"Be careful, its slick out." Those were the last words my husband said to me before I drove off. His car was in the shop so we were carpooling that morning. I nodded as I slid into the driver's seat and headed off to school.
The past few days had been unseasonably warm but the weather had turned bitterly cold once again. It was a recipe for black ice. I was glad that I did not have to get on the freeway but was taking a route where the speed limits did not exceed 30 mph. Carefully, I made my way along the Mississippi River as the radio announced accident reports.
In my part of the country, they are very good about applying salt and sand to the roads as well as chemicals. The problem is, there are a lot of roads to cover, chemicals do not work below certain temperatures and salt and sand do not cover everything, especially if the roads have thawed and then freeze over again. Then there is black ice. The road looks ice-free but it is not. It is covered with a hard, transparent glaze and if you hit it... well... yeah. It can be very dangerous.
I came upon the black ice as I slowly rounded a curve that morning. As I tried to follow the turn of the curve, the steering wheel suddenly became useless and I began to spin out of control.
I want to make it clear that I am a very experienced winter driver. I live in a part of the world that has very long and severe winters. In fact, my native hometown has the distinction of being the coldest major city in the continental US. I know how to get out of a spin. It is something I have done numerous times to the point that I do it instinctively. The problem was, this time I was on a road covered with black ice, I could get no traction whatsoever and I was heading towards oncoming traffic.
Sore muscles in my arms and bruises on the back on my hands would reveal the next day, just how hard I was trying to regain control of my vehicle. At the last moment, I managed to avoid a head-on collison as I desperately attempted to regain control of my vehicle and slip between the two uncoming vehicles. I almost made it. Fortunately the driver behind the first vehicle was able to get out of my way by driving off the road and into a snow bank where she brought her car to a stop. Otherwise I would have probably been crushed. As it was the rear panel of my vehicle made contact with the rear panel of the first vehicle. No one was hurt and I was actually able to bring my car to a stop along the curb. This was not, however, the end of the story.
This was back in the days before most people had cell phones but the driver of the vehicle I hit, had one. He immediately called in to report the accident and the police had arrived on the scene within a couple of minutes.
As we stood on the road surveying the damage, we suddenly heard the sound of sliding tires once again. I remember hearing one of the police officers screaming, "Run!" and everyone scattered as another vehicle was headed straight for my car. I took a step but immediately went face down on the ice. I couldn't get up.
I could hear the sliding of the car. I could hear people screaming. Someone said, "It's going to hit her!" In that moment I realized that today I was going to die.
That's when it happened.
Lying there flat on my face on the ice, unable to get any traction with my hands or feet to get up or even move, my hands were grabbed by someone who pulled me under my car, up over the snowbank and to the right and deposited me face down in the snow a short distance away from my car. I heard the crunching of metal and the hysterical sobs of a woman which I later learned was the driving of the car that had managed to avoid me in the first accident. Then I heard someone shout, "Where is she?"
They thought my lifeless body had been thrown so you can imagine the response when I sat up and said, "Here I am!"
I wanted to thank my rescuer but they all looked at me blankly. No one except me had been near the car. Everyone else had made it to safety. They had seen me fall but there had not been enough time for anyone to come and rescue me. It had all happened too quickly.
"But, someone grabbed my hands, pulled me under the car and up over the snow bank. Who was it?"
There were more blank stares before I was once again told, "There was no one there."
Even back then I was a large woman and the idea that on my own I could have possibly squeezed under my car, made my way up a snow bank and thrown myself face down into the snow some distance away is preposterous. It simply was not possible and everyone standing around me knew it. I finally whispered, "It must have been God" and everyone nodded. It must have been God.
This was not the end of the story.
The man with the cell phone let me call my husband who arrived a short time later with a friend from work who took the two of us home. I was a bit hysterical at this point as the full impact of what had happened hit me. We were also now without a vehicle whatsoever as his beater was in the shop and mine had just been totaled in an accident that was my fault. We were also broke. What were we going to do now?
The phone rang. It was a call from an insurance company, not our insurance company but the insurance company of the driver who had hit my vehicle (the second accident). They wanted to know when the rental car company should drop off the car. What car?
Apparently it was determined that my car was not totaled in the first accident. It was damaged but not totaled. The second accident however, did what the first one did not and I couldn't be held at fault whatsoever for the damage of the second accident because my car just happened to be uh... nicely parked alongside the curb. In other words the second driver had hit a legally parked vehicle that did not contain a driver. Interesting...
What this meant was that while my insurance company would pay-out on the first accident, I was not liable for the second one. Instead, I would get a free rental car for a week plus a check for the value of my car. It was an old car and it wasn't worth much but it was paid for and there was enough money for me to buy another beater.
I couldn't help but smile when the rental car pulled up in front of our house and an insurance agent also arrived at the same time with a check. Yes, I had been in danger. Yes, I had suffered loss but despite all those things, the Lord is my helper.
Angels are real. I have no doubt. As I have no doubt that God sent an angel to save you that day.
And I thank God for that.
What an awesome God we serve!
A frighteningly sober story that really lets us see that s are real, just as Beth wrote. Thank God for how His love for you and His protection over you.