For years I have warned my children about making life-altering choices. You know, the biggies. Drinking and driving. Texting and driving. Using illegal drugs. Having sex before marriage. The ones I would think most every parent tries their hardest to drill into their child’s still-forming brain while they are living at home.
We make choices everyday. But those I just listed come under the heading of life-altering choices. Choices where the outcome can have a lifelong effect on one of them, one of us, friends and strangers. Choices that forever change what God’s perfect plan is for us into a huge mess we now must face.
Two weeks ago on a weekend morning at 4:45 a.m. two University of Mississippi students were killed when the vehicle they were riding in went off the road. The driver and another passenger were taken to the hospital, never to see their two friends alive again. Four lives forever changed because of a life-altering choice.
The sad reality is that this scene happens every day, in big cities, small towns, college towns and everywhere in between. We mourn the loss of young lives, lives on the brink of adulthood, on the edge of becoming the husband, the employee, the mentor, the best friend…
This isn’t a referendum on underage drinking – nowhere in the story I read was alcohol mentioned as being a factor in the wreck. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. But someone made a horrible choice, whether it was drinking and driving or speeding or texting while driving. Someone made the choice I have constantly warned mine about – the life-altering choice.
I cannot imagine the grief the families and friends of the 4 young men are experiencing. One minute your son is in college, going to class, pledging a fraternity or practicing on the swim team. The next day he’s gone because someone made a life-altering decision.
We all make mistakes. Every day. Paul warns us in the book of Ephesians: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
You may have a personal experience similar to this story. If you do, I pray for God’s unending love and mercy to comfort you in a way that can only be described as supernatural. Jesus is the only true way to forgiveness and restoration and it takes an enormous amount of time, effort and faith to ever recover from this type of tragedy.
The Lord’s will is for us to be very careful and to live wisely so that as much as possible, tragedies like these can be avoided. Let us all be far more aware of the choices we make – especially the life-altering ones.