As I watched some of the media coverage of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, I heard over and over the difference that a few inches can make. If you were here instead of a few inches to the right or left, you survived. If the concrete fell on top of you, a few inches could be the difference between being able to breathe or not. If you were outside when it hit, a few inches could was the difference between being hit by falling debree and escaping injury.
As I watched, I remembered a time when a few inches made a big difference in my life. I was driving home from bible study, early one morning, and had stopped to turn left on a side street near our house. As I waited for the traffic to clear, I glanced in my rearview mirror. The car behind me was approaching at a very high speed and I knew he was going to hit me.
As I waited, what seemed like a long time, one word popped into my head…help! At the last minute, the car behind me swerved to avoid hitting me. He went into the other lane and struck the oncoming car head on. Then, the second car behind me then hit the first car. Still I waited for my hit to come…there was none. After a few minutes, I crawled across the passenger seat, opened the door and got out to see if the other drivers were injured.
None of them had serious injuries…in fact none of them wanted medical treatment at all. When the police officer came to speak to me about the accident, we walked around my car, to make sure there was no damage. The car that had been in the oncoming lane was so close to my door that I could not open it without hitting the other car…but the side of my car was fine. The car behind me that swerved, ended up side ways. His passenger side was so close to my bumper that you could put your hand between the two and touch both vehicles. And yet, my car had no damage.
When I got home and told Jim and the boys what happened, they were as amazed as I was. How could the cars come within inches and not hit me? When I told them that I could put my hand between the two vehicles and it touched them both, Craig said, “That’s enough room for an angel to stand.”
I remember looking at him, dumbfounded. Of course it was. It was plenty of room. Hadn’t I cried out for help? Why did I not recognize the help I had received? Why did it take a child to point out to me the very thing I had asked for?
Throughout my life, I can see many times when I cried out for help and help was there. Sometimes it was in the form of comfort, peace, or direction. Sometimes, help came through family or friends. The help didn’t mean that my situation automatically disappeared…but the help I needed most was there, if I recognized it.
When Peter stepped out of the boat and walked toward Jesus, he did so at Jesus’ command. Then, Peter let his surroundings distract him. He began to sink. In his despair he cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:22-36)
If my focus is off, even a few inches, it doesn’t take long for me to feel the effects of it. So many times,I am distracted by life. Today was such a day. I let my surroundings distract me and I felt myself start to sink. But then I heard a verse on KLOVE, the Christian radio station, and it drew me back where I needed to be.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. -Hebrews 12:1-3
When I fix my eyes on Jesus, everything else is put into perspective. I am able to see the blessings in the midst of the despair. When problems occur, a few inches is the difference between looking to God and knowing peace or looking to the world, and feeling despair.
Are you in the midst of a crisis today? I pray you are not. But if you are, remember the one that is able to raise you up and give you peace. A few inches is all it takes.
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.
-I Chronicles 16:11