speeding car would have hit my driver's side door more directly.
My Honda Odyssey did exactly what we trusted it to do in this accident. It bubbled us with airbags to ease the impact. Had my daughter been incorrectly sitting in the front passenger seat, had she not weighed what was necessary for the airbag sensor, it would have been a completely different story. I shudder to think of it, especially when I see the totaled van and the items within it tossed and shattered.
So, let me ask you something right now:
Are your airbags ready to deploy when needed?
Have you pressed your full weight into the seat where you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are safe, come what may?
If not, what, may I ask, is stopping you? Why are you taking that gamble?
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.
The Bible says that fear of the LORD means strong confidence. When we walk in step with His commandments and a heart to obey Him, we can be assured of His protection in our lives. Like the mighty frame of my Honda Odyssey that held firm against massive force crashing into it, the LORD keeps us safe with His strength.
But what does “safe” really mean? What do we make of this promise in Psalm 121:7?
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
I don’t know about you, but evil has landed on my doorstep before and walked right in. Just this week I looked evil in the eye in a courtroom setting. We walk through life and meet abusers, criminals, warmongers, and very cruel people. How can the psalmist say the LORD will keep us from evil?
Let’s look at the entire passage.
A Song of Ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
What I see the psalmist declaring here is a faithful God whose protection is round the clock. He doesn’t take His eyes off us. He knows our comings and goings. He is as close as the shade on our right hand. We read about the sovereignty of God in this passage. Nothing happens to us that He is not aware of. When we look up and trust in Him, seeing through the lens of His sovereignty, we are focused on the One who keeps our life. Our days are numbered, and He knows each one.
Even when unfortunate events like illness, disappointments, accidents, loss, or even abusive behaviors happen to or around us, the cause of the righteous is upheld. We can count on His goodness. He sees us through and gives supernatural grace to sustain us. He is intimately aware of our needs, fears, weaknesses, and desire to follow Him.
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.
Multiple times the Bible is clear that we are not to be free of troubles.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
I think we can all agree that this isn’t heaven, folks! Afflictions happen. (That should be a bumper sticker—maybe on my new, used car!)
We are going to walk through muddy water, but when we trust in Him, we ensure that our airbags are on, at the ready. And if we’re praying for eyes to see Him in all things, even this side of heaven, we will see His deliverance—through the friend He sends in a time of need, the kindness of a stranger, the person to speak into our child’s life in an area he or she won’t hear it from us.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change
And though the mountains
slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
A day after the accident happened, I told myself that I needed to get back into the driver’s seat. Right away. I knew the power of fear and how gripping it could be, the longer I let it talk nonsense into my head.
I reminded myself I am a good driver with a safe driving record. I told myself (and my children) that this van had its first accident after eight years of many long distance trips. And, as my husband pointed out, the engineering and design put into place almost a decade ago, when put to the test, functioned exactly as anticipated. Airbags deployed right at the moment of impact. Eight years sitting in their places, and they faithfully performed their task.
As the psalmist reminds us:
Therefore we will not fear.
If you trust in Christ, there is no place for fear. It’s a process to trust and to put fear on His holy altar, but the promise is that the LORD will keep your life.
Keep looking up. Our spiritual airbags, when needed, will deploy. He never slumbers. He loves us so much He watches over us 24/7.
Need more proof? I offer these passages. They are fear-fighting implements. He has given us these promises to cling to when the stuff of life comes speeding out of nowhere, catching us unaware. Rest in the hope of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.
For You have been a defense for the helpless,
A defense for the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;
For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.