I have seen dead bodies before. They always leave me somber and saddened. This one chiseled a mark in me that will not soon go away. With seven million motorcycles in our city and traffic patterns that actually are not all that patterned, it’s pretty inevitable that you are going to see the occasional accident or the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. I have come across at least three in the past week. Usually minor affairs. Maybe you stop and help someone pick up their motorbike and they’re on their way.
But heading home from Bible study tonight, the traffic slowed and backed up so much it was obvious there had been a significant accident ahead. Inching along slowly the jumble of motorbikes and taxis started up the incline of the Binh Trieu Bridge as the traffic funneled increasingly to the left. At the apex of the bridge the scene unfolded. A crowd of stopped motorbikes and a couple medical personnel encircled the accident site and had stopped all traffic apart from a thin lane to one side. At least two motorbikes were still laying on their side having shortly before collided with one another.
In the middle of this circle of silent onlookers was a young lady, maybe 30 years old, lying on her back on the pavement. She was not moving. There was some evidence to her injuries clearly visible which I will not describe. She was dead. That site in and of itself would have been enough to bring on sadness and emotion. But there was more. Laying across the torso of this deceased young lady was a young man, about the same age. Maybe a husband, a boyfriend, a brother . . .? As he lay across her body and stroked her hair he was wailing in immense sorrow. This is the image that has left an indelible mark. The magnitude of this young man’s pain and grief was unfathomable.
Ironically, in our Sunday morning worship this week our study time focused on the burden of grief. We had some great discussion and focused in on the many verses from Scripture which teach us about God’s provision, sustenance, and comfort in the midst of grief. One of those verses which is familiar to all of us was 1 Thessalonians 4:13 and the admonishment that we “not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” As I crossed that bridge over the Saigon River, that verse was screaming in my head almost as loudly as the man laying across the young lady’s body on the pavement.
The odds are ninety-nine to one that the young lady laying dead on the pavement had no relationship with Jesus Christ. The probability is ninety-nine to one that the young man grieving her death so loudly likewise has no relationship with Jesus Christ and is grieving with no hope. And honestly, as I crossed the bridge, I was not thinking about my hope, which I know I have and is certain. As I crossed the bridge and headed on home, my heart was broken.
Many of us are amid 10 days of prayer for Ho Chi Minh City, following the Turning Back the Darkness prayer guide and leading up to our annual day of prayer for the city which is October 10th. You already know that the choice of 10/10 for our day of prayer is because in this city of 10 million people, a lost person dies and goes to hell every 10 minutes. Sadly, we have been sharing that statistic for several years. While we have seen God move in some amazing ways in this city, and thanks be to God we have seen some people come to Christ, there has yet to be a great movement of belief that would change those numbers. And so, because we have been sharing that 10/10 reality for some time, maybe it has begun to lose some of its significance in our minds or has less of an emotional impact as it once had. But that lady lying dead on the pavement was not just a statistic. The man aching over her loss is more than just a percentage.
We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work.