Early Monday morning, Kathie LaFond was pulled over in a Chicago suburb for making an improper turn without a signal. After running her plates, police learned that she was also driving on a suspended license. So, Kathy was arrested, and her keys were handed over to a guy in the passenger seat - Kathie's boyfriend Cecil. The 1988 Chevy Cavalier was Cecil's to begin with...plus, he had a vaild driver's license. It made perfect sense.
While Kathie was being processed, Cecil drove home. Or, almost home.
As it turns out, Cecil was drunk. Very drunk. In fact, Cecil's blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit. When he was about half a mile from his house, Cecil drove the car off the road, through several fences and, eventually, into a tree. Thankfully, Cecil was fine. But Kathie's five year old son Michael, who was sleeping in the backseat, was not fine. He didn't survive the accident.
Can you imagine being the police officer who handed the keys to Cecil that night? He was doing the right thing. He was taking an illegal driver off the roads. He was making the streets of Chicago Heights safer places to drive. But, tragedy struck anyway.
He double-checked Cecil's license. He made sure that it was Cecil's vehicle. He even watched Cecil walk from the passenger side of the car to the driver's side to confirm that Cecil was fit to drive. But, tragedy struck anyway.
I don't know that you or I will ever quite understand what this cop is feeling today. However, as Christians, we should understand the concept.
The Bible promises us that, even when we do the right thing, tragedy can strike anyway. Going through with the pregnancy doesn't guarantee that our baby will live. Going to counseling doesn't mean that our marriage will survive. Going to church doesn't ensure that our kids will follow Christ.
Though we sometimes pretend that it is, Christianity is not about avoiding tragedy. It's about hope in the midst of tragedy. It's about faith, regardless of our circumstances. It's about love, when loving is hard to do.
It's also about handing over life's keys and putting ourselves in the passenger seat....regardless of who's dangling them in front of us.