I heard a quote a while back that has stuck in my spirit ever since: “If you put everything in God’s hand, you will soon see God’s hand in everything.” Never was this truer than last night. I was on my way home from my son’s basketball game. I had all my kids in our 12 passenger van, we had just grabbed some pizza and were headed home down Highway 161 toward Graham. By the time we had crested Graham Hill, the entire road was a thick layer of wet slush from the crazy weather we had all day. I noticed up ahead of us that the cars had come to a complete stop in the only lane down the hill. As I began to press the brakes, they locked up and my car began to slide. I had only a moment to think and then respond. I had all my kids in the van and I knew if I continued to slide I would rear end the long line of cars stopped in traffic. I decided to let go of the brake and try to make a right hand turn onto a side street. As I turned the vehicle, I began to slide even more toward the irrigation ditch on the side of the road with no use of my brakes. At this point I told the kids to hold on and to pray. I hit an embankment stopping the momentum of the van abruptly. The van began to roll to its left side and I was sure we were going to topple but, incredibly, the van stopped tipping abruptly as if something grabbed the right side of the van and pushed it down. Everyone was okay except for a few bruises and a cut. I tried to put the van in reverse but it would not move. I jumped out of the van to survey the damage and when I got to the passenger side I realized that we had hit a steel pole and the van had actually suspended the entire passenger side up on the pole (see picture) at least 12 inches off the ground. I had all the kids jump out of the van and get to safety on the side of the road. The pole had positioned itself between the gas tank and the side of the frame (no damage to anything). Within just a few minutes a friend of ours from church and a completely other friend from the wrestling league who happened to be heading home pulled up to see how we were doing. Both who were had been just a few minutes behind us going in the same direction (coincidence? I think not). My kids were able to rest safely in our church friend’s car while I called a tow truck and dealt with insurance and, once traffic died down and the roads were clear, she was able to take them home while my other friend from wrestling helped get stranded cars to the side of the road and be sure everyone had made their phone calls. During the first ten minutes of being stranded, another truck skidded into a ditch and a young gal hit that truck then completely lost control and spun down the road three times before slamming into another truck waiting to turn into traffic from the street I had attempted to turn into before I hit the embankment and pole. The significance of this was the truck that the young gal slammed into was positioned in such a way that, had it not been there, she would have slammed into our van completely totaling it. The truck she hit had only a small dent and busted taillight. Everyone involved was completely safe and sound and walked away from the accident. I spent the next two hours speaking with fire department, state patrol, insurance agents and tow truck companies. I finally made it home safely with time for dinner and tea with my wife.
As I reflected on this event, I could help but be overwhelmed by God’s goodness. What are the chances in rush hour traffic to have an accident where not just one but two separate people I know where within minutes of us passing on the same road? What are the chances of hitting that pole in just the perfect spot saving our van from tipping over on its side? And furthermore, what are the chances of said pole positioning itself in such a way that no damage was done to exhaust system gas tank or anything else on the underside of the car? What are the chances that the damage was so minimal (considering) that I was able to drive it down to the local repair shop? What are the chances that said repair shop was able to get the van in that day and do the work for $400 dollars less than the original quote due to a vehicle waiting on parts? They were going to send employees home due to no work. What are the chances that we walked away virtually unharmed and I was able to assist in helping that poor young gal who slid out down the road get to safety? The list goes on.
I felt in this moment the protection, provision, grace and love of our great God. At first I was very upset with myself for the cost and inconvenience I caused our family, transportation and finances. But, as I stood back for a moment, I realized I had experienced God in a way that many people tend to miss due to circumstances. God is involved in everything; I mean EVERYTHING. Even when the circumstance isn’t ideal or there is pain or suffering, there he is in the middle of it. He is good, he is holy, he is caring and he is present. As the human race we need to open our eyes and look around at our life and I guarantee we will experience our God like we never have before.