The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Proverbs 22:3
The collision bounced the young man off the hood of the car, over the roof, and into a field. Unfazed by the horror of blood on his windshield, the driver of the Buick continued, crushing the boy’s bicycle before ramming into the father, killing him.
Perhaps the driver reached for an open can of beer. Maybe his fingers fumbled for more of the cocaine resting in his lap. Regardless, he drove another thirty yards before witnesses waved him down and forced him to turn around. By then it was too late—one dead, another soon to be. The prudent see danger and take refuge, the simple keep going.
Months before my friend killed the two cyclists he had, in descending order, left his live-in girlfriend, divorced his wife, had an affair, lost several jobs, moved away from his friends, and stopped attending church.
I’d tried to stay in touch after his youngest son died but it was hard. Saw him for a few minutes before his mom’s funeral. Tried to find him after the service, but he was gone. Maybe if I’d visited more often I could have helped. Or perhaps he was beyond help. The last time we talked I asked, “Do you still think about him?”
“Every day, Eddie. Every hour.”
The loss of his boy left him gutted. The smile was there but the eyes were dead. I never asked and he didn’t say but I sensed he blamed God for his son’s death. Now, on a fine spring morning some ten years later, my friend had done some killing himself. Perhaps not intentionally, but two were dead and the grieving would roil the lives of their families and friends for years to come.
What starts the spiral? What turns us away from God and toward destruction? Is it the pain? If so, I should have shouldered more of my friend’s. Maybe if I had, he wouldn’t be in jail and that father and son would be resting their tired bodies on fresh cut grass instead of lying beneath it.
Twenty-five years ago he was the godfather of my first son. Twenty-five years ago we served as youth counselors, sailed together, laughed together, and worshiped in church together. Now he sits in jail charged with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle. The prudent see danger and take refuge, the simple keep going.
The danger isn’t in the storms. The danger is in refusing to read the clouds and heed the rumble of thunder as trouble gathers around us. The prudent take cover. The fool sails on taking those with him to the depths of despair.
What storms gather in your life? Turn around and take cover in God’s embrace before it’s too late.
I love my pond. A gift from my boys, it’s brought me hours of rest. The pond started as one small 80-gallon divot but as the years passed we added a long creek filled with beautiful rocks and waterfalls. We added fish one by one; the kids named every finned friend that called our pond home and before long we had a mixture of coy and goldfish swimming in our lily-covered waters. The boys named the tiniest fish Bob.
Bob was hard to find in the pond. He kept out of sight by hiding in the water iris, peeking through the floating roots and algae. We’d go weeks and never see Bob, wondering why he avoided the open waters of the pond.
One afternoon I pulled open the plastic container of fish food and spread a handful of colored feeding sticks across the water. Nothing. That’s odd, I thought. Generally a handful of food meant a feeding frenzy. I knelt by the pond and peered in. No fish. Well, there was one. Bob was nestled among the lilies, hard to see and very still.
There were no little fish bodies around the pond—no sign of life anywhere. We joked and wondered if a fish rapture came and the others had been “raptured away,” leaving Bob behind.
The writer of Proverbs warns, The prudent see danger and take refuge. Swimming into dangerous currents can be exhilarating. Waterfalls rocket us along, providing a momentary thrill, pushing us through narrow crevices and into swirling whirlpools that leave us dizzy. The sun warms our tidal pool, we relax and drift along, admiring the reflection of our silver scales on the mirrored bottom. Then GULP! Life lunges, taking us down into the depths of darkness.
A few days after Bob’s schoolmates went missing, I solved the mystery. We caught a raccoon fishing in the pond. Bob’s prudence served him well. Last week we added new fish to the pond. They’re small and spend their time hiding in the tangled Iris roots too. Perhaps Bob passed along his wisdom. For my sake, I hope so. I can’t afford to keep stocking that pond.
Don’t venture out when danger lurks. Instead, seek shelter and wait in the safety of God’s pond.