This past weekend, a fantastic camping trip was overshadowed by a harrowing drive home. Although we caravan-ed to the state park in Wisconsin, we all left to go home at different times. Some wanted to get home and wash off the 1/4-inch of grime off themselves and everything they brought with them. Others wanted to get ahead of the stormy weather that was coming, and a few were interested in one last dip in the lake before we left. We were among the last to leave, having been chased out of the water by lightning. My friend Kim helped me get the kids changed and we all piled in the car just as the rain began to fall.
We had been driving a while, the kids comatose and the rest of us going over the highs and lows of the weekend, when we noticed our friends in a black Saturn Vue just ahead (we found out later he had taken a wrong turn from the campground enabling us to catch up). We began to scheme ways to embarrass and entertain them, having decided to draw a picture of a butt and “moon” them (okay, so maybe having been camping didn’t exactly help our maturity level but mooning came up a few times in conversation for a variety of reasons so it seemed timely). We were directly behind them, as they passed a silver SUV, and we waited our turn so we could pull up next to them. When, suddenly, our friends swerved to avoid the other vehicle as it creeped into their lane, then over corrected and rolled into the ditch. I immediately shouted “Lord help them! Oh, God, protect them!” And then they rolled and rolled, four times, across the ditch and into oncoming traffic on the other side. They landed upright, but on the far side of the West-bound traffic, facing the opposite direction that they had been traveling. Thankfully, any oncoming traffic was far enough back that they were able to pull over and avoid making a bad situation worse. Matt also somehow safely pulled the car over to the side of the road and ran across both lanes of traffic to go to them. Fearing the worst, I felt completely helpless, knowing that all I could do was pray.
Kim used her cell phone to call 911 and attempt to reach our other friends who had gone ahead. It seemed forever before the ambulance arrived, especially since it came from the opposite direction, driving right past us to the turnaround before getting to our friends trapped in their vehicle.
Then all we could do was wait before Matt returned to let us know that they were both okay and talking (an eternity it seemed). Eventually, they were taken to a nearby hospital in Madison and we made our way there to see them, having met up with friends who were close enough to turn around and join us. We were able to visit with them and even laugh with them and pray with and for them.
Having seen what happened, I know how miraculous it is that they both walked out of the hospital and were home by midnight that night, with scratches, bruises and soreness to be sure, but nothing more. I envision God wrapping his arms around each of them to protect them, as glass and bits of plastic showered around them, but the structural components of the vehicle holding together.
We are so thankful for our friends, obviously those who were in the accident, and those who were supporting them at the hospital and now at home with meals and errands and love and prayers. I can’t even begin to imagine what an event like this would be without the hope of the Lord Jesus Christ and the support of God-fearing friends.
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9