Personal belongings stretched for yards. They led straight to a silver and black motorcycle on its side, its back wheel touching the cement barrier.
Next to it was an ambulance. Why didn't it tear back up the interstate like the other ambulance did? Had it been too late to save the body inside the idling one?
The dusky scene was hemmed in by two fire trucks, two blue South Carolina Department of Transportation trucks with bright, flashing arrows, and a multitude of police cars, with police stationed nearby.
It was so still. And yet, these vehicles had screamed by on the right shoulder of the interstate not 10 minutes before.
That wreck was the second I saw that afternoon.
An hour before, I passed an old gold and brown Econoline van flipped upside down just outside Charleston. The van's owners were standing by in tall grass, bewildered.
The third accident happened three hours later, and when it did, I was in disbelief. Three cars were smashed. All had landed in the scrub just off I-20 near Heflin, Ala. Metal was shaped into odd formations. I couldn't tell who or how many were injured. I did see the police don their gear and grab their flashlights.
Road trips are in our family's DNA. It is what we do. But that Saturday marked the first time I saw three wrecks in six hours.
Two things hit me. First, what’s the point of it all – in essence, what’s our purpose?
And furthermore, are we wrecked?
Not just physically but spiritually. Don't our lives, homes, and communities often resemble what I passed – mangled parts stuck between trees or flipped upside down?
I felt the weight of those questions as the miles stretched before me. We're all spiritually ruined, unable to save ourselves. What can we do?
First, we must understand that there is only one way out. Salvation is not through what we've done. It's through Christ's sacrificial death on the cross when he bore the weight and guilt of our sin. That's where hope lives. Christ died for us.
But do we know that? And have we acknowledged our sin? Furthermore, have we believed?
Romans 10 says that "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."
But what else? While we're here, what is our purpose?
My favorite preacher, the late R. C. Sproul, had something profound to say about it. We listened to his sermon on the goal of the Christian life the day after I got home. What he said was hilarious, simple, and profound.
Seek first the kingdom, Sproul said. Meaning, what does the King want? Then, seek His righteousness. What's the next right thing we should do? And haven't we gotten this so convoluted?
But here is the truth boiled down. We're to live every aspect of our lives, every single part, Coram Deo: before the face of God. We are to seek the King's delight in all aspects of life. We are to obey and honor Him in all of it, which means we do what the King tells us to do.
Quoting from John Calvin, Sproul said, “it is the task of the visible church to make the invisible kingdom of God visible."
That rocked my world: Make the invisible kingdom visible! How's that for a purpose?
But how should we do that? Sproul explained that Christians must wrestle with questions such as:
What does the King want to see in this world displayed in the courts of justice? How does the King want a union hall to be run? What does the King have to say about economic principles? Do they touch on people's lives? Do they affect people? What policies are used with their currency?
Sproul finished with the reminder to “seek the King's delight in every aspect of this world … the kingship of Christ … the exaltation, the dominion, the authority of the kingdom of God in all things.”
Back home, though, I still wonder about the ambulance that idled. And the cars in the trees off I-20.
But I no longer wonder about our purpose because God graciously reminded me through Dr. Sproul. The goal of the Christian life is to live in the presence of God, where all of life unfolds beneath His gaze. Under His authority. Unto His glory.
Christ follower, that's what it means to live Coram Deo, which is something our wrecked world needs to see now more than ever.
Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House District 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.
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