“Number one, are you okay, and number two, what do you mean you ‘may have sort of possibly wrecked the car’?”

This was my opening response to the dreaded call from my daughter one late, nasty evening last week. I was at home in bed, sick, but upon receiving that phone call I was instantly alert and ready to go.

“Okay, I wrecked it. And yes, I am okay.”

In under three minutes Dana and I were out of the house and heading that way. She said she was “Just off the road a bit.” That turned out to be just about as accurate as “may have sort of possibly.”

“Is that her, way up in those trees?” Dana asked incredulously. We backed up, made our way up a dirt driveway, and found the gray Saturn in between trees that were just behind the fence she had plowed through.

“I came around the curve and there were a bunch of deer in the road, and I swerved to miss them,” she said as Dana checked her over. She was fine. The car? Maybe sort of possibly not so much. In fact, it looks remarkably like Alderaan after Grand Moff Tarkin unleashed the Death Star on it.

The front end is now concave instead of convex. The radiator and fan are pushed back against the motor. The front quarter panels on both sides are shattered. The hood looks like the snarled lip of a rebellious punk rocker. The passenger mirror is hanging by a wire of some type. Both sides look like they have been laid into by the Wolverine.

And yet, give the little gray sedan credit, the engine still fires right up. In fact, I drove it home. Lost a few more parts along the way, but it is in the driveway.

And my daughter is safe.

It is on days like that that we instinctively pray, “Lord, thank you for answering our prayers and bringing our child home safe.” But we pray that prayer every single day. Every. Day.

And God answers that prayer even on the days when absolutely nothing maybe sort of possibly happens. We have been praying for the safety of our children for more than 7,300 days now, and God has, usually very uneventfully, granted the fondest desire of our hearts.

One day he will not, or he will instead not answer their prayers in the affirmative for us. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that “it is appointed unto man once to die.” No one gets to live forever in this life. So there will come a point at which every Christian prays “Lord keep this person that I love safe, let them live, let them beat this disease, let them survive this accident,” and God does not do so. We have through the years lost some people very dear to us, people that we prayed very hard for.

The fact that God finally says no does not change the fact that He, usually for a long time, says yes day after day. We have more than 7,300 days of yeses behind us, every one of which is a gift from God.

As I think of all of those affirmatively answered prayers, I am mindful of two things. One, while people so often truly seem to have a “what have you done for me lately” view of God, they never seem to recognize that every day our loved ones arrive home safely is a very huge “lately” thing that deserves a lot of gratitude from us.

Number two, we ought to love our babies, spouses, parents, siblings, each and every day as if it could be our last to do so until we meet again in heaven.

Hug your kids a little tighter tonight, moms and dads. Love your spouse a bit more passionately. Tell your parents one more time how much they mean to you. And everyone drive carefully; someone is counting on you making it home safely.

Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Mooresboro, N.C. He is a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books. He can be reached by email at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

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