Unreliable Precautions

What if, in an attempt to protect people, you actually endangered them?

That happened recently in China.

No matter how long our world battles Covid-19, we cannot find unity on the best way to handle certain situations. Twenty-seven people died recently in southwest China due to circumstances around Covid, but they are not the type you might assume. The people died from a bus crash as authorities whisked them away to quarantine.

With their strict policies, China has established numerous hotels to house people when citizens test positive. The bus carrying infected passengers overturned in a single vehicle incident on an expressway at 2:40 AM on Sunday, September 18, 2022. They had been on the road for two and a half hours at the time of the accident.

Since the incident, numerous Chinese people have expressed outrage and confusion regarding why such steps must still be taken and why they deemed it necessary to transport them in the middle of the night. While the investigation is still ongoing, it appears likely that the conditions and timing increased the unfortunate outcome.

What do we find tragically ironic about this story?

In the process of trying to protect people, they actually endangered them.

This trip was to keep others safe, but it took their lives.

It serves as a reminder that no matter how many precautions we take, we are never truly invincible.

When I read this story, it struck me. The plan was intended to help, but it actually hurt. For all the wisdom in the process, it ended up killing 27 people.

In James 4, we will learn that no matter the plans we make or the precautions we take, we are vulnerable people under the hand of the Almighty God. As we plan our lives, we must remember our inability to guarantee anything. We must learn to trust Him rather than ourselves.

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.”14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes.

15 Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it.

James 4:13-17

Many of us have a plan for our lives. We are going to go do this. Make that. Work here. Enjoy there. We each of a destination that will keep us safe.

But we can’t avoid unexpected and unfortunate bus crashes along the way.

  • The person who never smoked got lung cancer.
  • The one who works out relentlessly and eats healthily had a heart attack.
  • The individual that saved financially encountered a crazy circumstance that drained the accounts.

While it is wise to take precautions in this life, even our best efforts are unreliable.

We are not invincible. We are absolutely not sovereign.

So, what do we do with such a depressing reminder? We still make plans, but we make them with humble reliance on God’s sovereignty. “Lord, I want to follow your will. If you allow me to continue to live, I plan to do this. I hope I can do that.”

And you go forward without boasting. Make plans, but don’t view them in concrete because you crafted them. The only plans that will completely survive are God’s. Make sure you stay in step with Him.