Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, “I will make you wise and show you where to go. I will guide you and watch over you.”
But God saved me
Shutterstock: Lukas Gojda
The sun was beaming across the Laurel Mountains of Western Pennsylvania as I cruised the Turnpike on my way to gather with a group of friends I had come to know intimately over the last two years only on Zoom. We all share a common disease and meet five mornings a week just as millions of others meet in a wide variety of other places and ways and who fight the same disease together. I had my ear buds in listening to someone share his story. I was in the far-left lane doing the speed limit of 70mph when suddenly I realized my car was veering to the right. I saw the rear corner of a trailer being towed by a pickup truck in the lane to my right coming at my car much too fast. I knew I needed to brake, yet my foot seemed stuck to the accelerator. I slammed into the trailer full force. My car caromed off the trailer and spun around. I braked, landed on the berm of the road, drove off to the center, and came to a stop all in a matter of nanoseconds. I unhooked my seat belt and got out of my car completely uninjured. I stood on the side of the highway holding my cell phone in a total daze. What just happened? I thought I was going to an event at the Jersey Shore. It turns out God had other plans.
The next several hours passed quickly and included State Police, talking with the pickup driver, seeing the damage to his trailer, riding in the tow truck that would haul my car to a nearby garage, and, most of all, getting in touch with all those people I was so anxious to see face-to-face after two years of wondering…. How tall is Sammy? Is Charlotte left-handed? What does Sylvia really look like all dressed up? Would I ever know? Over the next several hours, I sat in the garage waiting room, and I began to hear from all those Zoom connections. Word travels fast in that group. Harry, Vera, Betty, Bob, Carol, Henry, Alisa, James, Lucy, Murray, the list goes on (the names are changed to protect their anonymity). Some texted. Others made real phone calls. Some sent emails reminding me they loved me and were praying for me. Not even one said anything about my being foolish to try to drive alone the 5 ½ hours to the Jersey Shore. Never did anyone say I “should” have done anything any different. That’s not what happens with people like that. There is unconditional love and acceptance. There is complete trust in God. There is a knowledge that God has a plan for each of us and our job is to stay open to God’s plan however it comes and to trust whatever form it takes. Faith and trust in God always come first. The idea that my car was totaled, and I was left unhurt was part of a plan God has in mind for some reason. Now it remains my job to accept my circumstances, pay attention, stay willing to see what that might be. And these close “Zoom” friends where with me in spirit – unconditionally. I knew that right away. I wasn’t frightened.
I called my insurance company. As they walked me through the questions, it felt harmless and even blameless to a degree even though it was my car that went wrong, and I was at the wheel. No one else to lay any blame on. Arrangements for having the car towed from that small town an hour outside my city were made. I took a taxi back home. It cost $200.00.
The next day a friend drove me to a local hospital ER so I could get checked out. I was given lots of appropriate tests for internal bleeding, bruising, a CT scan with and w/o contrast. All testing came back negative. I was very fortunate. God has a plan, I know. However, I also know God does not necessarily reveal His plan on my time. God’s time and my time are inevitably quite different. Coming home from the hospital ER, I began to realize that none of it felt “real” to me. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have a car. My insurance had arranged for me to get a rental car, but when Enterprise called to make those arrangements, I told them I wasn’t ready. There was a part of me that didn’t want to drive. Not yet.
The shock or trauma was slow to wear off, but eventually I got the rental car. I didn’t drive much at first and our local weather patterns presented us with unseasonal snowfall that also kept me indoors. I used that time to contemplate what God’s plan might be for me. I have one big project that is ending, and I am looking forward to what I want to do next. I like to be busy and productive. I like to be connected to others and feel useful. I know that God knows that about me. One thing for certain is that I no longer refer to what happened as a car “Accident.” I feel it was a “God Experience” that happened to involve my car. In the couple of weeks following that day, I have gone through my small apartment and removed items that are no longer necessary to my life as it is today. I am making room for whatever God has in store for me. I rearranged some furniture, got rid of two pieces and lots of books and clothing that no longer fits. I found breathing room and wall space.
Isaiah 30:21 “If you go the wrong way – to the right or to the left – you will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the right way. You should go this way.”
I spend early morning time for about an hour and a half in prayer and meditation so I can stay close to God and available when He calls or opens a door, I’m ready. When Covid came and took over our lives in one way or another, it changed the way I lived in many ways including my decisions about being in groups or socializing at all. I find it difficult to return to any former patterns or make new ones. Hence, each new encounter is an opportunity to meet God in new ways and experience Gods gifts and His presence. I got a call yesterday from the insurance people telling me the amount of settlement for my car that was totaled. It is certainly a fair amount, and I could start to look for another car. I am not certain I want to do that right now. Maybe I’ll wait. Maybe I’ll wait and see what God has in mind for me next. I’m content that God’s plan for me doesn’t need flashing lights or a headline. I will stay Open and Willing. I sat in a meeting the other day – an in-person meeting – and raised my hand to say I would need a ride next week because I would no longer have a car. Afterward a woman came over and introduced herself to me and said she would love to offer to drive me. She is new to the area but lives near where I do. God’s plan can be walking down the street with New Life and Love in my Heart. Maybe that is Enough. Thank you, God.
2 Corinthians 3:18 “We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”