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Closer Than They Appear

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

Good morning. It is Wednesday, January 12, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.

When I was a teen, I had a friend who was in a wheelchair. He was a few years older than me. I had known him for a couple of years when I decided to ask him “what happened? Why are you in a wheelchair?”. He chuckled as he answered. “welllll. I was dragging the gut one day, when I saw a pretty girl on the sidewalk. I turned and stared at her. Next thing I know, I slammed into a stopped car in front of me.”

I do not remember his exact injuries, but in that split second, his life changed drastically. He was paralyzed from the waist down. I think most of us are guilty of taking our eyes off the road to look at something.

A few years back I gave the children’s story at church. I brought props. I had borrowed a big truck side mirror. Thanks Andy 😊 and I had a rearview mirror. A couple of guys from church held those props in place as I took my seat in front of the congregation. I had my back to them with a mic in my hand. I began “life is much like driving a car…”

Mirrors are important. Mirror’s serve many purposes. In a car they allow us to see what is going on behind us. They alert us of approaching vehicles. If we want to change lanes, they warn us if cars are next to us. You could say, aside from your eyes, mirrors are the most important visual aid you have when you are behind the wheel. It helps you determine the distance between your car and the car behind you.

There are several types of automobile mirrors. There are rearview mirrors. Side mirrors. Mirrors needed when towing. Wide angle mirrors. Each mirror serves a purpose.

Rearview mirrors became somewhat common by the mid-1930s, side mirrors would take another decade. There is a story that some police objected to cars with mirrors since they would allow motorists to see officers coming up behind them. Whether that is true is up for grabs, but in the 1920s an inventor named Elmer Berger sold an aftermarket auto mirror that he called the “Cop-Spotter.” (source:

Now, although mirrors are very important, how safe would it be to only look in them as you drove down the road?

What if you never look ahead of you, but only glanced between the rearview mirror and the side mirrors? I think it is safe to say, you would not be driving down the road for very long. You might get lucky and be able to drive for a minute, but sooner than later, you would crash your car.

If we are constantly looking back, we could miss a turn. We could drift out of our lane. We could cause harm to ourselves and others. We must keep our focus ahead of us. And just like driving, life is the same way. We need to keep our focus in front of us as we look forward to the soon return of Jesus.

Life is like driving a car. It is important to glance back occasionally. It is important to use those memories from the past to realign from time to time. It is important to remember and reminisce, but one should never live their life always looking back. If we only look back at the bad, if we refuse to give up some hurt or injustice, very soon we will lose all perspective on the people that love us now. We will not be living in the moment. If you spend your life only looking back, you cannot live today in the fullness that God intends for your life. If we only look back, we will lose sight of Jesus and His love for us.

1 Corinthians 13 is called the love chapter. You no doubt have heard it many times, but do you really hear it? Do you understand what it is saying? Without love, I am nothing. Verse 5 says love does not keep a record of wrongs.

Are you holding a grudge against someone? You do not love.

Are you hurt or angry over something someone said or did? That is not love.

Do you keep looking back and rehashing a hurtful conversation or a thoughtless action? That is not love, and without love, the Bible says, we are nothing, just a bunch of irritating noise.

Think about the most spectacular gift you have ever given to someone. Now realize the greatest gift is love.

If I speak in the tongues (language) of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away…

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13 NIV

Back to your side mirror for a moment. There are 9 little words engraved in the glass. “Warning! Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” The second coming of Jesus is much closer than many believe. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He came as our example of what love looks like.

“…because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” 1 Peter 2:21 NKJV

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