I had a cookie and coffee before bed the other night and didn’t sleep well; probably shouldn’t snack before bed, certainly no caffeine. I woke up from a dream the next morning.
In the dream, as best as I can recall it, there had been media reports of several tragic auto crashes. The National Transportation Safety Board began advocating for something to be done, and media pressure soon became intense. After reports of several more accidents, the president bowed to the building political pressure and appointed a task force. Working quickly, recommendations were made, and swiftly implemented.
The “Safer and Safest Plan” was announced. In Phase 1, “Stopped is Safest,” automobile and motorcycle traffic was to be immediately removed from the roadways. Essential truck traffic would continue, but only with reduced speed limits of 20 mph in cities and 30 mph on highways. Mass transit continued, within the reduced speed limits. Air travel stopped, as most airports required passengers to travel to and from the airport in an automobile. Schools and businesses of course closed. After a couple of weeks, limited auto travel was to resume. Schools would remain closed – to protect the children – but businesses could then begin to reopen. Opposition developed, particularly in small towns and rural areas that had no mass transit options and where lengthy travel was often required.
Businesses of course suffered, and most people were out of work. Congress quickly approved a plan to help. A few trillion dollars was ginned up in order to send a check made out to “Cash” to everyone in the country, with extra checks sent to politically favored organizations to distribute so no one would be missed. Poignant media interviews with families of people who had died in accidents were prominently featured on a regular basis. Personal injury lawyers continued to advertise incessantly on television. Fear began to grow.
Under Phase 2, “Slow is Safer,” automobile traffic resumed with the lower speed limits. But auto drivers and passengers, of course wearing the car’s safety belts, were to wear bike helmets or an equivalent, and cars were to be filled with pillows. Factories were pressed into service immediately to produce these, at government expense. The state’s governor, fully supportive of the program, was holding almost daily televised campaign even – er — press conferences, and soon appeared wearing a helmet featuring the state flag, holding flag-emblazoned pillows to match. Numerous charts were presented, showing how many people might or might not die depending on how many people obeyed the speed limits, wore the helmets, and stuffed their cars with pillows. There were a few unintended side effects – sometimes the pillows interfered with the driver’s field of vision. There was continued and growing opposition to the whole plan, with many people wanting to just junk the whole thing.
Another plan was formed, to develop a new, safer “normal.” The government would create tens of trillions of dollars and confiscate the auto manufacturers. Small, electric, “safe” cars would be mass produced. The cars, equipped with safety belts that would have to be buckled before the car would move, would be equipped with all sorts of air bags that would deploy on collision, so the helmets and pillows would no longer be needed. The cars would be self-driving “smart” cars, preventing driver error as well as enabling a governmental agency to control speeds and monitor the location of the car at all times. The new transportation normal would at last be safe.
About here I woke up from this dream. I got up, and after my morning devotional reading and coffee, thought that I might take my wife out to breakfast and then maybe go get a haircut. And then I remembered . . . Later in the morning, we got in the car and took a long drive.
A timid sort by nature, I nevertheless am willing to take some risks. But there is one risk I was never willing to take. The Bible’s book of Hebrews tells us,
He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:26-28)
The “appointed for men to die once” part is universally, if begrudgingly, acknowledged. We will all, at some point and in some manner, die. It is the “but after this the judgement” that is not always acknowledged and is the most troubling. But like millions of Christian believers throughout the ages, I have, as it were, eliminated the risk. As I child, I heard and believed the gospel, acknowledged Christ as Lord and Savior, acknowledged His “Sacrifice of Himself” when He “was offered to bear the sins of many.” Still living in a fallen world, still subject to calamity, still subject to physical death, but safe in the providence of the Sovereign Creator, Sustainer, and Savior.