Next, I realized the impact and ultimate implication of these white crosses for me personally. Had I died along Fort Irwin Road during my first trip nineteen years earlier I would never have personally known the Lord Jesus Christ. The cross above my point of death in 1984 would truly have been a lie. I was as far from salvation in 1984 as water was from this desert on this sun-drenched day. However, a couple of years later someone cared enough about my soul to tell me at length of the Savior and friend she had in Jesus. She challenged me to accept Him into my heart. “When are you going to surrender your life to Jesus, Tom?” “Soon, Susan. Soon.” And, in fact, it was very soon after that memorable night of witnessing that I accepted Jesus into my heart and life as my Savior. Eighteen months later in a chapel I said, “I do,” to that same Susan.
I have since learned that Fort Irwin’s Provost Marshal Traffic Section, Defensive Driving Course Coordinator, and Post Safety Office monitor Fort Irwin Road, and investigate each accident, pounding in a freshly constructed cross individually built to specifications by the Directorate of Logistics.
I have also learned that forty crosses currently stand testimony to deaths along not only Fort Irwin Road, but also Old Fort Irwin Road and on Fort Irwin itself. The authorities’ intent in posting these crosses is to memorialize each accident’s victims, and to slow down drivers and wake them up to the hazards of this road in particular, and to driving on all highways in general.
To me, these plain, stark white crosses serve as a wake-up call to focus on the immediate, the important and the ultimate in life. One day my fun and my sin will end and my judgment will come. “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” (Heb. 9:27). “Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death…” (Eccles. 8:7-8).
I wonder how many folks occasionally or routinely traveling down Fort Irwin Road contemplate the true, deeper meaning and implication for their lives in viewing each of these crosses? You and I must tell others that Jesus loves them and came to earth to save them. I blithely skip through this life not making much of an eternal impact for the Kingdom, afraid of offending co-workers, relatives and friends, being unsure of myself. I hope you do not.
Do you know a young soldier, sailor, airman, marine, or coastguardsman who does not yet know the Lord? Do you know a homemaker heading to the store today who would perish in hell if you did not tell her about Christ’s redeeming death and resurrection for her and her family? How about a civilian employed by the Defense Department? What are you waiting for? What am I waiting for?
Someday everyone you and I know will need the Lord Jesus Christ as he or she transits, one final time, the “Fort Irwin Road” that is this life.
As the barren white crosses along this highway cry out, let’s also cry out to those around us that Jesus loves them and saves sinners’ souls. Should the Director of Logistics pound in cross #41, may it portray the truth that a redeemed soul perished in that spot.