My sweet ride in 1984.
Regarding Stories – True or False – Fact or Fantasy
Out of school early with my own driver’s license and a car. Sure, I was headed to a doctor’s appointment for my sprained ankle, but the point was the sense of freedom I felt driving myself around. Two months of solo driving and the thrill had not worn off.
Safety was always a big deal with me. I thought of taking Long Ave, but the turn onto 199 was not a protected left. So I stayed on River Oaks Blvd. It was a big and safe intersection with two protected left turn lanes. I was in the leftmost one in the front of the line.
Green arrow, let’s go. I pulled out at a moderate pace and noticed an enormous cement truck crossing the white line in the oncoming lane. I slammed the brake pedal to the floor causing my car to quickly stop. Then, I realized that stopping wasn’t going to help. I was in his path, and he was still headed my way.
Notice, the beginning of this story.
I didn’t start it with “Once upon a time” or “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”. No, I am writing this story in a deliberate manner to convey that it is a real life, true, and actual occurrence in my life. It is fact, not fantasy. It happened in November 1984. I can’t remember the exact day, but I bet my mom and dad can.
Stories can be true or false, fact or fantasy. This is an ongoing blog series on Greg Koukl’s book, “The Story of Reality”. Get the book. Begin at Part 1. And participate in the discussion by posting comments on the various posts.
When you first read Greg’s title, “The Story of Reality”, what did you think of it? Did you automatically put it in the category of fiction or fantasy? Answer below in the comments so we can discuss it. (Remember, this is asynchronous interaction, so don’t worry about being late to the party. These internet discussions do not have any preset time limit.)
Back to my 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
I knew I was stopped. I knew the cement truck was not. I knew it was massive. I knew this was the end.
So I relaxed.
What? How could someone relax in a situation like that?
I simply thought, “Hey, I’m outta here. I’m dead, and now I’m free, headed heavenward. No more basketball practice with Coach John Doe*. Jesus, here I come.”
I didn’t feel anything. I’m sure I got bounced around violently. I had a rectangular knot on my forehead from the rearview mirror, and my hip bent the gearshift. But after the car stopped spinning around, I opened my eyes to smoke, steam, and a destroyed windshield. The cement truck had crushed my car from the right-front headlight to the driver’s side door.
Funny, my first thought was “Crud, I’m still here.” Even funnier was my second thought, “Hey I better get out of this wreck before it blows up.” I was imagining a Hollywood style conflagration.
The door opened and dragged against the pavement. I hobbled over to the curb to sit down. Sadness ensued as I looked at my car all destroyed and smoking. I was sparkling Edward-Cullen-style with pulverized glass from the windshield.
Hours and seventeen X-rays later it was determined that I did not have a single broken bone or laceration. To play it safe, the doctors told mom to wake me every two hours because of a possible concussion. It didn’t sink in how severe the wreck was until I overheard mom reading police reports from eyewitnesses.
The woman in a car immediately behind me said, “After the explosion, I got out of my car to pull the body from the wreckage.”
The body! She thought I was “a dead body”.
Strangely, it was then that I started crying. I sobbed. It was her perspective that alerted me to the severity of the wreck that I survived.
All because I relaxed.
What are my intentions in telling you this true story?
It is NOT to brag about strong faith. I didn’t have to exert any strength or psych up extra courage.
It is NOT to make a claim that my experience proves God is real, heaven is real, or fear of death makes one weak.
My intentions are:
- To get you to consider how life-changing a TRUE story can be.
- To illustrate how being convinced is actually effortless.
Being raised in the church (specifically Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, TX), there were ample opportunities to “make my faith my own.” I did that in 5th grade when I read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and thought to myself, “uh-oh. I don’t stack up too well. Jesus forgive me.” That conviction was a gift, and being convinced of my lack took no effort on my part. (John 16:8-11)
Life has ups and downs and so does behavior. I was not an angel. I am deeply sorry for the horrible ways I treated some of my classmates and teachers. (If you remember, please forgive me.)
Back to the cement truck story.
It is a FACT that I relaxed. It is a FACT that my first thought was one of relief when considering my eternal destiny. This TRUE story affects me even today.
I do still fear airplane crashes, head-on collisions, and other painful ways of leaving this material world behind. But I still remember the crash of 1984. It wasn’t painful. It wasn’t scary. It was in FACT a hopeful experience.
What kind of God gives REAL peace? A REAL God?
[John 14:27 HCSB] 27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”
Could it be that a REAL God exists? Could it be that Jesus was unique in all of history, and that his claims were TRUE?
A REAL God requires a TRUE story.
Greg is telling that TRUE story in his book.
I hope you will read it, discuss it, and be transformed by its message.
*I changed the name so as to not hurt the actual coach.