A couple days ago was one of those moments, for me. I was driving home on a busy four lane street when I noticed cars were stopping and/or slowing down. And, bounding through these cars was a young white boxer dog that just wanted to play. It ran and bounced and changed direction at a moment’s notice. The thought of opening my driver side door and seeing if he/she would jump into my car crossed my mind but the opportunity quickly passed when I did not respond when he/she was going right past my car. I saw the owner running down the sidewalk alongside the road, trying to catch up with his dog. Eventually, the white boxer ran and jumped back up onto the sidewalk but was still traveling at a quick pace a decent distance in front of his/her owner. A busy intersection was not too far ahead.
As I ran the situation through my mind over and again, I wondered what stopped me from opening my car door? Were there too many risks? What if a moving vehicle took off my door when I opened it? Or even worse, what if my attempt at getting the dog to jump into my car actually caused it to dart away and get hit by another car? But what if the effort had worked? The young white boxer would have been safe.
Two other situations quickly come to mind of times when I was still. Both involve my being a witness, within this last year, to assault and battery. The first, was when a healthy man threatened and hit a mentally and physically disabled man who was not able to defend himself. The situation was extremely upsetting and I wanted to make sure my children, who were also present, were safe. The disabled man ended up with a bloody nose and who knows what other injuries at the hands of his attacker, who was quite a bit bigger than him. After the fact, I played it over and again in my mind. What could I have done differently? Why didn’t I call 9-1-1? Why didn’t I record the attack so the authorities would have known exactly what happened? I did notify the disabled man’s family and made a statement to the authorities of what I witnessed. But, I cannot help feeling I should have done more.
The second circumstance, occurred while I was sitting in traffic. My children and parents were in my vehicle. We were on our way to dinner when we noticed a black SUV chasing a white pickup truck. The white truck pulled into a parking lot and the driver opened his door as if to get out. Before he was able to set foot on the ground, the driver of the black SUV had also pulled into the parking lot and was out of his vehicle, around the white truck, and was punching the driver of the white truck. This all happened very quickly. I fumbled clumsily with my mobile phone as I tried to stop my hands from shaking to call for assistance. I watched as the driver of the SUV continuously hit and attacked the driver of the white truck, who was thankfully a little bigger and stood strong against the blows. Before I could get my mind focused to call for help for the man, the wife/ girlfriend/ significant other of the driver of the SUV got out of the car and managed to stop the attack without getting into the middle of it. There were many witnesses, so I am hopeful at least one was able to contact the authorities and give an account of what happened. What could I have done differently? I was stuck at a stop light with plenty of time to call 9-1-1 or video record the attack so the authorities would have been able to see what happened. It is much easier to look back and say, “I should have…” but more difficult to respond in the moment, under pressure. Assessing the situation quickly and knowing the best way to handle it can be quite the challenge when stress is incapacitating.
Thankfully, I can rest in the knowledge God is in control...not me! I can “be still” and know He is God (Psalm 46:10) whether it is in the moments of my life (micro) or on a grander scale (macro) affecting a larger population.
God Is Our Fortress
To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah (Psalm 46. ESV.)