by Emily Conrad
The car pulled right as if making an emergency lane change of its own accord as we traveled 75 miles per hour down the highway. But it didn’t stop pulling right, and soon we were spinning full rotations, the tires skating circles in precipitation that refused to be either fully rain or fully slow.
The first spin: disorganized fear.
The second, a silent cry for help: Jesus!
The third rotation: expectation of disaster.
I knew the ditch must be close now. I thought of a family from our church where 3 siblings were in a wreck together, sustaining scary injuries that would heal. And now I and 2 of my siblings were going to be in a wreck, too, and I wasn’t confident of what the outcome would be. We’d been going fast. The ditch couldn’t be far away now, and once the tires hit it, we would flip, wouldn’t we?
The car seemed so fragile. So many windows. How would they crumple when the car rolled onto its hood? We were so exposed. Why did I have so much time to think, to see that we were in trouble?
Any moment now…
And then the car stopped. My brother and I had both made the same count: we’d made two and three-quarters rotations. Our back tires were on the gravel of the shoulder. Though we were on a major highway, no cars were in our immediate vicinity. We all took a breath. My brother steered the car back into a lane and accelerated to match the traffic that would soon catch up to us.
We were been granted deliverance, but the close call still breathes down my neck even now, nearly a week later.
Both before and after this incident, I’ve been thinking about the questions we live with.
I am studying some literary fiction in order to write a story of that genre myself. I find these stories often present questions without answers. The implication seems to be that there are none, that we can only ask and wonder but never know.
In one story, a character collects pieces of art that represent one of the biggest mysteries of her life, the disappearance of a friend in childhood. In the end, the character is left with the art, looking into it, knowing she will never have an answer.
In reading the story, we do the same: we look into art that makes no attempt to provide an answer. We begin to believe, like that character, in the impossibility of discovering truth. We notice questions we have not yet answered. Perhaps we believe there is no answer or we wouldn’t like it if we found it, so we stop looking. We tuck the unanswered question in our back pocket and settle for the malaise.
This is tragic because life is short, cars spin out of control, disease creeps in silently, meteors flash into the atmosphere. (Literally. One boomed in through the sky over my state a couple of weeks ago, waking me in the night.)
Christianity teaches that there are answers. That we can seek God, find Him, and replace our malaise with peace.
I’ve told the girls in my high school Bible study multiple times that we needn’t be afraid of questions, even those regarding our faith. The Bible tells us we’re not following cleverly devised myths. We’re following truth that has stood the test of time.
Yet perhaps I tell them that for my own good. When a question niggles forward, I sometimes find myself, for whatever reason, afraid of looking for an answer.
But when I let questions drive me to renewed study, I find that my faith not only can be examined, it ought to be. It is by study that I find renewed and deeper understanding of what I believe and why.
Faith and reason are not contrary to each other. They complement each other.
When I’ve spent time dealing with my faith and then the car spins out, I can cry out to Jesus in assurance that whatever happens, I will be safe with Him.
Life is short. Let us not ignore questions or ask them without seeking an answer. Truth is real and available to those who pursue it with open hearts.
The earth is spinning so fast. We’re teetering on the edge of so many ditches. We must know whose name to cry out.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.