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