RELIGION: Thinking fast — deciding quickly

I grew up in Southern California where, back in the 1950s, we had a slower-paced life. We didn't have major freeways, the speed limit was 55 and some store fronts in our town still had the look of stores in TV westerns.

But life was getting set to change and it was in the 1950s that President Eisenhower signed the bill to start the major Interstate Highway System. One of the results was that Highway 80, that ran within a block of our house and through the middle of town, was eventually replaced by I-8 a half mile away and ran around the outskirts of town. Of course, town has since grown up around I-8.

Highway 59 that leaves Siloam Springs and goes through Gentry, Decatur and Gravette, has the look of highway 80...including the speed limit of 55. But there's one difference that I can remember. When we found a portion of Hwy 80 out of town blocked by a car accident, the police waved us off the road and around the wreck and we continued on our way. That doesn't happen anymore, including here on Hwy 59.

Last week when Michael was driving north on 59, he found traffic at a dead stop just north of Gentry. What made things more interesting was that the train on the west side of 59 was also stopped. But what made things worse was that this block could prevent Michael from going to work. He called me to see if I had any suggestions.

Although I still like the relaxed, slow-paced way of life, we had to think fast and decide quickly what Michael needed to do.

I got the map out and told Michael to go back to Gentry, go east on 12, north on 279 and west on 72. To assure that he didn't miss a turn due to lack of signs, we stayed on the phone until he reached his destination. He was a half hour late but he made it.

There are many situations in life where we have to think fast and decide quickly.

Years ago, Carol and I were driving south in New Mexico toward Silver City. It was a sunny day, roads were straight and dry and we were going the speed limit of 65 mph.

Then I saw a car coming our direction, going about 85, pull out to pass several other vehicles. With our combined speed about 150 mph, our distance was closing fast and there was no room for the car to get off my lane.

I assessed the situation and quickly got off the road, praying that the cars in back of me could also find safety. But where I pulled off was gravel and a ravine. I would rather take the ravine than a head-on collision!

Then I saw that another driver slowed down and allowed the driver, who was coming at me, to pull in about 100 feet of us. Now that the road was safe, and preferring not to spend the night in a ravine, I immediately turned on my signal to let those who I had been in front of know that I was coming back onto the road.

They honked their horns as they quickly sped up to prevent my re-entry. They apparently didn't understand how close they had come to death. But with the safety of wife and children highest on my mind, I had no alternative. With blaring horn, I re-entered the line of cars heading for Silver City. And the situation ended well.

Other situations are not that critical but fast thinking and quick decisions are often needed in life. When I've been asked how I think so efficiently and react so quickly, I tell people my answer lies in 1 Corinthians 2:16. As I live for the Lord to the best of my understanding, I have the mind – thoughts – of Christ available at all times.

I often pray about decisions but sometimes I don't have time to ask for guidance – such as on that trip to Silver City, N.M. But because of my relationship with the Lord, He gives me the knowledge and wisdom to do what is necessary.

You, dear reader, have that same privilege available. God loves every one of us equally so He is ready to help us equally. But it is up to us to live for Him and learn to hear from Him.

Learn to know and live for God. He's waiting for you.

S. Eugene Linzey is author, speaker, and mentor. Send comments and questions to [email protected]. Visit his web site at The opinions expressed are those of the author.