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Zack's Close Call

Recently, our family experienced a very scary moment that proved to be a great teaching opportunity for Zack.

A Story of God's Grace

Bike Shopping

Nozomi had been lovingly prodding me to finally purchase a bike -- or should I say bicycle, since in Japan "bike" means "motorcycle."

Well, one Saturday morning, the family had just taken the train to Tokorozawa, a nearby city with several shops and department stores. We had been there a few weeks earlier to check out prices for a bicycle for me. We returned to one store because it had a bicycle I liked on sale that particular day.

After asking the store clerk to hold the bicycle for me, we headed to the bank -- only two blocks away -- in order to withdraw enough cash for the purchase. (Many stores in Japan do not accept credit/debit cards, just cash.) On our way, we had to cross the busy, two-lane avenue at a marked crosswalk with no stoplight. The four of us waited for the traffic to stop for pedestrians before crossing.


A Gracious Driver

A truck driver had seen people waiting and graciously decided to stop and let us all cross the street. Typically, when one vehicle stops, everyone behind that vehicle obviously stops, too. In this case, traffic on the other side had stopped, as well.

It appeared safe, so the group of a dozen pedestrians began to cross en masse.

Our family was in the front of this group, Zack immediately in front of me. Generally we each grab our kids' hands to keep them at our side; but this time, Zack was eager to get across the street. So he was a step in front of us.

We were passing in front of the truck, when...

Two Motorbikes Came Whizzing By

There were two sport motorcycles moving about 40 MPH that, for some reason, didn't stop behind that truck. Perhaps the motorcyclists assumed the truck was stopped to make a delivery. Maybe they were simply in a hurry, and they weren't about to be deterred.

At any rate, both motorcycles veered around the truck by going into the wrong lane for an instant, and without slowing down, they curved back into the correct lane and headed straight for Zack. I mean straight for Zack!

Too Close for Comfort

Seeing the tragedy about to unfold, I immediately reached out and grabbed Zack. I pulled him back to my chest and tried to turn him away from the oncoming cycles. Those 18 inches would be crucial.

The lead motorcycle, which also had a female passenger on the back, screeched its tires in a skid. Nearly laying the bike down, he swerved to avoid Zack and me. I can still vividly see the young man's face as he looked entirely shocked to see us in his projected path. Though it was but an instant, I could easily identify him in a line-up, if you catch my drift.

That first sportcycle literally came within 6 inches of Zack's body -- and within 18 inches of smashing him. Fortunately, the second motorcyclist also adjusted and swerved out of our path.

There is no question in my mind, that if he had been hit by such a fast-moving sportcycle, our 8-year-old would have been seriously injured or even killed.

I thought to myself, "I just saved Zack's life!" And then I said it aloud. Nozomi agreed.

Time to Reflect

Breathing deeply to regain our composure, the four of us spent the next 10 minutes reviewing what just happened. We all sensed a divine moment -- not just the salvation experience, but the debriefing time following it.

During our chat, both kids were noticeably sobered, and a bit dazed. Zack admitted that he was scared, realizing that he could have been killed within an instant. He saw firsthand how fragile life is -- his life -- and was grateful he decided last April 1st to accept Jesus into his heart. Ellie, too.

With Zack and Ellie listening intently, Nozomi and I shared that the experience reveals that God has a purpose for his life -- that God wants to do great things in him and through him, because He spared his young, but significant life.

"Son, God wants to use you to be a channel of grace and blessing in other people's lives. What an honor! Serve Him with all your heart, every day that He gives you."

In subsequently sharing this story with other Dads, seemingly each is reminded of similar stories when God protected their children from impending disaster. Each tells of His mighty works -- of His mercy and grace. What's your story?

Life is fragile, but God is our protector; He is our safe haven. Our lives are indeed in His Hands. And every moment is precious.

Zack's close call has brought him closer to God. Each day from now on is a gift for Zack, in which he asks his Protector, "What would you have for me today Lord?"

Jeff's Posts


Jeff's column offers a mix of reflections on leadership and fatherhood, as well as news from Asian Access.


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Nozomi's Posts


Nozomi's column contains reflections on motherhood, Japanese culture, and ministry.


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Zack's Posts


Zack's column provides a variety of glimpses into what makes him tick.


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Ellie's Posts


Ellie's column is coming soon...


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