It would actually be just fine with me if I never had the opportunity to write about another wreck that any of my children have been in. And yet I find myself again staring at a computer screen and fingers typing as I quote the horrifying words from my wife's frantic phone call just a few days ago, "Honey, Aléthia's been in a wreck. She is OK, but she flipped the Yukon. You need to get there quick."
My children are actually relatively calm, careful drivers. I know this both because the officer informed me that she was not speeding and because of our "spy app" (my children's semi-sarcastic name for it) that allows us to track their phones and even informs us of how they drive. And yet for the second time in as many months, I found myself heading to a crash site.
And this one was bad.
I arrived to find the Yukon up on its driver's side, and I was looking at its underbelly. One of the wheels, rim ripped to shreds, was lying across the road. Glass was everywhere. The vehicle was so badly flattened that I could not believe she even survived. She had gotten a wheel off the road just a bit, and the recent heavy rains had washed the ground away so badly that it jerked her into a sign, and she instinctively yanked the wheel the other way, overcorrecting and sending the vehicle into a barrel roll.
She was wearing a seatbelt, as always; otherwise she would have been ejected from the vehicle, along with most everything else.
Having already spoken to the EMTs on the phone, I knew she was physically safe. Having spoken to her, I also knew she was frantic. So I calmly opened the back of the ambulance and said, "Hey, babe, what's up? I see the vehicle has had a bit of trouble. No worries; I have some touch-up paint that color at home."
The EMTs laughed, Aléthia did just a little bit too, then she cried onto my shoulder as I hugged her and assured her everything would be OK. The vehicle itself has, how shall we say, "assumed room temperature." Our trusty workhorse is dead. Really dead. But my daughter is alive, and I have God and prayer to thank for it.
Before she left home that morning, as we always do, we hugged her and prayed over her, specifically asking God to keep her safe on the road. And he did so in so many very specific ways, including the fact that the vehicle "just happened" to land with the driver's door straddling a tiny ditch, giving her just enough room to crawl out through the busted window and escape the vehicle. One foot difference in either direction and she would not have been able to get out at all.
Did prayer do that? Well, let me give you a few more details. Three days before that time, a pastor and family friend of ours had a dream that she had been in a wreck, a dream that prompted him to stop and pray for her. Just a few days before that, a missionary of ours had come up to the church and, finding us away at the time, spent a while praying over each of us by name, that God would keep us safe.
It's interesting to consider that, isn't it? The God who could simply not let the wreck happen instead moves people to pray, and then protects her through the wreck. You see, if, hypothetically, God simply made all bad things stop happening, we would never even know it — nor would we ever even know him. We would not even know that we need to know him, since life would be "perfect." But in this fallen, cursed world, a world that is dangerous and often dirty and violent because we humans invited sin and harm into it, God instead gives us access to the throne of God to pray for anything and everything. And while he will not simply "stop anything bad from ever happening," He often very specifically both moves people to pray, and then answers those prayers, letting us know that he is there for us no matter what we ever go through.
Moms and dads, hug your children tightly, and pray over them every single day. And be very sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as well. Those random thoughts, dreams, feelings that come over your heart, things that you come across along the way, they are quite often God's way of subtly calling you to intercede on the behalf of others. Just one day after my daughter's wreck, I passed another bad wreck, and immediately began to pray for whoever was in it and for the medical workers attending to him. I prayed for him on and off for several hours, then got a phone call from a church member asking me to pray for his nephew who had been in a bad wreck.
Yes, that was him that I had already been praying for. And he is going to be fine.
There is a God in heaven, and therefore the most important thing we can ever do is pray.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.