We were driving east on I-94 in Indiana, less than a mile away from the Michigan state line. The traffic was stop and go, and one of the lanes was blocked off. So it was a little congested.
All of a sudden, the car in front of us slammed on their brakes. It’s a good thing that I'm a cautious driver. I had just enough room to stop in time. There was a moment of silence and of joy. “God, thank you that we did not hit the car in front of us.” As that prayer was rising up to heaven, a loud crashing noise and sudden jolt filled the van. At first, I was stunned. I realized that we had been hit, but all I could do was look behind me at the five children still safely and quietly sitting in their car seats. Ten eyes wide opened stared back at me with a look of confusion and fear. But they were fine.
I got out of my car and saw the damage. It looked like the Incredible Hulk punched the back of our van. If you’ve ever stomped on a can, you’ve seen the wrinkled look of metal. It’s not what I was anticipating for family vacation. Yet, this was my favorite vacation we’ve ever had.
God intervened and gave grace in many steps on the journey.
First, if we had been in Michigan, our insurance would have skyrocketed. Michigan is a “no fault” state, and insurance coverage would have been a nightmare. Since we were in Indiana, the insurance of the person who hit us has taken care of everything.
Second, even though I had to remove and pack our luggage without opening the back hatch (I have sweated more in the past couple of weeks than in a whole year), we were able to squeeze in the added luggage we brought home.
Third, our kids have been “tested” to trust God in a new way. They saw mom and dad deal with a frightening experience and watch God take care of us. We still made it to the Christian camp on time, and they had a blast.
Our van was drivable. Our kids were fine. The people who hit us had insurance. They admitted fault. Their insurance covered it. And we got to be a good witness to them as well. At one point the couple said, “...You guys are so nice about this.” What a tragedy it would have been if we made a fool of ourselves and our faith.
I’m grateful to God that He goes before us and promises to be with us when we get into a “wreck.” Whether it would have been my fault or not, God doesn’t quit being my Father who cares for me. He provided a wonderful vacation for our family, and I’m glad to be back.
This Sunday we will study James 4:13-17. James has a wise and sobering way of writing about our practical lives. I pray that God speaks to our hearts and matures our minds.