White-knuckled, I gripped the sides of my seat as the car hydroplaned, briefly, on the #1 highway. Pounding rains – what would be remembered as an epic atmospheric river dumping itself mercilessly onto our province – added to the cacophony of howling winds on that black, bleak night.
“Take exit 90,” GPS calmly advised, while I hissed at her chill composure. My husband promptly left the freeway. Does nothing rattle the man? Has he updated his will? Did he write a farewell note to our grandchildren?
Oh, Sweet Mother of Potatoes. We are heading into a roundabout.
Our fate was sealed: a mangled collision was inevitable, likely with some non-European, dyslexic, myopic driver that was either too paralyzed by political correctness to merge or too freaking stubborn to pull out. What were we thinking, putting these death traps in CANADA?!?
The GPS ice princess clinically tracked with our crisis, as the escape we sought eluded us, exit after blessed exit. “Take the next … recalibrating … keep left at the … recalibrating … turn right at … recalibrating … re-”
It was the penultimate year for on-the-fly recalibration. In 2021 we were buffeted by wave after wave of COVID-19 mutations, accompanied by wave after wave of social unrest, relentless heat waves, devastating floods, appalling loss, frustrating food shortages, grim inflation, crippling anxiety, the massive mudslides that wiped out roads and buried cars, and the shattering shame of finding the bones of indigenous children - likewise buried in the mud - in unmarked graves on historic residential school lands.
While we and our family remained healthy and gainfully employed, thanks to video conferencing, so many in our world lost not only their jobs, but their health, homes, and freedom. Working with Multiply, I correspond with those living in nations that are being ravaged by war, drought, flood, pestilence, and persecution. In 2021, when many global workers hurried back to the field as soon as borders and vaccines made this possible, they immediately became immersed in urgent relief efforts to bring food, medical supplies, and the hope of the Gospel to desperate refuges, displaced urban workers, and disease-ridden jungle villages.
In the midst of global calamities, there was inspiring courage, kindness, and vision. So too, here at home.
Families in BC that were evacuated during the flooding were welcomed into warm homes. Drowning farm livestock were rescued, led uphill by courageous neighbors and, in some cases, by total strangers. Churches, camps, and communities rallied to provide shelter, meals, and hope. Many of us who had been fearfully divided during the pandemic were now tearfully united by a disaster that no one had foreseen.
At our own church, the leadership launched a sermon series on the Gift - singular - of the Holy Spirit. “It’s Him,” we heard, vision-cast from the pulpit each Sunday. “We need more of Him.” Stage-front prayer ministry teams have been inundated by those reaching out for the only unshakable certainty left, in a world that is constantly being … recalibrated. There is a King, we tell them. He is not punishing you. Let’s seek him, together. Connecting the wounded, the lost, and the lamenting with the loving presence of Jesus is so hard right now, but he is the only King worth seeking; the only King who seeks after us.
“I give up,” Scott said, finally pulling us out of the roundabout. “We’ll have to get there another way.”
Instinctively, we drove another block and turned left, only to find ourselves on the very street in Abbotsford we had been seeking. We had missed the roundabout exit for King Connector Road, but somehow we ended up on King Road, nonetheless.
Alive! (and with me thinking, there’s a metaphor in here somewhere …)
May we all connect with - and perhaps help someone else to connect with - the true King. God has made us in his image, to live freely and sometimes foolishly in a world that refuses to account for itself; may he lift our bloodshot, Zoom-blurred eyes off the latest headline and allow us to glimpse, however briefly, a Kingdom of Kindness.