A Collision With Reality

Perhaps you heard of and saw the striking photos of the massive 200-car accident on Tuesday that left at least 8 dead and 300 others wounded. It occurred in heavy fog in the early morning rush-hour traffic on a main highway just outside Dubai (the exceptionally westernized and prosperous city in the United Arab Emirates). According to eyewitnesses, everyone was traveling together at high speeds in the morning fog. After the first crash happened, speeding cars and trucks, unaware of the catastrophe lying ahead because of the heavy fog, one after the other kept ramming into the fiery collision. Colliding cars and trucks were engulfed in flames as the inferno grew to as many as 92 cars actually on fire.

Admittedly, I’ve had the same kind of dangerous confidence before. I’m traveling at high speed on a crowded interstate murky in early morning fog. Shouldn’t I slow down? No one else seems to be. Everyone so confidently, or at least seemingly confidently, just keeps right on going. They all must be so self-assured for a good reason. I should stick with them. And so together we keep pace on our foggy fast track. Very stupidly, I’ve done that more than just a few times.

My guess is that’s how it was Tuesday morning on that highway near Dubai—everyone keeping their high-speed pace in the fog by gaining confidence from each other’s confidence. Why should anyone doubt and slow down when everyone else is so self-assured? Who wants to be the overly cautious weirdo? They all just keep going along together, and so far so good. No one can see the mounting disaster up ahead. Together—confidently because they are together—they just keep on going until, one-by-one, they speed into the crash. As one of the more fortunate drivers on Tuesday was able to say afterward, “I’ve never had seen such a terrifying accident in my life. People are shocked because of what has happened.” Shocked.

Jesus said life is a lot like that (see Matthew 7:13-14). Most people are living their lives traveling together at a fast pace on a wide road. There is a kind of “fog” that keeps them from seeing certain realities up ahead, but that road is leading to something. The future outcome of right and wrong—life and disaster—can be a fog right now. And we all gain a certain confidence from one another’s confidence to live a certain way. That’s the dangerous side of culture. We can seem to get away with certain things like everyone else seems to. So far so good. We’re traveling together and who wants to be the cautious weirdo? But Jesus says for most people there is a shocking collision up ahead.

If you’re living like the culture is living in your life, it may be so far so good, but there is a shocking collision up ahead. If you’re living like the culture is living in your sexuality, it may be so far so good, but there is a shocking collision with reality up ahead. If you’re living like the culture is living in your relationships, in your vocation, in your marriage, in how you use the internet, in how you use your money and wealth, in how you treat the poor, in how you serve and give and sacrifice—it may be so far so good, but there is a shocking collision with reality up ahead. If you’re living like the culture is living in what it is you’re living for, it may be so far so good, but you are on a high-speed collision course with reality. And like those confident travelers keeping their deadly pace together near Dubai, you won’t see it until you crash.

That’s why Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

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