When I was in Asia, I got hit by two buses.
The details are mostly irrelevant, though everyone wants to hear them. A careless bus driver and a poorly timed left-hand turn catapulted my motorbike into the front of an oncoming bus. For a terrifying moment, I ricocheted between two forces strong enough to crush me. Neither of them stopped.
I found myself sprawled on the pavement—tires spinning, arm oozing, shoulder aching. My survival instinct barked orders: “Get up. Get out of the street. More traffic is coming.”
I limped to the side of the road and found myself outside an open-air coffee shop—every local out of his seat, talking in strange, urgent tones. Someone offered me a cup of lukewarm green tea. My shaking hands fumbled a cheap Nokia phone, my only connection to an English speaker.
Before long, familiar faces appeared on the scene. Emergency vehicles are a first-world luxury, but a teammate helped me into a taxi. In a two-bed clinic, I ground my teeth and chewed my lip to keep from crying the name of Jesus with every movement of my arm. I hope I have freedom of speech when I break my next bone.
I lay awake that night, arm velcroed across my chest, ice pack wedged into my t-shirt collar, shoulder pounding with every heartbeat.
“Dad, where were you today while I was trapped between two buses?”
The scene flashed into my mind like lightning, all squealing brakes and white metal. I was between two buses again, but I wasn’t alone. This time I saw strong arms stretched wide, holding the buses apart, keeping me safe.
“Tiff, I’m a Father and I love to protect. It’s who I am. Love always protects.”
My breaths grew deeper and I felt my heart unfold in the silence, soaking up the furious protection of my Father.
“But Tiff, there was a day when the unstoppable force of mankind’s sin and the unstoppable force of my judgment were barreling toward each other, and my Only Begotten Son chose to put Himself in the middle. That day, I didn’t protect Him. I didn’t protect him! I looked away while He was crushed! I did it for you and I did it for these people, and they don’t even have a chance to hear.”
When I wake up on rainy mornings, my collarbone still aches with the truth I learned two summers ago between those buses in Asia.
When I stretch, I can never straighten my right arm quite the way I could before. But I have stronger reminders of that hot day in my future home. They come when my prayers catch in my throat, because my longing for these people to know Jesus makes it hard to breathe. They come when I rearrange my future, because I long to mother unreached people groups even more than I want a family of my own. They come every time I raise my hands in worship and feel the twinging reminder that 2.9 billion people can’t. These reminders come and they don’t stop, and I don’t want them to. Because there is another One who bears wounds of longing, holy injuries with scars that don’t fade. There is One who was crushed while they were protected, and there were no strong arms to fight for Him, no lifeline in His desperation, no friend when His courage failed, no Savior’s name to cry in His pain.
So come—come lace fingers with these nail-pierced hands and find they hold all you need. Follow His gaze to the ends of the earth and see how they take His breath away. Risk breaking your bones and your heart, and tell me if you regret it. Because every time something breaks, there are strong arms making a safe space, and there are Father-eyes that never look away.
Written by a Cafe 1040 Staff.