It was one of those rare days when the three little boys stayed with Daniel. Julia left for school, leaving Baby Joshua, four-year-old Hosanna, and myself to spend the day thrift shopping with other ladies from church. This rare event had been planned since last summer, and now the day had finally arrived.
I strapped a car seat on either side of me, kicked off my shoes, and chatted with friends as we caught up on the latest news. We were 30 minutes from our destination when I spied a beautiful rainbow. “Look Hosanna; there is a rainbow!” I exclaimed. She was thrilled to see it for herself. “Hmm,” I mused. I wonder if it has any significance to our day, it felt like a gentle touch of God.
Moments later, the driver had my full attention as she verbalized an anxious, “Ohhh!!” I took it all in at once; there in front of us, to our left, another 15-passenger van was pulling out right onto the highway where we were cruising 60 miles an hour. No vehicle could slow down in the short distance that spanned the two vans. My mind flashed to God, who can make the worst impossible situation end far better than we ever thought possible. Despite the driver’s best efforts to slow and swerve to the side, there was no way around it. There was a sickening crash as broken portions of both vehicles sailed through the air. I glanced either side of me at my dear little ones. Praise God they were both as securely strapped as ever, perfectly safe. Utter relief swept through me, yet I was alarmed as I witnessed the girl, who had been strapped in the passenger seat, lay motionless on the floorboard by my feet. And oh, right before my eyes was the older gentleman, who drove the other van, limp in his seat. Despite it all, I sensed a deep peace from a Higher hand.
“Everyone, get out of the van!” the driver ordered as she watched the smoke rising from the van right next to ours. I made a lunge to the side door and pulled on the handle. It didn’t budge. With an unspoken cry to God I gave the lever a mighty jerk as it swung wide open. I was greatly relieved as my dear friends bailed out as I unbuckled my children, briefly explaining to Hosanna what had just taken place. Scooping Joshua in one arm, making a quick grab for the diaper bag, with my wallet and identification cards, I grabbed Hosanna’s arm with my free hand, as we too, made a quick exit. Muddy water soaked through my socks, but I couldn’t care less. As long as we’re all safe, that was all I cared about.
Meanwhile, Leanna, a dear friend, who is 20 years older than me and has been a blessing in my life in many ways, perhaps because she never married and was always there for me, now was doing her best to get off. Despite her intense efforts, she stated, “I just can’t get off!”
Others came to her aid. I handed Joshua to one of the girls and snuggled Hosanna up to me, who was feeling…