My brother and I were sent to Camp Keystone in the outskirts of Tampa, Florida for several summers by parents who needed a break from parenthood. Great fun that brought needed respite from an adolescence filled with fear, and violence brought on by a father in need of a Savior’s restoration.
We held no eagerness to return to home and longed for the several weeks of camp to span many months.
While Mom slept in the back seat, brother and I passed the long remote, boring drive return to North Miami teasing each other in the front. No seat belts existed back then.
Suddenly, a drunk and a canal intersected a life and a future.
Dad expertly swerved to miss a drunken driver speeding towards us on a two-lane deserted highway, during a blinding rainstorm.
Only the hands of our strong daddy invisibly and supernaturally strengthened beyond the human ability, held us from being catapulted through the windshield as our car spun, rolled and sunk into the canal.
Dazed, with no memory of how we extricated ourselves out of the twisted metal coffin, we crawled our way up to a steep embankment that held the weed-filled inland waterway back from the roadway.
Blood everywhere panicked mom who assumed we had a serious injury; herself protected by the fact sleep prevented tensing up as the car thrashed about into the watery grave. The profuse bleeding that painted everyone in the front-seat brick red was from dad’s shredded arm impaled with shards of broken glass.
A co-worker of my father, having just past the remote crash site on U.S. Highway 27, not seeing us from the ravine, felt a strange urge to make a U-turn telling his wife that he sensed something was wrong.
He found us wet, cold, hemorrhaging. Coincidence or the Divine’s perfect-timed rescue?
The sheriff, completing his traffic report, questioned my parents and allowed the rescue squad to provide first aid. He copiously apologized that his team couldn’t get any other bodies out as the car was found, sunk and entrenched into the slimy, blackened abyss. Mom replied “We’re all here. What other bodies are you talking about?” The deputy speechless, mumbled something about a “miracle” because the accident was so severe no one could possibly have survived, he said.
We did survive.
Was that You God? Why did we matter to You? Why didn’t You prevent the accident?
It’s easy to blame God for things I don’t understand; unexpected tragedies that turn my life upside down; upheavals that seem clearly to prove God’s abandonment or at very least, ignorance of my circumstances.
It’s effortless to categorize painful things I don’t understand and call them failures of God or the neglects of His grace, particularly when I lose everything I held dear, treasured or clung to for my safety and security.
Great discipline and systemic gratitude is necessary to daily recall all the times in my life of unexpected miracles or interventions by people or events that rescued me from the pit of hell at near death or hopelessness.
How many coincidences have occurred in your life that preserved you and your future, which were in actuality, God, in stealth mode? When was the last time you took a moment to say “Thank you,” to Him for how miraculously you’re still standing even to to this day, despite assaults against your life, peace, mental and emotional stability?
Coincidences are God acting anonymously. I need to pay closer attention, and remember Jeremiah 29:11.
What about you?