“If I am to go on living”–Lessons from a motorcycle accident by Hank Ysinga

It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. It had been a great ride, lots of nice bikes and people. A good lunch and perfect weather. I finished off the last mouthful of my Timmy’s coffee, enjoying the flavor for a second or two, and headed out to the parking lot. Glancing at my watch, I walked towards the spot where my police Harley sat gleaming in the afternoon sun. It was five o’clock. Perfect timing! By the time I left the service centre and enjoyed a leisurely cruise back to the detachment, it would be just about quitting time. After shoving my leather jacket into the saddlebag, I climbed on and headed for the 401. Just as I approach the highway, four other O.P.P. bikes roared by, heading home as well.” A stroke of luck,” I thought, “some company for the trip.” I hit the throttle hard and after a few miles, I was nicely tucked in behind the 4th bike and settled in for the ride back.

While travelling along I noticed a small green car gaining on me from behind at a pretty good clip. I watched him pull into the right Lane and come right up beside me – he was not slowing down! I tried to make eye contact with the driver, but he would not look at me. As he continued past me, I realized that his path was blocked by a car in front of him and the bikes on his left. Incredibly, he signalled and pulled between me and the rider ahead! That rider had been watching all this in his mirror, so he turned on his seat and motioned the driver of the car to pull back to the right Lane. The car driver panicked and slammed on his brakes instead. What followed is something of a blur for me, even four months later. I vaguely recall the screeching of tires, faintly as if from a distance. I felt my bike shaking badly like it was trying to throw me off … then blackness.

“Try to keep him dry,” a very distant voice said. There was some more conversation, but it sounded very far away. I tried to focus my eyes, but it seemed like I was in a big orange tent with these strange voices. What I did not realize at that time was that my comrades and the paramedics were holding raincoats over my body as they loaded me onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. Moments after my crash, it had begun to rain heavily, and they were doing their best to keep me dry.  As they fastened the stretcher into the back of the ambulance I struggled desperately to figure out where I was and what was happening. I felt nothing so I just closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

As God had then graciously spared my life, He has also now spared me the agony of reliving, in my mind, the violent and painful impact of my body as it struck and then tumbled along the highway that day.  I was unable to recall any of those details. Over the next 48 hours most of the rest had come back. I remember that I had swerved my bike on time and had managed to avoid hitting the car that braked. This action, combined with my own hard braking, caused me to be thrown from my bike onto the highway where I rolled and slid for some 150 meters. My bike slid into the median and I came to rest in the middle of the right Lane.

The hours and days that followed have in a way gotten blended and condensed in my mind. Events passed with whirlwind speed, but a few scenes stay fresh and vivid. I expect they always will. I can picture so clearly the pain on my wife’s face as she struggled with the tears when they first ushered her into the treatment room.

There was a lump of emotion that welled up in my own throat as I asked her not to cry – because I was afraid that if she cried, I would cry too. Somehow, I felt as if I had hurt her or let her down by being here. One by one my shift mates came into the room to say a quick hello, their expressions of care and concern so vivid yet today. And how will I ever forget the following morning, in Hamilton, when my wife came into my hospital room and kissed me, followed by my five children. I still smile when I picture all of them filing quietly into the room and standing against the back wall, a little bit nervous and intimidated by the whole situation. I am not sure what they expected to see but they were obviously relieved that other than a bit of road-rash on his face, the guy in the bed looked and sounded just like the father they had last seen the day before.

With the passing of more time there were good days and bad. There was the constant pain, the boredom, the long, lonely nights in my recliner in the living room because I could not sleep in a bed, and the inability to do even the most basic things for myself. But there was also precious time spent reading books which encouraged my soul, the extra time with my family, and the wonderful fellowship with the many people who came daily for weeks after. There was also the incredible flood of cards which arrived daily. These became a highlight of every day and just looking at the growing collection encouraged me greatly.

It has been four months now and I have had many hours to contemplate the reasons for such an event in my life. There has been no real answer to the big “WHY” that initially confronted me. But there have been many lessons to learn. I have learned to be patient with my body as it causes me pain and limits my ability to make it do what I think it should. I have learned in a new way the value of relationships. The love and fellowship of family and friends has become much more precious to me these days, while the material aspects of my life seem much less significant. Most importantly, I have been reminded anew of the value of my relationship with God. I am acutely aware that it was God’s sovereign desire that I opened my eyes from unconsciousness in my orange “tent” on Hwy 401. I could as easily have been face to face with my Creator in that first instant of consciousness. Paul’s words in Philippians chapter one, “better by far,” referring to being with Christ, come to mind on occasion when I think about this. But that did not happen, and that same chapter tells me exactly what that should mean for me now when Paul says, “If I am to go on living in the body, that will mean fruitful labour for me.” What a challenge! I thank God for the assurance that He has given me in Christ, that had it been my time, I would without a doubt be in His presence today! My accident made me face that issue and this assurance has been God’s incredibly special gift to me through it all. I realize that death is not as frightening for me as it might be, in fact as I write this, I have no fear of it. And the life that He has preserved for me now, has a clearer, perhaps a fresher sense of purpose than it did before.

