What follows is a true story as far as I know. I heard it when I was in high school. It was told to me in a pretty detailed account. I hope I'm getting all the details correct......
Five friends. Five good guys. For the most part. Not perfect, but generally speaking....good Christian boys. Seniors in high school. Saturday night. Hanging out together. Went to a movie. 9PM show. Got out at 11. Maybe 11:30. Plans to spend the night together at one's house and get up and go to church together the next day. Heading home in small 4 door sedan. 2 in the front, 3 in the back. Drove for about a mile. Talking. Laughing. Having fun. Good guys. Then it started....
The driver of the "good guys" noticed flashing lights in his rear-view mirror. He also noticed that the car behind him was tailgating. Too close. "What is this car doing?" he said. They all looked. The car sped to the side of them. Another group of guys. Not such good guys....they would soon find out. The other guys were laughing....swerving....yelling....following. "Who are they?" the good guys wondered. "Maybe they're drunk......just drive.....get away from them." Easier said than done. The good guy driver drove faster. They followed. He ran through a yellow light. They followed. He ran through a red light. They followed. Faster. Too fast. He turned..sharply. They followed. Wait.........2 cars following now! A car AND a truck following. Full of guys. Bad guys. 10 probably. 10 versus 5. Not good odds. What do they want? Faster. THUD! "What was that?" They had thrown something at the good guys' car. Bottle maybe. It hit hard. It was starting to get serious.....not fun anymore. Was it ever? It wasn't a game. One of the good guys in the backseat looked over to see one of the bad guys flashing a knife. Heart beating a little bit faster. Fear. It was getting scary now. "We have to get away from these guys," they said. U-turn. Sharp. They followed. Even faster. The bad guys then tried to sandwich in the good guys' car. One got in front...the other in back. Trying to make them stop. Almost worked, but good guy driver kept going around. Still driving. About 5-6 miles total. Sharp turn on dark residential street. Speed limit 30. Driving 80. Gotta get away. "You have to slow down. We're going to crash" said one of the good guys in the backseat. "Let's just stop and see what they want," said the same. Bad choice, but maybe it seemed like a good one after 15-20 minutes of the dangerous driving. Just had to stop.....avoid crashing. Stopped on a very dark winding road. Pulled over under a dim street light. Bad car and truck pulled up very soon after. 10 guys jumped out. Start kicking good guy car. Good guy driver gets out. Defending his car. Good guy who suggested to stop also gets out. Holds up hands. "We don't want trouble." Too late. 2 good guys begin to get punched, kicked, beaten, battered. 3 good guys still in car. Doors closed. Car begins getting destroyed. Pipes. Bats. Whatever. Windows breaking. Lights breaking. One bad guy on top jumping up and down. Roof caving inside on 3 good guys. Beating 3 guys inside through broken windows with pipes, bats, whatever. Back door opens. One good guy gets punched in nose. Broken. Bleeding. 5-10 minutes of this. Then they left. All 10. They just left. Five good guys in shock. What just happened? Bruised. Bleeding. Robbed. Scared. Confused. Car totaled. They ran to the surrounding houses for help. It's 12:30am. Maybe 1:00. Nobody answering. They see a car coming. They think it's the bad guys coming back so they hide. It's not. It's a park ranger from a nearby state park. They flag him down and he calls the cops. 5 police cars come. Maybe 6. Each good guy gets into a car. They tell their story. Their parents come. They go home. It's over.
It's been almost 20 years. November 6 (and early morning on the 7th) 1993. I remember it like yesterday. You probably figured it out. How else would I know so many details? I stretched the truth a little. I did hear the story told. But I also told it. I was one of the good guys. I was in the front seat. Not the driver. The passenger. I stayed in the car. Scariest moment of my life. Up until last March, also the worst moment of my life. I'll never forget it. I still get that feeling in my stomach when I drive that final road. Otter Creek Road in Brentwood, TN. Close to Radnor Lake State Park. I'm not ashamed to admit that when we were waiting for the police after the park ranger showed up.....I cried. I cried like a baby. It hit me what had just happened. And I was scared. We got counseling at school over the next few weeks, maybe months. During one session I remember her asking "At any point during or after the event, did any of you wonder if you were being punished? Maybe God was trying to tell you something through that event?" We all responded with a resounding "NO". We weren't being punished. We were being protected. It wasn't the negative. It was the positive. My friend did indeed see a knife. It was 10 versus 5. We could've been seriously injured or killed but we escaped with cuts and bruises. God wasn't punishing. He was protecting. While I wasn't ashamed to admit I cried that night, I'm also happy to admit that we prayed that night. While we were waiting for the police, the same friend that saw a knife suggested we pray. We did. We huddled and we prayed. We were good boys. God watched over us. We were safe. It was a happy ending.
Two thousand years ago, there was a happy ending. Friday was tough. He had to die. On a cross. With pain and suffering. There were tears. There was sadness. The world seemed to end. But then Sunday came. And it was a happy ending. He arose. He won. He was alive. He still is. He died and arose so that we never have to die. That's right....we don't die. We just pass from one life to another. A better one. All because he did die. But then He arose. And we celebrate that. Easter can be about bunnies and eggs and candy and baskets. That's fine. My kids love it. And that's great. But for me, it also about what He did. It's about the happy ending. It's about Sunday coming. And we celebrate it today. And every day.
As I've said many times, life is tough. It will be. We're promised that. Bad things will happen. But there's a happy ending waiting for us. It will all be worth it. There's a new life waiting if you'll accept it. And it's gonna be amazing.
I went home that night and stood in my room. I took a deep breath. I looked at the clock. It was 2am. My mom was out of town, but my dad came in and gave me a hug. "I'm glad you're ok, buddy. I love you." "I love you too, dad." It was 2am. It was Sunday morning. Sunday came and everything was ok. The story had a happy ending. My story in 1993. The story of Christ two thousand years ago. Even though there was pain and fear, they both had happy endings. And our lives can too.
It may be Friday here on Earth. But hold on. Sunday is coming.
And what a great day that will be!
I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys.
Keep runnin'. The PRIZE awaits. (Php. 3:14)
5 years ago