Monday, May 26, 2008

Computer, Crash, Crimescene

As I write this, I'm still picking out little shards of glass from my skin and clothes. The last thing I expected to see today was a car coming toward us, roof first, tumbling through the air above the traffic, but first maybe I'd better start from the beginning.

Last night our computer suffered a problem caused by operator error. (Of course, I can't say which operator that was for fear of reprisal.) We soon realized that the only way to fix it was to take it to a service center in Fresno. This would put our preparations for returning to Ukraine a bit behind schedule. I wasn't happy.

As I grumbled to myself going out the door this morning, Edna pointed something out. She said, "Maybe God has a purpose for this that we don't know about. Maybe there is somewhere God wants us to be today".

As we were just entering Fresno on Highway 99, I heard Edna gasp. I looked to my left and saw a white car tumbling through the air just above the oleander bushes. I pulled to the left and stopped at a break in the bushes. As Edna called 911, I jumped over the guard rails and crossed through the traffic. I was praying for whoever was in the car as I knew Edna and Joshua were also doing. I avoided the debris and scattered personal effects and tried to prepare myself for what I might find as the car came to rest on its wheels facing oncoming traffic.

As I approached the vehicle, my training as a First Responder took over. I say took over, because I didn't think about anything I was doing. It was all mechanical, something I had done before, nothing heroic. I checked for fuel, fire, and undeployed airbags as I assessed the condition of the woman in the car. Kim was on her way home from her daughter's graduation from Sacramento State University when a red car had struck her and caused her to hit the dirt embankment and become airborne. I sat with Kim just inside the door of her car holding her head to immobilize her spine. Despite the force of the accident, she appeared to have only minor injuries. I've been at the scene of fatalities where the vehicle involved had less damage than hers, yet here she sat, talking to me.

I prayed for her and tried to keep her talking as she shook uncontrollably from the shock that was setting in. I surveyed the damage to Kim's car and could see that the roof had collapsed to the level of the dash and seats, except where she was sitting. I noticed a cross hanging from the rear view mirror and I told her that it looked as if God had placed a protective bubble around her. A woman standing next to me also agreed. The rest of the bystanders just stood looking with amazement at how Kim seemed to have escaped serious injury.

The red car that had struck Kim and forced her up the embankment causing her to flip through the air, had taken the next exit running red lights at high speed. I guess they can add felony hit and run to whatever else they were running from.

I sat with Kim holding her head and doing my best to calm her down until a firefighter took over keeping her spine immobile. I told Kim goodbye and she thanked me for stopping and talking to her while help was on the way. I took one last look inside the remains of Kim's car that looked like a giant salad shaker with splinters of glass and shattered belongings. I thought, "Surely God had placed His hand around Kim during the accident." Edna would later tell me that I had sat with Kim for exactly 15 minutes, but it felt like an hour.

My point in all this goes back to what Edna said earlier, "Maybe God has a purpose for this that we don't know about. Maybe there is somewhere God wants us to be today". If someone had told me that our computer problems were just the way that God would direct us to be able to pray for and comfort this woman just when she needed it most, I would never have complained. I want to learn to see these inconveniences or misfortunes for what they truly are, opportunities to be used by God, big and small.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


Micah, Christy and the 4 J's said...

wow...great descriptive post. May our eyes always be open to look for Jesus, and how He might use us today!

Greg & Edna Silva said...

I've watched too many people live their lives in bitterness because they never look for the blessing in their everyday trials. I believe there is always a lesson to be learned even if it's just learning to be patient. I'm still working on looking at life from that perspective, but I think you hit on the key, keeping our eyes on Jesus.

See you guys soon.


Ira said...

That's an amazing story!
It's sad that very often we don't have patience with God and get upset even before He can show us the reason for the delay or failure...
That's the way I got upset with God when I didn't enter the University the first year after finishing school. Though my grades were much higher than of some people who had made it that year, I didn't enter. But now I see why. If God had let me enter the University that first year, then we would have been able to go to the States right after Will and I got married. But only now I realize what kind of a shock that would have been. God gave me time to ease into the married life while still in Ukraine, gave Will a cultural insight and an opportunity to learn Russian, and blessed with relationships and opportunities to share Jesus that otherwise I would have lost.
God knows what He's doing ;)

Little Viky said...

It proves that if something goes wrong with our plans, God is going to do everything all right with His.

Michelle said...

Wow. What an amazing story. I have goosebumps from reading it. You were exactly where God wanted you to be. Perfect verse, too.

Carochka said...

Awesome...I hardly every get to your blog because I am lame. :) But Anya Knotts helped me hook it up so everyone's updates come automatically (see, I'm so tech challenged I don't even know what that's called...Google Reader I guess?)...anyway...WOW! Such a lesson, such a good word...if we are servants, what can possibly interupt our day? WE don't have a day or plans or whatever, it is all HIS plan. If you are in Kyiv, give me a call, would love to see you guys...just getting settled back into Ukraine finally myself so haven't been travelling as much as usual, but will have to get out to your neck of the woods eventually. God bless!

Greg & Edna Silva said...

Ira, Vika, and Michelle - It was certainly a very scary thing for me to see happen. I was sitting in the car crying, wondering who was in the car and if they were OK. All I could do was pray. I think God put us there so that we could be praying. And to show us how quickly things can change. We just need to trust His plan and not our own.

Cara - Good to hear from you! I sent you an email with my mobile number. :)