Close calls

The wreck closed the interstate for hours. Photo by Jessica Brodie.

The wreck closed the interstate for hours. Photo by Jessica Brodie.

By Jessica Brodie

It was like a scene from an action movie, only I was watching it through the car rearview mirror.

Yards behind us, a huge motorhome had swerved to avoid a collision and then flipped into the air, tumbling multiple times over the guardrail on the interstate before landing in a tattered heap of metal debris. It came to rest across two lanes of the highway, the end dangling precariously off the road over the riverbank below.

For a moment, time stood still. Had this truly happened? Was I dreaming?

Then came a frenzy of dazed action—pulling over. Making sure everyone in our car was OK. Calling 911.

“It’s the worst accident I’ve ever witnessed,” I remember telling dispatch. “I’m certain there are injuries, maybe even dead.”

And we’d missed it by yards. Talk about a close call.

I prayed as I walked to the scene of the accident, ready to jump in with first aid if needed or hold someone’s hand until proper help arrived. The sharp stench of gasoline filled the air and I shivered, wondering how close was too close, yet knowing I had to help.

But fire and rescue crews arrived, and I couldn’t get around the debris to the other side, so I just stood and prayed for a miracle, hoping and pleading with all my might that God would be with them all.

This story has a happy ending. I’m not sure how or why except for the grace of God, but the driver of that motorhome was transported to the hospital with only minor injuries. No one else was hurt, or worse. No other cars were damaged. Forty gallons of diesel spilled onto the roadway, but not one drop of it got into the river. God’s hand had surely been on that stretch of interstate that Sunday evening—upon that driver, upon the cars around him, upon our own car just ahead.

Still, remembering how close that airborne motorhome had appeared in the rearview, I felt sick to my stomach. With one swerve on a busy highway, we’d come so close to devastation and pain. It had happened so fast, without warning.

That night I hugged my kids extra hard, kissed them fiercely, and thanked God for sparing us and everyone else who’d been there.

But isn’t it that way every day? It shouldn’t take a scary accident on the interstate to remind me of this. Every day could be our last on earth. We are reminded of this throughout Scripture: “You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes,” says James 4:14 (ESV), and in Acts 1:7, Jesus reminds his apostles, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”

Our days are filled with close calls. And one day will be THE day, when we step from this world into the next.

I pray I remember that and live every day as if it were my last, loving God and others as best as I can. Ready for Jesus.

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