Accidents happen. Such things often come out of the blue, and we have no control over them. Or, at least it seems that way, but then again, we do have the ability to prevent accidents. We can think before we leap, so to speak, but even then there are no guarantees.
I was watching a stirring video of an elk herd running across a road between fields, somewhere in the Northwest. There was a long line of them. Each one gracefully jumping over a bared wire fence at the second field. They were mostly cow elk, but finally, a big bull came running in the line. He jumped the fence, but a front hoof caught the wire, and he was thrown head first into the field. Ooops. Unfortunately, he landed flat on his chin and his huge body careened over his head, breaking his neck. It was a pitiful minute watching that beautiful creature giving a few last kicks before dying.
I shook my head and said to myself, “That’s life.” Well, not to say that life is full of regrettable accidents, but if even animals can be taken out by accidents, why should we be surprised when they happen to us?
Here’s the irony of it. If that elk had just lifted his hoof a bit higher, he would have cleared the fence and been on his way with the rest of the herd. But he didn’t, and he had an accident, and it meant his death. If we had just paused a minute more at that traffic signal, we wouldn’t have been hit. If we had secured that ladder before getting on the roof, we wouldn’t have broken our arm when it skidded out from under us. If we had just wore our helmet on that ATV, we wouldn’t have been killed when it flipped over. If...if...if...!
But God is not One of “ifs.” Our God is the “blessed controller of all things” (1 Tim.6.15, Phillips). He works in faith; He gives assurances in a fallen and dangerous world. He does not ordain accidents, but rather, He “bestows every good thing and every perfect gift from above...” (James 1.17). “He gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist” (Rom.4.17).
Jesus reminded us, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matt.6.26a). Does God also keep them from accidents? What about that beautiful little bird that flew from our bird feeder into our picture window and died. Ooops. And, what about that bull elk, following the herd and innocently jumping a fence?
Sometimes accidents just happen. It’s the rule down here on planet earth. Unlike that elk, however, that followed it’s blind instincts, we can have faith in God that He cares for us, and that He will guide our steps (1 Pt.5.7; Ps.37.23).
“Are you not worth much more than the (birds...or the elk)(Matt.6.26c)?
Tom Brown is the pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship