The new fall 2015 season had begun, and we three “choir sisters” were excited to be traveling together again.
*Sheila was driving and *Ginger was in the front passenger seat. I was in the back seat, looking through my music. *Names changed for privacy.
I rarely get to ride with other ladies in our Singing ChurchWomen of Oklahoma Choir, since I often stay overnight with a friend who lives near our concert venue. This evening’s concert, however, was at South Tulsa Baptist Church, only an hour from me, so I was happy to have company for this trip.
There were over 400 ladies, and several gentlemen, who play in our orchestra, and our Director, Dr. Randy Lind, traveling to Tulsa from all across Oklahoma. I was slated to sing a solo (a duet with my friend, Richelle Helbig) on a song we’d all come to love: I Will Not Be Shaken, written by Tommy Walker. My husband, children, and parents were actually coming, so I was especially excited!
It was a beautiful, sunny day when we left Tahlequah. Soon after getting on the Muskogee Turnpike, the sky darkened and it began raining — pouring, that is. I immediately looked up, and prayed a quick but sincere prayer — out loud.
“Lord, Jesus, please protect us. Send Your angels to protect everyone traveling to this concert tonight!”
The deluge of heavy rain and ominous skies came suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. Visibility decreased to only about twenty feet, and we were suddenly frightened like small children during a thunderstorm.
No sooner than the words left my mouth, Sheila tapped on the brakes to slow down, and to disengage the cruise control. Immediately we began twisting back and forth, jerking right and left. She did all she could, but the vehicle was hydroplaning and out of her control.
I cried out from the back seat, “JESUS! Help us, Jesus!”
I clenched my eyes shut and bowed my head, anticipating shattering glass. I continued crying out to the Lord as we rammed into something on the left side (where I was sitting). The car kept spinning, ramming both sides into (we learned later) the concrete barrier in the middle of the highway.
As we kept being lifted off the ground, my biggest fear was that it would flip over. My left shoulder kept slamming into the door, and I was expecting my window or the windshield to break with every impact.
When the vehicle finally stopped, I opened my eyes. I immediately asked Sheila and Ginger if they were hurt, and grateful to realize that we were each (for the moment) just sore — but all conscious, no blood, and no broken bones!!
Incredibly, our vehicle landed facing forward, on the right shoulder — not in the middle of the lane, right-side up, and out of harm’s way! We left the ground and hit the barrier so many times, we could have flipped over the median and landed into oncoming traffic! But God’s angels were most certainly carrying us, and placed our vehicle strategically where we landed! Praise the name of Jesus!!!
Apparently, God’s angels can fly faster than an out-of-control, hydroplaning vehicle, and make sure it lands where it needs to deliver His children.
We each found our cell phones, and I volunteered to call 911 for help. They offered to send an ambulance, but we declined — assuring them we didn’t need to go to a hospital. Sheila called her insurance company, who sent a tow truck. Sheila and Ginger each called family members to come take them home, emotionally shaken (as we each were) and sore from seat belt bruises.
Sheila’s vehicle was totaled… but we were alive!
I called my stepdad to come get me, and take me on to the rehearsal and concert in Tulsa. I hated to back out of my first solo of the season, so I took three Ibuprofen for the increasing all-over body pain, and went on.
When I got out of the vehicle, I looked back at the highway and concrete barrier where we’d just survived those harrowing moments. There were three long streaks of white paint on the barrier, where our car had collided three times. The first streak of paint on the barrier was approximately one hundred feet back from where we finally landed!
Ginger and I both had called some of our choir sisters and also our director, to let them know what happened. We learned later that all 400 people stopped their rehearsal and began to pray for us!
When I walked — very slowly — into our rehearsal two hours later, my dear sisters and brothers in Christ began to stand up and applaud to the Lord for His protection and mercy!! I couldn’t hold back the tears! A short time later, we were rehearsing the song, “I Will Not Be Shaken”, through many more tears!
The powerful lyrics, based upon scriptures in Psalm 18 and Psalm 116, came to life as I, along with my 400 sisters in Christ, sang them that day — and that night at the concert.
“He is my fortress, my high tower; He’s my deliverer, so strong! The snares of death, they were surrounding me, but He heard my cry for help!” [Words and music by Tommy Walker and Jacob Park. © Copyright 2008 McKinney Music, Inc. (BMI) (admin. by LifeWay Worship c/o Music Services, www.musicservices.org)/JP Medic Music]
In my distress I called upon the Lord... I cried for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry...reached His ears. Psalm 18:6 #inspiringhopeblog #GodHearsHisChildren Click To Tweet
The day after the accident, I woke up in severe pain all over my body. Consulting my husband and a couple of trusted friends and prayer warriors, I agreed to go to the hospital to get checked out. I ended up the following Monday at the chiropractor’s office, where she did an X-ray and exam. Her words (and my pain) were a reminder of what I (and my two friends) had been through — and yet — how God delivered us from a more serious fate.
“Your spine looks like you’ve been through a car crash at sixty miles per hour!”
That began about three months of therapy. I missed some work (the first couple of weeks), and it took a lot of time out of my schedule to go to the chiropractor 2-3 times a week. The fact that we all lived (and didn’t suffer life-threatening or permanently debilitating injuries) reminds me that God did hear our prayers, and that He did protect us!
What if we didn’t have the help of God and His angels? What if….?
Here’s what I know for sure. Everyone goes through suffering in life. Christians and non-Christians alike will face trials, death, heartache, sickness, family issues, financial challenges, etc. Our family is no different, in that regard. We’ve suffered through divorce, infidelity, early and tragic death of loved ones, including our own son, by suicide, in 2014, job loss, humiliation, rebellious children, false accusations, and plenty of financial challenges.
However, there is a stark difference between suffering under the watchful care and protection of God through a personal relationship with Jesus, or suffering all alone – with no supernatural intervention or help from our loving Creator.
Psalm 32 describes an accurate account of what life is like when we try to hide from God, thinking we can hide our sins from Him, and stubbornly run our own lives without His help. It also describes the blessing, joy and peace of finally surrendering to Him and being forgiven.
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And You forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to You while You may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes [pain, trouble] of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Are you wrestling in your soul right now?
Let me tell you (from personal experience, and also the truths of God’s Word in the Bible) that running from God makes you feel like a caged animal. Though we all suffer bumps and bruises from life on this earth (emotional, mental, and/or physical), God provides refuge and strength, blessing and favor to those who belong to and trust in Him.
Like I’ve told my children before: There is great benefit in being part of the family of God. He’s our Father, and He takes care of us. Just as it’s my responsibility and privilege to take care of, provide for, guide and protect my own children (but not someone else’s kids who live on the next block), we also have God’s promise of provision, wise guidance, protection, love and forgiveness, nurturing, loving correction and “belonging” to God through His Son, our Savior, Jesus.
We don’t have to live this life –or the next– alone! Satan, who rebelled against God (wanting to be “god” himself), hates God’s creation — especially humans, since we are made in the image and likeness of God. The Bible calls Satan our adversary, the accuser, a deceiver, the enemy of our souls, evil, prideful, and doomed. His days are numbered!
Satan’s job is to deceive us, tempt us, harass and torment us, and to distract us away from God and the truth that will set us free and bless our lives. We cannot defeat him without the help of the Holy Spirit of God and the truths found only in the Bible. Jesus Himself said in John 10:10: “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (abundant life).”
By God’s grace, my eyes have been opened, and I have come to understand this truth:
We were each created by a loving God, Who desires a close, intimate relationship with each one of us. Only within that loving relationship with our Creator do we discover the joy, peace, love, purpose and passion to live this life (and eternity) to the fullest.
God is my Heavenly Father. His Holy Spirit is with me (and all who follow Christ), staying “closer than a brother”, the Bible says. He speaks to me, He guides my steps and my decisions, and has blessed me and my family immeasurably. He has healed me numerous times of broken hearts, mental anguish, physical ailments, and broken relationships. I have witnessed miracles before my very eyes, around the world and right here in my own family.
God is here for you, too… arms open wide. Are you ready? Here’s help.
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