By Leonard Lauriault: Religion columnist
While traveling to Albuquerque recently I came to the monuments commemorating those who lost their lives in the Cuervo fire accident in 2002.
You may remember the incident. According to the National Transportation Safety Board report found online, a grass fire from a railroad worksite spewed smoke across Interstate 40.
The accident happened when three drivers drove into the smoke. Eventually, nine others drove into the smoke and collided with the wreckage. There were seven fatalities, three serious and 13 minor injuries.
While the fire was a contributing factor in limiting visibility, the tragedy of the Cuervo fire happened because people drove into the smoke.
Still, a lawsuit was settled in 2004 in which damages were paid by the railroad and the trucking companies whose vehicles were involved. Apparently, truck drivers are supposed to know better than the rest of us to not drive into the smoke.
Similarly to not driving into standing water and that bridges freeze before roadways, not driving into smoke is a basic driver safety tip that should have been learned early in the driver training process.
Not everyone drove into the smoke that day, indicating that some people knew better.
OK, what’s the point of all this?
Christians should know the danger signs of sin and to not go there (1 Thessalonians 5: 21, 22). We’re barely going to be saved and then only by the grace of God because we’ve obeyed him (Ephesians 2: 1-5; 2 Timothy 2: 14, 15; 2 Thessalonians 1: 8-10).
Others are traveling down life’s road with no clue or maybe no care about the danger that lies ahead and we need to be concerned about their safety (Matthew 7: 13). They (as well as risk-taking Christians) may be able to make it through the smoke, but they also may just lose their way altogether and be consumed. If those first drivers on the scene had stopped before the smoke and blocked the way as a warning to others, they might’ve prevented the tragedy.
In fact, one of the first three who drove into the smoke pulled her truck-driving partner from the sleeper and out of danger before the fire consumed the truck (Jude : 22, 23).
Christians are to warn others about the dangers of sin in this life and its everlasting effects. Paul told us we should look not only to our own interests but the interests of others as well (Philippians 2: 1-5). That’s a matter of Christlikeness that we’d better not take a chance on overlooking.
The Cuervo fire accident was tragic indeed because some people lost their lives simply because they drove into the smoke. It’s quite likely we’ll enter heaven smelling like smoke, but we won’t have been scorched if we become well-grounded in the word and heed its advice (Matthew 13: 3-6, 20, 21; 2 Thessalonians 2: 13-15; Luke 16: 9-31; Revelation 22: 18).
Don’t drive into the smoke.