I’m confident she was trying to kill herself that night. And the more I consider the circumstances, the more confident I become. There was nothing about her actions or location that made sense. It was like she had made up her mind to do it. She was resolute and determined. And Christmas Eve was the day she chose. For herself. And almost for my husband and I.
Of course seeing her in the middle of a dark country road with no street lights was nothing that my family expected. No. We were just innocently driving home from our candlelight Christmas Eve service getting ready to meet my family for dinner and presents. We were like a sweet scene from a Christmas movie as music and laughter filled our van until her frail frame suddenly appeared out of darkness. Then it was like a bad scene from a movie as we all screamed in unison as my husband swerved to try and miss her.
Being in the passenger seat, I got a head on view of her. She was dead ahead of me. If we had gone two inches less to the left, her body would have come through the windshield toward me. But all I saw was her looking down at her phone with earbuds in her ears. I think she waited until she saw we couldn’t swerve too much because we would have hit the car in the other lane. The feel of her stance was eerie. She didn’t even show fear.
It was as if she had chosen her death song and made up her mind. And she wasn’t even going to look at our van as we hit her. She didn’t even flinch as we screeched and swerved to avoid taking her life. She just kept walking. In the center of the lane. Surrounded by darkness. Waiting for another car to come as we kept driving in a stunned and shaken state. I’m sure she was disappointed. But also relieved.
It still makes me feel unsettled just to remember. She was so very young. Why was she not with her family that Christmas Eve? I called the police as soon as it happened and never heard that anyone was hit. My husband and I wanted to turn around and try and help her. But were scared she might jump out in front of us again.
Oh how that night could have been different. Oh how our Christmas Eve was almost turned to ruin. It’s sickening to consider. But it wasn’t.
Instead, we continued driving and headed to our family’s house. And after about 30 minutes, we forgot about our her. And were able to open presents. And be surprised and delighted by the joy that is Christmas with family.
But after we got home, my husband and I just couldn’t stop feeling like something significant had happened to us that night. And not because we killed someone on accident on our way home from church.
But because we didn’t.
We were shielded that night. It was obvious God intervened on that road. And who was it that he was protecting? Was it us? Was it her? Or was it both?
I guess I will never know exactly. But I know this, I am grateful for what HE did that night. And I can’t help but consider all the times he’s intervened on my behalf just the same. And possibly just as important. It’s just that most of the time, I don’t see a girl in front of my windshield seconds from being hit.
But the implications of the things he is shielding me from may have just as serious an impact on my life. I just can’t vividly see how greatly God is protecting me because instead of the intervention being before my eyes, the protection is behind the scenes.
How many times a week does God’s hand of protection quickly sweep in and hold back something from getting me, but most of the time, it’s when I’m innocently unaware there is anything even at risk. I’m laughing and singing like we were in the van that night, but so often, the singing never stops because he never lets it get to the point that I realized I am headed down the wrong path. He just redirects me behind the scenes.
How often are we praying for things or longing for things that we so desperately think are the things we NEED, just for him to sweep in and protect us from the things we should never be longing for?
How often are we the girl in the road longing for something we think is the answer? Or the cure? Just for God to say, “Oh, no. That is NOT my will, sweet child. And I will not let that happen to you. I love you too much.”
How often are we the family in the van innocently plunging forward toward some innocent goal or dream. But God stops us in our tracks and changes our direction before we make a big mistake maybe by closing a door we want open or by making something jump out and force us to change our path? And while we end up confused by what just happened, God knows He’s ahead of us directing us toward where we really need to go.
Friends, tonight if you read this wondering if God really cares for you, if God really has your back, if God hears your prayers because you are longing for something that JUST isn’t happening…I hope you will know and believe that there is a God that goes before you. A God of infinite WISDOM and LOVE that directs our paths exactly where He wants us to go.
And when we follow him, we are always safely led home to Him. And as we truly take a moment to reflect on that reality, may we never pray for anything less than HIS will.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3: 5-6