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ONe to one: deadly indecision

by Keith Burden, executive secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists. Email Keith at

The somber voice on the other end of the line asked me to come to a church member’s home immediately. I dropped what I was doing and whipped into their driveway five minutes later.

When I saw the highway patrol car at the curb, my heart sank. That’s almost always an ominous sign. I took a deep breath, walked up the steps, and knocked on the door. When I stepped inside, one look at the faces of the family confirmed my suspicions.

I identified myself to the patrolman as I knelt beside a woman in obvious shock. I took her hand as the officer slowly began to recount the details of the accident.

Her husband and adult son had driven away in a small pickup truck a couple of hours earlier. Routine business necessitated their trip to the northwest outskirts of our small community. They completed the task and headed for home as the sun began to set.

According to eyewitnesses, the pickup drove onto the railroad tracks as a freight train approached from the west. Although the engineer blew the whistle, for some inexplicable reason the pickup stopped on the tracks, reversed direction, then attempted to go forward again. There was a violent collision.

By the time the train screeched to a stop, the small truck had been reduced to a mass of twisted metal. Its two passengers were pronounced dead at the scene. The double funeral was one of the saddest services I ever officiated.

No one knows for certain why the accident happened. According to the engineer, the collision could have been avoided had the driver simply kept moving forward. Indecision proved to be a fatal mistake.

It is possible that two factors contributed to this tragedy. First, the position of the setting sun possibly had a blinding effect. Though they heard the whistle, perhaps the men in the truck could not see how close the train was.

However, it is also possible that the driver simply became disoriented when he heard the train-whistle, panicked, and lost his sense of location. His indecision seems to indicate he had no idea that he had stopped on the tracks.

A similar calamity looms in many homes today, yet with far more catastrophic results. Fathers have been blinded to their God-given responsibilities, and their lack of vision has placed them and their families in harm’s way. Men have surrendered their role as spiritual leaders and it has caused their families to become spiritually disoriented—without moral direction.

Dad, your family is counting on you to lead the way. Don’t stop. Don’t go backward. Keep moving forward in your faith and walk with God. There’s too much at stake to become a victim of deadly indecision.





©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists