by David Brickner, Executive Director | October 01 2023
In June, my wife Sabra and I were on our way to camp, driving up a steep mountain with her brother Ari and his daughter Ela. One moment we were winding along the narrow, serpentine curves, then in the blink of an eye, we were careening off the road. I barely managed to steer our vehicle into a lone redwood tree about five car lengths down the embankment and BAM! The car smashed into the tree with a terrifying crunch, and shattered glass flew everywhere.
It was incredibly scary coming face to face with death, and yet, despite lots of painful bruises and contusions, no bones were broken, and not one of us had internal injuries. God had clearly preserved our lives according to His sovereignty.
For one thing, we decided at the last minute that we needed a bigger vehicle, so we rented a huge Ford Expedition. My own vehicle would have ended up like an accordion when we hit that tree.
Second, the tree itself was all that stood between us and a deadly roll down the mountain. Redwood trees don’t normally grow alone, so I don’t know how it happened to be there—but the Lord surely knew right where to position and preserve that tree when it began growing hundreds of years ago.
Third, and more mysterious, is how God spared Sabra. Just before the accident, she had momentarily unbuckled her seatbelt to reach for something on the floor. When we hit the tree, she came flying toward the windshield, but in a split second, her body literally did a back flip back into her seat. I have no explanation for that other than Psalm 34:7: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” Thank you, Lord!
A few days later, I was telling my friend and fellow Jews for Jesus board member Lon Solomon what had happened. Lon said, “Well, David, if up until now you thought you were on your own time, you are definitely on the Lord’s time now.” I couldn’t agree more!
All who follow Yeshua need to remind ourselves that in a sense, all our time is “borrowed time” because our lives are not our own. If we live as though we have all the time in the world to spend however we please, we lose out on the wonderful purpose God has for each and every one of His children. We need to keep looking to God to guide us, protect us, and use us for His purposes. I have been reflecting quite a bit on this in light of significant events I experienced soon after the accident.
Last month, Jews for Jesus completed our Jubilee: 50 years of proclaiming the gospel to Jewish people around the world. It also marked 28 years since I was officially installed as the executive director of Jews for Jesus, following in the footsteps of our founder, Moishe Rosen. What a blessing it is to lead such a wonderful ministry with such an amazing staff and such faithful partners like you. If that weren’t enough, September 29th marked my 65th birthday as well.
I find it hard to believe I’m 65 years old, but the constant mail I keep receiving from AARP won’t let me forget. I still feel young and vigorous and am convinced God isn’t finished with me yet. But I am also keenly aware, especially since the accident, that life doesn’t offer guarantees, and while my birth certificate shows no expiration date, God has numbered all of our days.
A few years ago, I was preaching at McLean Bible Church where Lon Solomon served as pastor for so many years before his retirement. I was in the green room before the service, and I noticed Lon had taped a Bible verse to the mirror: “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers” (Acts 13:36). At first, I was a bit unnerved and wondered if Lon was trying to give me some kind of hint! It turned out that he kept that verse on the mirror for his own benefit, and I understand now more than ever exactly why.
We all need to be reminded, whether through facing death, celebrating milestones, or best of all—by the Word of God—that as we follow Jesus, we have a purpose in life. And we are truly on the Lord’s time as we work together for His glory.