Accidental Encounters


While on vacation this past week I was sharing with a young friend about God’s timing in our lives and the junction of “chance” encounters with others whose flights are also on God’s radar screen. Though airplanes on a collision course would spell disaster, when God designs our travel plans, amazing things happen, even through accidents.

When David and I were first married and living in Kentucky, I was invited by a church, located on Cape Cod, to present a program at a mother/daughter dinner. Since David was still in college and had a part-time job, I drove alone to New England.

I was not in the habit of using a seat-belt, but David had put a note on the dashboard that read, “Please wear your seatbelt for me.” I complied out of respect for him, even though he was not with me. I believe now, looking back, that God motivated both David’s gesture of protective love and my response of respect, to save my life.

Somewhere northeast of New York City on Rt. 95, my car stalled in the passing lane – I did not have enough speed to cross over to the right-side shoulder of the highway. There was no shoulder on the left, only a concrete barrier. As my car slowed to a stop, I put on my flashers. It was mid-afternoon in bright sunlight, so not easy for vehicles approaching from the rear to see my car in time to change lanes easily.

Several cars got around me, then one car clipped my rear passenger side while attempting to change lanes; that car spun around and was hit by a motorcycle. The next car in line had no place to go except into the rear of my car.

After the sounds of screeching tires and metal hitting metal and shattering glass ceased, and the traffic behind came to a stop, I shakily got out of my car and sat on the concrete divider, glad to be alive. Had I not been wearing my seatbelt I have no doubt that I would have been seriously injured.

The young woman whose car had clipped mine while changing lanes was a Christian. We had a quick word of prayer together, thanking God that no one had been seriously injured.

The ambulances arrived and the EMTs insisted that we all be taken to the emergency room of the nearest hospital, where I was admitted for overnight observation due to a partial memory loss. I also sustained whiplash.

My roommate was a young married woman who had been in the hospital for several days to determine the cause of her back pain. After running tests, the doctors had concluded the pain was psychosomatic, caused by emotional stress. My roommate had marital problems, augmented by interference from her over-involved mother. She was thinking of legal separation and possibly divorce.

I asked for permission to share my personal testimony of God’s grace and love that had changed both my life and my husband’s life. She gave me permission to do so.

Later that night she said, “I need what you’ve been talking about.” I led her in prayer to begin a personal journey with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

The next morning her husband came to visit. My roommate excused herself for the bathroom and I began to share the Lord with her spouse. He stopped me and said, “I came to the Lord last night with the help of my friend in whose apartment I have been staying.” I told him that his wife had something to share with him. They went for a brief walk in the hospital corridor.

When they returned to the hospital room, they sat on the edge of the bed and the wife said to me, “We feel so responsible for your accident.” And we all had a joyous laugh.

I heard from that couple about six months later in a Christmas card. It read, “We have moved away from my mother and live in upstate New York. Our marriage has never been as happy as now.”

There is a sequel to this story. Twenty-plus years later I was invited to speak at a women’s brunch in Vermont. A woman approached me at my table and asked if I had been involved in an auto accident in New York on Rt. 95 some years before. I replied that I had. She said, “I am the woman who shared the hospital room with you. I didn’t know who was speaking here today – I came because my mother-in-law invited me. I saw your name on the program and then recognized you.”

When I inquired about how she was doing and how her marriage was, she said her marriage was very good and then added that she and her husband were involved in ministry. I asked what that ministry was. “We are commissioned as official church-visitors.” she said, “We visit people in the hospital, and pray with them.” I got thrill-chills.

When we commit our lives to a love relationship with God and to declare that love to others, our Father then commits Himself to us to co-ordinate all our travel plans – destinations, arrivals, and encounters along the way.

What God-timing story do you have to share? Let’s hear it. We need to build each others’ faith. I may even invite you to do a guest blog.

©2011, Marcy Alves

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About Marcy

I love my Father-God. Together we are walking through a season of my life where I am standing with him against cancer. He is my strength and trust. As one of his daughters, my passion is to share his love with others in practical, everyday illustrations and insights.

Posted on June 4, 2011, in God Encounters and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’m grateful to not only have a Father like the One you describe. I’m grateful to have a wife who knows his ways and loving oversight. You’re always in his hand wherever and whenever you go.
    Thankful to have you as my best friend and wife.

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