All he could hear was the shrill ringing in his ears. There was no other noise. Everything was muffled and quiet like the sound of being underwater. Except that ringing. He stuck his finger in his ear, attempting to wiggle out the uncomfortably high pitch hum.
Smoke drifted around him. He batted at the hazy, gray cloud, and his eyes finally focused. Up until this point, Robert had no clue where he was. Now, he could see a shattered steering wheel with a deflated airbag pouring onto his lap. He was in his car, but he did not understand what just happened.
He thought for a moment about how his day started so beautifully. He had stepped outside onto his balcony where the sun was shining and the weather was perfect. So much so that he consciously noticed it. It was one of those days where everything makes sense and unfolds exactly as you want it. Everybody Robert crossed paths with seemed especially friendly.
As dinner time approached, Robert’s wife commented that she really didn’t feel like cooking because she was tired. They both figured that fast food from down the street would suffice, and Robert was more than happy to pick up dinner.
Just stay in tonight, Robert felt. It was almost as if the phrase came from inside of him. He ignored it.
“Sure, hon’, whatever sounds good to you,” she said in response to Robert’s prompting to have something from nearby.
“I’m not really sure what to eat. Does anything in particular seem appetizing?” Robert persisted.
“Oh, it doesn’t matter.” It almost seemed as if she was confirming the feeling that Robert had about not going out. He ignored it again.
“Alright. Well, I’ll figure something out,” he said as he whisked his keys from the key holder. “I’ll be back shortly.”
Robert noticed the sun was still shining brilliantly, even though it was about 7:00pm. He enjoyed those summer evenings that stretched a little longer. As he walked outside, he still had the feeling he should stay home, but for some reason, he kept suppressing it and slid into his car anyway.
He pulled into a drive-thru that was just a few minutes from their house. Tacos sounded good. Robert thanked the lady at the window as she handed him the food.
The trip hadn’t taken any longer than 10 minutes, and he was already headed back home. He quickly glanced at the speedometer, 50 miles per hour. The orange sun was in front of him, but it wasn’t low enough to cause a glare. “What a lovely day,” Robert reflected.
Right before he passed through an intersection, his light being green, he saw a red truck driving straight toward him. The driver ran a red light trying to make a left-hand turn. In that split second, Robert had enough time to think, I’m going to die! and then pop the car into first gear and brace for impact. For a brief moment before colliding, a bright, white light flashed radiantly.
Then, only the sound of screaming tires and crushing metal permeated the air. His car halted, filling with smoke.
Suddenly, Robert recovered from his daze. Seeing the deployed airbags and obliterated glass, he remembered that he needed to hurry out of the car. His seat belt still held him in place. Tapping his hands all over his body, he checked to see if something had punctured him. He was stunned, but all he could think was, Get out! The car could be on fire!
Grabbing for the door handle, he frantically tried to open the door. It wouldn’t budge. He was trapped.
Robert peered through the window at the crowd that had started to form on the sidewalks of the intersection. It all seemed like slow motion. He read their lips, “…going to die.” Other spectators pointed and clasped their hands to their mouths in apparent fear of the billowing cloud escaping his car. Their lips screamed silently, “His car is going to catch fire!”
Nobody moved an inch toward him.
He curled his arm and wildly slammed his elbow into the window. No use.
Still, the crowd stared on. Five minutes had passed since colliding with the red truck. What would normally seem like an insignificant amount time, now felt like hours were ticking by. “Why isn’t anybody helping me?” Robert wondered as he frantically looked around, trying to find something to break him free. He didn’t know how much time he had before the gas would catch fire and the car would detonate.
Suddenly, he remembered his portable bike rack that often occupied the back of his car. As he reached for it, he heard a muffled voice yelling, “Get back! Get back!” A short, petite, pregnant woman was urgently tapping on his passenger window with a tire wrench.
Before Robert had time to comprehend that somebody had actually emerged from the crowds to help, glass was flying through his car. “Grab my hand!” she cried, as she stretched her dainty hand through the now broken window. At that moment, three other people ran over to assist in pulling him out of the car. Just then, sirens screamed through the streets. Robert caught a glimpse of flashing lights as the four people quickly heaved him from the smoking car.
Robert sat as paramedics wrapped his leg because of a laceration that was really no more than a scratch. He didn’t completely understand why all the extra effort had to be done; he figured he could just put a Band-Aid on it. The paramedic checked his eyes. They looked fine. Other than the scratch on his leg, he was covered in bruises, but nothing major. Robert felt the pressure release on his arm as the EMT read his blood pressure. 120/80. Perfect. “Let me take it one more time,” said the paramedic.
Robert retorted, “Why? Isn’t that normal?”
“Yeah, it’s normal, but not for that.”
“Not for what?”
Another paramedic asked him for the sixth time, “Are you positive you feel okay? We’ve never seen anybody walk away with that much damage to a car.”
Robert glanced at his crushed vehicle. The front end was nearly in the cabin. The car looked more like a smashed soda can.
“You’re lucky,” said the paramedic.
“I think the word you mean is blessed,” Robert responded.
“Brother, you’ve been protected by the almighty hand of God,” reckoned a tall gentlemen who had witnessed the entire accident.
Robert spotted the pregnant woman speaking with an officer. Walking over to her, he assured her that she was now his hero.
“I only did what needed to be done,” Candice responded with humility.
“Well, God used you to save my life today.” Robert, a devotee of the Rock Church, loved giving glory to God whenever possible, especially because it would often provide an opportunity for him to share the love of Christ with those that don’t know Him, and invite them to church.
He then concluded that it’s often the last person you would expect that helps us the most. He told Candace that he would have never expected that out of all those people standing on the sidewalks staring, that a small, pregnant woman would come to his rescue..
“Candace, maybe that’s why everything happened today the way it did,” he said. “Maybe the collision happened so I could let you know that that is exactly what God is saying to you. When all else seems hopeless, God will come crashing in and ask for your hand. When you are unable to do anything on your own, He will come through.”
Candice received Christ as her savior. Her entry into the family of God has been a difficult one, however. She could use your prayers.
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