 

WHETHER BY LIFE OR BY DEATH by Pastor Bill Morgan – Grace Churches

“According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I live in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labours.  Yet what I shall choose, I cannot tell.  For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.  Nevertheless, to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”  (Philippians 1:20-24)

 

The Apostle Paul faced death as a result of being united to Jesus Christ by faith in Him and what Jesus accomplished on behalf of Paul (and all believers) through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and subsequent resurrection from the dead and ascension to Heaven.  Paul had repented of his sins and turned from his sinful lifestyle to God.  He trusted in God’s Son as his Saviour!  The Apostle Paul’s ministry consisted of these two truths concerning repentance and faith – that people would be right (justified) with God and prepared to face death.  Paul’s summary of his ministry is as follows:  “. . .testifying to Jews and also to Gentiles, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Acts 20:21)

 

A fellow believer and friend, who became part of the O.P.P. Motorcycle Division, was involved in a serious accident on Highway 401, and came very close to being killed.  This is the closing paragraph of his account:

 

“Most importantly, I’ve been reminded anew of the value of my relationship with God.  I am acutely aware that it was God’s sovereign desire that I opened my eyes from unconsciousness  in that “orange tent” on Highway 401. I could easily have been face-to-face with my Creator in that first instance of consciousness.  Paul’s words in Philippians chapter one, “better by far” referring to being with Christ, comes to my mind on occasion when I think about this.  But that didn’t happen, and that same chapter tells me exactly what that should mean for me now when Paul says, “If I am to go on living in the body, that will mean fruitful labour for me.”  What a challenge!!  I thank God for the assurance that He has given me in Christ, that, had it been my time, I would, without a doubt, be in His presence today!  My accident made me face that issue and this assurance has been God’s very special gift to me through it all.  I realize that death is not as frightening for me as it might be.  In fact, as I write this, I have no fear of it!!  And the life that He has preserved for me now, has a clearer – perhaps a fresher sense of purpose than it did before.”

 

HOW DEATH CAN BE FACED? – BY FAITH IN GOD

A Dissenting Voice

 

Have you ever been surprised by the simplest of changes, like soaping your hands and wondering why no perfume smell once you finished with it?  Later your wife tells you about buying unscented soap for the first time instead of the usual scented brand.  Sure, unexpected surprises can catch us off guard, even be mildly amusing, providing a bit of a diversion from daily routines.  It is those bombshell changes to our lives that leave us reeling.  Coved 19 is one of them.   Who could have predicted its long-term effects, which at the beginning was seen by some as little more than a menace, but grew into a monster of sort, invading every quarter of our world bearing its fangs and flexing its muscle on many?   Citizens of every country have become acutely aware of its devastating influence.  Other shocking events have been felt since:  The White House invasion, riots in the streets by Black Lives Matter and Antifa; even the news media have caused distress.   Media giants such as CNN and Fox News have been accused of bias reporting.   Reporting the burning of vehicles and rioting in the streets of a large city- CNN spoke of it as something akin to the American Revolution.  Listen to their account — “Our country was started because, the Boston tea party. rioting. So do not get it twisted and think this is something that has never happened before, and this is so terrible and these savages and all of that. This is how this country was started” –   You have to ask yourself if these same citizens and businessmen of that city where their businesses were being vandalized and torched see it that way, and what type of history was really being made by these gratuitous acts of violence by self-declared Marxists mobs in what previously were peaceful and law-abiding communities, who had no grudges to bear themselves.  Again, on another front, a Fox news reporter decided to walk away from his employment after having been employed for twenty-three years.  He said that his resignation was largely due to the lack of truthfulness in the news (he was speaking of his own network).  He commented that when you “begin with a false premise and lead people astray, that’s injurious to society and it’s the antithesis of what we should be doing.”   What we are witnessed to has been a sizeable breakdown in our society and a rejigging of social norms.   More disconcerting are the lethal attacks on our younger generation which has occurred right under the very noses of our politicians and in some cases knowingly supported those attacks.  For years the homosexual, lesbian, and now transgender movements have spread their perverted doctrine and sinful practices in our society, often citing discrimination in their efforts to infiltrate society at every level.  Public authorities granted them free access to our classrooms where they spread their perverse view of life and sexuality.  Even now most of the parliamentarians from the three parties are supportive of Bill C-6.  This law that has been tabled will criminalize any action from parents, medical practitioners, and counselors who dissuade youths from being converted to transgenderism.  To do so they may themselves face jail terms of two years and hefty fines.   Over a short time, our government officials have become more radical and immoral.  Today, if you wish to live morally, you are marginalized, accused of hate crimes, and will most likely be opposed by a “cancel culture” mentality, that seeks to silence your traditional view of life and God.  Any expression of real ethics may land you in the bad books of the “progressive left” and the target of shaming and intimidation that accompanies it.    Can these attacks succeed and turn us away from practicing beliefs that have been long-standing for many of us?

