Sometimes it’s the summer months when it strikes. Other times it is when a news article comes across my screen. Either way, it conjures up all sorts of emotions ranging from guilt to fear. Survivor’s guilt overwhelms at times and is almost suffocating.

I’ve suffered a few traumatic events in my life, and I should have died or permanently been physically injured. When I think about those instances, it becomes hard to breathe, and somehow the guilt moves to fear.

In those moments and during certain seasons, God whispers ever so slightly at the strangest times. For instance, the other morning we were visiting a friend’s church. He was preaching on 1 Peter 3:15, but for a brief moment, he ventured into Acts 26:22,

“But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest.”

Now, I wasn’t like Paul during these traumatic events in my life. I wasn’t out sharing the Gospel or living with or for Christ. I was doing stupid and reckless things as a wayward child. I was far from God at the time, but even then, I could feel Him wooing me. I was too stubborn to listen. But He was full of love and pursued me even still.

Could it be that God spared me during those events because He needed me for something? Do I have all the answers as to why I survived with nothing but scars, but someone else died or was paralyzed from similar accidents? No, I don’t. I can’t explain any of it, but what I do know is that I can’t waste what He’s given me. Extra time. 

Had I died during any of those instances, I wouldn’t have spent eternity with Him. 

Had I died, I wouldn’t have my testimony to share with a world who desperately needs to hear about this love—Jesus.

Had I died, I might not be able to reach that one person whose story is so similar to mine that God wants to use me to reach them.

The guilt and fear get to me far too often. I’m working on that, and I pray by His grace and love that those memories will be memories that don’t paralyze me any longer. 

I pray that through all of it, God would get the glory yesterday, today, and always. 

Erin Olson

Erin Olson

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)