I left yesterday for the City (Guatemala City) to get the car serviced for the warranty. It's about a 500 km round trip so, 315 miles or so. That's a one way road trip to Lubbock, TX from DFW. I left at 5:45, later than I had wanted but still good enough.
It was a beautiful drive. I head down the mountains to the Coast Road (so named because it parallels the coast) and it was a rare clear day where I got this amazing panorama of the sugar cane fields backdropped by green-black volcanoes and inland mountains. It's a volcano tour - three active volcanoes en-route to the City.
Well, I arrived and had to go to two different service departments before I got the right one. It was my first warranty service and they only do that at one particular place. I, of course, had no idea how to get there but I had a map! This would normally be a good thing except that the map does not tell me which streets are one way and what way they go. I only pulled onto one street the wrong way. Pretty good for me. And I got back in the right direction without too much trouble. I ran errands while the car was getting worked on thanks to Mike - maybe the nicest person I've ever met - another CAM missionary here.
The car got serviced, I ate at Burger King, bought a chair and headed our of town.
The traffic was worse than normal - it was 3:30 so it's not too bad then. Guatemala has some horrid traffic - this coming from a guy who drove to work and school in Dallas for years so I know bad traffic. But this was pretty gridlocked. It started to unravel and I came up to what looked like a wreck of some sort. A Motorcycle accident. The cops were taping things off and taking photos. And then, under an advertisement banner in the median, was a dead man, his arm and foot still limp beneath the hasty cover, his blood drying on the asphalt.
I felt sort of like you do now.
I'm not around death too often, at least not around dead people. Bodies. And as the shock of that subsided I couldn't' help but think of how very fragile we are. We think that we are invincible, many of us. But we're not. We're really quite breakable, quite frail when confronted by even the tiniest of things. Bullets and bacteria kill millions all the time and yet, because we live in a fallen (a really fallen) world, we have sort of accepted those things as normal. But death is not the norm. It's the penalty for sin. And God, because of His great love for us, has made it so that those who believe in Jesus Christ will live, even if we die.
Life is supposed to be the norm, not death. We talk about death as a part of life, and that is true, but it's part of life only on this fallen world. Death won't reign forever. Death is an enemy, to be thrown into the lake of fire and be gone forever. Jesus came that He might give LIFE and life eternal. He conquered death an became the first example of what a death-conquerer looks like. And what an example He is!
I saw a man who has life no more and I do not know if his name was written in the only book where names really matter - the Book of Life. And yet, written or not, his time on this fallen place has ended. But if he hast trusted Jesus Christ and his name is in that book - his time here has ended but his true life has just begun. Only Christians can rejoice at a funeral! Only those who know the risen Christ can know the impossible cocktail of grief and joy. And yet we can know it and embrace suffering and pain and sorrow because we have a redeemer who lives and with whom we will life forever.
And so I saw a dead man in Guatemala City.