I sat down today planning to write about my scooter accident on Saturday. I wanted to write about it two seconds after it happened. For whatever reason, I felt compelled…
Justin and I were in Chicago. We rented scooters. I wasn’t very good at riding the scooter. I was nervous and slow to catch on. We tooled around in a neighborhood for a few minutes, and then prepared to turn into two-lane traffic. I got anxious, didn’t lean into my turn, missed the lane, and hopped a curb onto the sidewalk in the direction of a brick wall. Simultaneously, I tried to slow my vehicle by pulling back on the throttle. Turns out, that’s how you give it gas. I ran into a wall at something like 20 miles per hour.
By the grace of God (I like to give God credit for all the good things) I’m fine—bruised and sore—but fine. The scooter’s okay, too. A couple hundred bucks in damage, but not totaled.
I’ve been thinking all morning about why I wanted to share that story so much. It’s not particularly interesting, surprising or beautiful.
Maybe it’s because I could have died, and almost-died moments re-frame the way we see. Because I want you to remember death is a thief, hiding where we least expect.
Maybe I want to share this story because I really should have listened to my gut when it very loudly proclaimed, “You are not going to be good at this.” Because I want you to listen to your often-wise intuition.
And maybe I’m writing about this because I can see now I really should have practiced for longer when the instructor suggested I might. Jumping into hard things without preparing often ends poorly.
All of those are good lessons for living.
But I think the real reason I wanted to tell you I hit a wall going way too fast on a scooter is this: I’m alive. Because I lived to tell the story, I feel compelled to tell it—to celebrate life and living and the delight that is cheating death.
In a way, cheating death is the gospel. You should have died, but you didn’t. You should die, but you won’t. It’s touching your arms and legs with open palms, surprised to find them still attached and working—knowing you’ve been spared something that, just seconds earlier, seemed terribly inevitable.
It’s the best feeling. Good, good news.
It’s a marriage that seemed like prison that now, praise God, sustains and challenges and fills.
It’s an addiction you thought would drive you to the grave, broken, defeated, conquered.
It’s a tragedy that tied you to your bed in tears, now redeemed, overcome, and shaping.
And it’s lying in a hospital bed knowing, whatever happens, you’ll live.
Jesus said to the frustrated Jews, leaders who would take His life in a matter of days, “My sheep listen to my voice… I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” I love that they killed Jesus to disprove Him, and in killing Him, enabled, even ushered in, the eternal life He promised.
No one can take your God-given life. Not even death.
When it tries (and inevitably fails), stand up, brush yourself off, and proclaim the gospel of death cheated. Proclaim it here to a death-ruled people seeking life. Or proclaim it there, before the throne of death’s Defeater.