“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem (Luke 13:4)?”
Simon Smith is very happy to be alive today. Recently on his way to the bank in Reading, England, he was struck by an out of control double-decker bus and tossed 45 feet into the street. (1) The impact smashed the windshield of the bus but Smith arose, dusted himself off, and strolled into the Purple Turtle pub for a pint.
Police and Paramedics responding to the call did not believe Smith’s version of the episode until they reviewed the CCTV footage and were amazed that the 53-year-old survived his violent collision with fate. The bus came upon him so suddenly that he had only time to look over his shoulder before being struck.
Each one of us will be struck by that metaphorical bus in our lives. It could be getting suddenly fired from a job, receiving a dreadful diagnosis, or the shocking loss of a loved one, but that out of control bus will strike us and we will have no opportunity to dodge its impact.
Job stands in Scripture as the man who continued to get mowed down by a fleet of buses. One day a raiding band came and killed his servants and lightning destroyed his property (Job 1:15-16). Then another bus struck him with word that all of his children were killed when great winds destroyed the home they were in (v.19), and then he himself had his health severely stricken (2:7). Yet through all of his sorrows Job ran to God saying, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).” After faithfully serving God, Elijah ran afoul of the evil authorities receiving a royal death sentence (1 Kings 19:2). After being clobbered by this revelation Elijah ran in desperation to hide in the wilderness (1 Kings 19:3-4) and begged God to take his life. But after rest and conversing with the LORD, he was renewed in his service and carried on. Hezekiah was also struck by a bus and told that his illness was terminal and his death was near (2 Kings 20:1), so he turned to the LORD and found consolation.
Others ran in different directions after being hit by that bus. God promised to bring calamity on Ahab (1 Kings 21:21-22). Initially Ahab repented (v. 27) and God was prepared to spare the king for humbling himself (v.29). But Ahab quickly ran back to his evil ways and he was hit by a “random” arrow that killed him (1 Kings 22:34-35). Asa was slammed with an awful disease but refused to run to God and instead turned only to doctors (2 Chronicles 16:12). Israel was repeatedly bombarded with the threat of invasion and conquer, (Isaiah 6:9-12), but the nation stubbornly refused to return to God and suffered the fatal crash of Assyrian defeat.
It isn’t only the wicked who will be run over by those out of control buses in life. As Jesus taught concerning those men who died when the Tower of Siloam fell upon them, they were no better or worse than any of the other citizens of Jerusalem at the time (Luke 13:4-5). The key factor for each of us to determine before that bus collision, is where will we go when we rise up from that crash. Into a pub, back to our old ways, or run into the strong tower (Proverbs 18:10)? Actually, the time to make that decision is now before life’s out of control bus strikes us.
“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support (Psalm 18:18).”