Today I had a near-death experience. Well, it felt like one anyway.
I was trapped in a narrow stairwell in an underground carpark. I had opened and closed a door behind me, believing I would walk out onto the streets outside. But instead I discovered nothing but stairs, doors which locked from the inside, and concrete. I tried each door, but to no avail. They would not open.
As it began to dawn on me I couldn’t get out, I tried to imagine how long I could last in there without losing my breath. I was in a small space, surrounded by walls and one small vent. The vent seemed to be enclosed, allowing minimal air in. I felt a bit lightheaded after only a couple of minutes in there, and started to panic.
“Lord,” I prayed. “Please send someone to help me.”
I then went systematically to each of the four doors and banged and knocked, hoping someone in the quiet carpark would hear. Then I just settled on one one door and banged, called out and knocked for a while, praying and seeking God’s peace at the same time.
It wasn’t long before God sent someone. “Hello?”
“Hello, are you there?” Within a minute a man came, opening the door for me. His friend was waiting for him in the car. “That was lucky,” he said. “I wasn’t going to drive down this way, but I needed to turn the car around…”
“Thank you so much!” I said with relief.
I walked out and found daylight – this time, through the correct exit. I smiled at the strangeness of life and the goodness of God, before realising I was quite rattled by the experience.
I looked down at my carpark ticket, issued by the company ‘Secure’, which owned the parking station. In small print were the following words:
“No warranty as to the security of this car park is expressed or is to be implied by the word ‘secure’ in our trading name.”
In other words, even though their trading name was ‘Secure’, it didn’t mean that I, nor my car, would be upon entering.
There are no guarantees in life, especially when it comes to our security. And this company certainly wasn’t promising any.
In my moment of insecurity, trapped inside the stairwell, I felt a strong certainty at the same time. I was certain that, should I lose my breath completely, I would awaken again to the face of my beautiful Saviour, Jesus. The one who promises me his loving presence, in life and in death.
Sure, I don’t always trust Him completely, as I did in that moment of need. But I do know deep down that there’s no security like the kind found in Him.
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest.
(Taken from the hymn by F. Crosby, 1868)