Let us set things straight on this question.   This talk about Christians being extremist and dangerous to society is ill-founded.   We must understand that it is not a Christian and his faith that has changed.  A Christian’s belief has always remained fixed on honoring God and His Commandments.  His Word is the basis of the Judeo-Christian way of life and has been that way through the ages.   Where the rampant change has occurred has been in parts of society and largely in the main parties of government.   There has been a rapid shift to greater evil which has gone on largely unchecked and unnoticed.    Yet one person of note has commented on this and his point well taken.   A former Liberal Party president and once a long-time Liberal MP says that his former party is now in name only.  He says in today’s Liberal Party, decisions are not made by discussions or debate.  Instead of being listened to, many people are “shamed” for their positions or ideas that may not be popular in some regions.  He speaks of the party as the “NDP on steroids.”   But we are not to think that the ruling party is alone in this; the Conservative Party has shifted their stance too.  All three parties, in fact, freely use the term “progressive” and all of them wish to be identified as “agents of progress”.   True enough the idea that being a progressive is universally recognized and does speak to some form of change, but what form of change are they talking about?   What it turns out to be is a wholesale departure from the ethical norms our nation once enjoyed, and if you voice any objection to it in any way, you can expect mudslinging and name-calling for not conforming to their anti-God position.   You can expect false allegations even so far as labelling you racists if you do not go along with the pack.

Christians will not be party to following evil no matter how it may be dressed up to look.   Christians are not given to threats and intimidation since we have God’s promise of preservation.   We will not follow legislation that abuses children or any other unrighteous acts against children or any other member of our community for that matter.  These days we live in are a distant reminder of another time.  A period in which are found similarities to our own day.  In the Egyptian period Moses and his people had come under the hardened rule of Pharaoh, who though unable to assimilate the Hebrew populace into their pagan lifestyle, they imposed objectionable laws none more heinous than the murder of baby boys, to reduce their numbers.    No matter what they attempted to do, they failed since God had cast His mercy and protective care over the Jews.   Intimidation is often a tactic to coerce people into a certain way of thinking.  In our day, that same tactic can be found.  To broaden the acceptance of abortion our policymakers have ruled to hold back funds from any group of youth job programs if they do not pen their signatures on forms showing support for abortion.  In addition, doctors as well must also recommend/ refer abortion to patients as an option to consider even against personal conscience and beliefs.   Under Canadian law, a teenager can have her baby killed without her parents’ consent, not even having to make it known to them (and to think stores are hiding cigarettes behind counters to protect them from smoking).   Tyranny and oppression come in many different forms.  No person must feel he has to buckle under it though.    Moses refused to be assimilated into a society with many vices.  True, he paid the price, but he resisted it, nevertheless.  The Scriptures give us a glimpse into his way of thinking.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.  Heb 11:24 – 27

Moses made a wise decision!  God is not mocked — neither will evil tyrants succeed nor will heavy- handed pressures against His people go unpunished.   We all know what happened at the Exodus (if not, it is where God delivered the Hebrews miraculously through the Red Sea, leaving Pharaoh and his army to drown).  Through the ages the Exodus has become a symbol of freedom for those under oppression.   The African American slaves often sang about the oppression they faced comparing it to the days of Moses and His people.  While God’s rescue mission at the Red Sea is known throughout history, it speaks to us on a spiritual level.   Whereas God safely delivered His people from certain death from a pursuing Egyptian army, we are rescued from our sins and the damnation that follows at the cross of Christ.   The consequence of our sins warrants payment, and none of us can pay the price ourselves; only Christ can do it, and He has.    His sacrifice has meant that all who trust Him can safely pass-through judgment to the other side.  Put your faith in Him and learn what it means to live, confidently knowing that eternity in heaven is assured and awaits any who put their trust in Christ.   The Saints of old were saved by faith; so, can you.