He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
It was the thing that nightmares are made of. I wasn’t there for this, but trust me I have lived it over and over again with my wife, Judy. Let me tell you the story. When she was four or five years old, her father and mother went to work and so she had a babysitter that lived close by. It was a regular routine. Simple. Simple and routine till one day it wasn’t.
On the first day of school, the babysitter and her friend were taking the kids to school. The kids were entering first grade, there was no kindergarten. After they had dropped the kids off, it was back to her house again. If you’ve ever been to Valdosta, Georgia you need to know multiple times at multiple locations train tracks would cross the roads and highways. Just a few miles from the grade school was a pulpwood plant and often trains would drop off logs to be made into paper. On that particular morning, after leaving the school, the car approached this train crossing. In the early 60’s, many of the crossings didn’t have lights or gates and this was one of those. As the car approached the crossing, that’s when it happened.
It was not unusual for trains to just stop short of the crossing and sit there. As the car approached the crossing there was a train and the young lady who was driving assumed it was just waiting as they often did. Unfortunately, she was wrong. As the car neared the crossing and proceeded onto the tracks, she realized that the train was in fact moving—slowly—but moving. In a panic she thought she was pressing the gas pedal, when in fact she pressed the brake—stopping the car dead on the track. As if in slow motion, the train hit the car and slowly, methodically pushed it down the tracks. Even at such a slow speed, it took a while for the train to stop. The damage was extensive.
The collision was not without consequences and injuries. The lady in the front passenger seat where the train hit received two broken arms. The girl behind the passenger seat had a broken leg. The driver literally had a nervous breakdown. Thankfully, four-year-old Judy was only knocked to the floorboard where she tried her best to hold on to the “hump.” While everyone was taken to the hospital, gratefully the injuries, though serious, were not life threatening. As often is the case in situations like this, not all the injuries were physical.
When I met Judy in 1974, she was sixteen and full of fun and life. Because she lived on the other side of most of the tracks, we would often have to cross them. While never in a dangerous way, if I heard a training coming, I would speed up to make it across the crossing. I still remember the fear that came across her face. Each time it happened, she was reliving what happened. The accident still deeply affected her emotionally. Even if there was a crossing guard with lights, she would tense up, even though I was slowing down to a stop. What happened that morning 12 years earlier left lifelong scars.
At first I didn’t really understand and thought perhaps, just perhaps, she was overreacting. But it didn’t take years, or months or even more than a couple of weeks, for me to realize that for her…this was a big deal. I also quickly realized that I owed it to her, this young woman I loved, to be very careful around train tracks. It didn’t scare me one bit, but it did scare the one I loved, the one I cared for.
So, can I ask you a question? Is there someone in your life, in your world that you care about that might need a bit of special consideration? Is there someone who has a life experience that has left them scarred or wounded? Divorce? Tragedy? Abuse? Death? Illness? Prejudice? You see, in our very imperfect world, you don’t have to travel far to find the wounded and the broken. And what isn’t a big deal to you, might be a tsunami of emotions and difficult memories for someone else. And honestly, we need to be sensitive. We need to care. Jesus did that so well. The Bible tells how God cares and comforts us in our trouble so we can care and comfort those we meet in our daily walkabout life.
So, if you bump into someone’s world and they seem to act differently in a certain situation, why not precede with caution? Why not be the one that brings comfort and understanding to their fractured moment? You could be the one that finally brings healing and peace in their world. Judy is much better now. But if there is an unguarded crossing and a train whistle in the distance, you can bet I still slow down and check the situation out. Judy, well, she knows this guy loves her enough to do exactly that. And, by the way, there is a Dearest Daddy who loves His kids even more than that. And no matter how your world is scarred or rocked…rest assured, He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne