By Nicole Smith
It was Friday afternoon after my son’s first-grade orientation. Excited about the upcoming school year, we decided to toast the occasion with an ice cream celebration. As we drove home a thunderous, metal-crushing impact spun our world out of control … literally!
“What happened?” screamed Chandler. I had no clue, and didn’t have time to figure it out. I worked furiously to control the uncontrollable. I hit the brakes and gripped the steering wheel with all of my might as we headed over the steep embankment.
“We’re going to die! We’re going to die!” Chandler shrieked in terror.
“No we’re not,” I quickly assured him, though the outcome looked somber. It happened so quickly, the impact so forceful and the embankment too steep. I desperately tried to navigate thousands of pounds of propelled steel that seemed destined to flip, roll and burst into flames.
We braced for the worst. Then suddenly it all stopped. We were still, though precariously positioned on the hillside. I turned off the ignition, terrified of a fire. Chandler was still crying out in fear.
Though he was just behind me, he seemed so far away. I had to get him out. But how could I do it safely in such an unstable situation? Instinct kicked in.
I cautiously opened my door, placing one foot on the ground to stabilize the van. Chandler was downhill, still paralyzed with fear. Though my heart raced wildly, my voice was calm and stern as I instructed him to unbuckle and climb uphill out of the driver-side passenger door.
Eyes filled with tenuous trust, he bravely did as he was told. He slipped and struggled as he made his way uphill to the safety of the open door and onto solid ground with me.
He was safe. I could breathe again.
Then the tears came, hard and fast. I looked around, shocked, shaken and in a total state of confusion. The reality of what just happened, of what should have happened, hitting brutally hard. The van should have been crushed like a tin can. It wasn’t. Chandler and I shouldn’t have been able walk away. We did.
“Are you okay?” a familiar voice asked. “Are you both okay?” Looking up I was surprised to find our babysitter Rebekah. I wasn’t sure how to answer her question, I didn’t even know who or what hit us.
Unbelievably, Rebekah had witnessed the whole thing! Another motorist had run a red light and smashed into us causing the accident.
The rest of the afternoon, as I gave police statements and filled out the necessary “paperwork,” she was there for us. She comforted Chandler as only someone who knew and loved him could. Another in this series of lucky coincidences. Or, so I thought.
Looking back, I realize the circumstances and even the people who played such key roles in the aftermath of our wreck were not merely coincidences. They were God-sends. Though the situation was out of my control, he was in control. There are no coincidences. We can find God’s presence even in our worst moments, if we take the time to look for him.