Surprise; an intermezzo blog

IMG_2219I was composing Sunday’s blog on Prayer as a Mark of a Man (or Woman) of God, so this is an intermezzo blog this Wednesday. You see, life has a way of throwing surprises at us when we expect normal events. Anita’s comment afterward was, “Well, I’m glad I did not kill us this time.” 

As Anita and I drove to Iowa on Monday, January 12, I was working on the blog for this Sunday. While there were piles of snow all around us from the weekend storms that had blown through the Midwest, the big roadways were completely clear and dry. We have very good snow-removal teams, especially in areas like northern Illinois and Iowa, where they are accustomed to seeing lots of snow in winter. So Anita took the wheel and I opened my computer.

As we were driving the speed limit, 70 miles per hour (~110km/hr), the “cruise control” was set to maintain the constant speed. Along the way we had noted six different cars sitting at various angles off the side of the road or in the median strip of grass, now covered with snow. These were “leftovers” from the weekend, folks who had run off the road in the storm, and had not retrieved their cars yet.

We reached one of the many flat expanses in northern Illinois, where the wheat, barley and hay fields seem to go on forever. A sign along the road read, “High Wind Area” which meant the winds of the plains would sweep across the highway and could affect the stability of one’s driving. While we felt some light winds, nothing really strong buffeted our car.

But . . . ahead in the medial strip we saw a seventh car facing the “wrong way” with tracks in the snow showing he had skidded from our side of the road, and turned around in the snow as he slid off the roadway. Blowing snow had covered the inside lane on our side of the road. Though no longer blowing, there it was, light snow all over our lane! We were just passing a 65 mph semi-trailer and Anita over-cautiously pulled to the left to keep a wide distance away from him. I immediately saw the danger – she was going to miss the tracks that most traffic in our lane had made through the snow and put her left tire in the deeper snow next to the medial strip! By the time I could warn her to stay in the tracks, we were feeling the pull of the snow under the left tires dragging us into the median.

To avoid this, she turned sharply to the right and skidded in front of the semi-truck! The skilled professional driver had seen this coming and was substantially slowing in his clear lane. I grabbed the steering wheel and reversed her sharp right to approximately center to avoid flipping the car and said, “Don’t BRAKE!” afraid that she would panic and slam on the brake, which could also have flipped the car or put us in the way of the truck. But the cruise control was still set for 70, and we began “fish-tailing” on the snow and now slickened tires. I spoke out loud to the LORD, “Oh, God, please help us,” realizing there was no time to instruct Anita on how to pull out of the fishtail nor to turn off the cruise control.

This was not the scream of someone facing impending danger. This was just a simple request to someone who daily talks with me, and I with Him. I know Him, and I knew that when we were out of control, He could step in with universal controls. He can change water to wine, make the deaf hear and open blinded eyes, feed 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish; He can walk on water and command wind and waves to obey His voice. Needless to say, I was afraid, but not with terror of one who does not know what will happen; just the discomfort of one who does not know exactly what He, my Father, will do. But with full confidence that He owns my life, and that what Lane Martin said was true: “Nothing happens TO a Christ-follower; filtered by His love, it only happens FOR us.”

Count three seconds: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand.

IMG_2217In less than three seconds from when we first touched the snow, we were flying off the right side of the highway, the car was skiing into deep snow, and without speaking, my prayers were for no huge boulders to block us, or drop-offs that would roll the car. The snow enveloped us like angel dust, obscuring our view of the field ahead, and eventually blocking the right side doors. We sunk into the drift without a sound except for the car’s engine. I spoke first, “We’re okay, dear.”

We had arrived at this resting point without any loud bangs against rocks, and only the “swoosh” of the snow settling around us. The passenger side was completely blocked, as was the driver’s door, but the rear left door was openable with some push against the snow. Thanx to modern technology, a quick call to 911, and assurances that no one was injured, a state police officer was dispatched and arrived within 20 minutes, followed shortly by a tow truck who winched us out of the snow.

IMG_2227With no damage to the car, we could easily finish our drive, only delayed about 45 minutes! Any number of “natural” explanations could minimize our miracle. But when you think about the thousands of ways this story could have ended with us in the hospital or in Heaven, and the very narrow window of how a car zooming 70 mph could go off the highway, avoid a semi, and land with no damage to the car or occupants . . . we live in His grace, and His miraculous Hand takes care of us in every situation.

As to why this would happen? Maybe for the brief interchange I had between the officer or the tow truck driver; or the couple of people at the next truck stop where I shared our story; or so I could share this with you, that He works miracles for any who call on His name. Check out Hebrews 11 for heroes of faith, some who saw great miracles, but some suffered torture and even death. So we are thankful for our “miracle” rescue, but we trust Him no matter what would have been the outcome, and no matter what or when the next surprise comes at us.

Jesus at the wheel

10 thoughts on “Surprise; an intermezzo blog

  1. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
    Because He lives, all fear is gone;
    Because I know He holds the future,
    And life is worth the living,
    Just because He lives!

    God is good! 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I am grateful you were unharmed and appreciate the reminder of God’s providential care.


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