For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
I arrived at work this morning to find a motorcycle lying at the front door and a body in the middle of the road. The accident seemed recent, but a small crowd was already gathered. People stood over the man, and two nurses squatted beside him. I assumed that the police and ambulance were called. I went inside to open my office thinking someone might need water or to use our facilities. Besides, I needed a minute to compose myself. My heart pounded, and my knees felt weak. How many times have I envisioned my husband in that man’s place? Heard the ring of the cell phone and the voice on the other end of the line explaining calmly, carefully that there had been an accident. How many times have I imagined arriving at the hospital braced for bad news? For that matter, how many times have I visualized flying through the air separated from the motorcycle? Finding myself face down on the pavement? Feeling the sting of gravel as it ripped through my flesh? The wrenching blow to my head as my helmet made contact with the asphalt? I think of it at least once every time I get on the back of my husband’s bike or every time he leaves the house alone. The motorcyclist was not moving when I first saw him. When I heard sirens announcing the arrival of the ambulance, I peeked out the door again. Though still prone, he lifted his leg and stirred. He still lived! For a moment, I watched the paramedics attend to him. Soon, they helped him to his feet and then, onto a stretcher. I saw his shirt was torn in many places and his arm had a deep gash in it. Thankfully, he was wearing a full face helmet, and his head appeared uninjured. They did not even put him in a neck brace or back support. Still, I was forced back inside. The blood. The crowd. The motorcycle still on its side in the grass. I could not stay. I did not see what they did with his motorcycle nor whether anyone was charged. All I could think about all day long was “There, but for the grace of God go I.” My husband can be the most careful driver. We can wear the best equipment and choose our routes carefully. But, that does not give us the right to boast or brag because we have been safe. Accidents can happen to any of us. The same goes for spiritual matters. Who am I to think I am better than someone else because of my works, study, heritage or church affiliation? One slip is all it takes to make me a sinner just like anyone else. I fall every day, almost every minute of every day. Salvation is by grace, not by anything I do or say. Plain and simple, God saves me and gives me life. He can do the same for you. Praise God.