My logical brain has a hard time understanding it.
My spiritual brain, though, has a clear picture.
Last Sunday morning, our oldest granddaughter Allie and her fiance Zechariah were traveling from Nashville to Somerville, AL for a bridal shower being held in their honor. Allie was drinking a cup of coffee and had on a pretty white dress. They were anticipating a fun event in spite of the heavy rain and were happily chatting about their wedding coming up on February 5th.
Zechariah was driving. He wanted to change lanes but realized too late that a car was in his blind spot. He turned the steering wheel back quickly, causing the car to skid on the wet interstate and lose control. The car flipped twice, hit a guard rail, and landed on its side with all the windows smashed and smoke billowing out. Amazingly, no one hit them from behind. They didn't go down into a deep ditch. The car came to rest on the side of the road.
I-65 is a busy highway. Numerous people witnessed the accident and pulled over to rush to the aid of the passengers. They were astounded that neither Allie nor Zechariah were injured. One person who stopped snapped some cellphone photos, then sent them to Birmingham weatherman James Spann who reposted them on his Facebook page in the hope that the couple would see the photos. Here is the one that has captured so many imaginations and hearts, including mine.
Zechariah and Allie were pulled from the wreck by those who stopped to help. The car was totaled. Smoke was everywhere. Their only thoughts were of each other and the fact that they were alive. There were no bloodstains, just coffee stains on Allie's white dress. This young couple survived the type of wreck that has killed many others in similar scenarios.
Since Sunday, I have had so many thoughts --
1) We could have easily been grieving and attending funerals this week, rather than anticipating a wedding. I have several friends who responded to my Facebook post about the accident. In one case, the whole family was involved in an accident a number of years ago in which a daughter was killed. In another, a woman's teenage son was traveling a road in Morgan County several years ago, going too fast on a curve, when the car left the road, hit a tree, and the son was killed instantly. These friends graciously affirmed my feeling of profound gratitude, but I'm sure they must have wondered to themselves, "Why was this couple spared while my child died?" I've asked the same question. And I don't know the answer. I am so deeply sorry for their pain and loss.
2) I believe, and I hope this photo will be a reminder for Allie and Zechariah, that God must have special plans for their marriage. He undoubtedly wants them to be an example of His love, mercy, grace, and blessings. He has given them something to share as a testimony. An example that will be joined by many other examples throughout their marriage.
3) I reaffirmed my belief in angels. Some have claimed to see a face in the clouds behind them in the photo. I see what they're talking about, but I believe it could have been an army of angels and not just one. Using all the tools in the universe at His disposal, God protected Allie and Zechariah.
Look at some of these verses with me.
Psalm 34:7 -- "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
and He delivers them."
Isaiah 14:27 -- "For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?"
Hebrews 1:14 -- "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"
And take time to read 2 Kings 6:1-17 and the description of the "the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." Sounds like an army of angels to me.
Last night at choir practice, we sang "Jehovah Sabaoth," an anthem based entirely on these words by Donald Lawrence:
I shall not fear the arrow by day, nor shall I fear the terror by night.
The God who governs angel armies has set encampments around me. Whom shall I fear?
And I'm sure you've heard the wonderful song recorded by Chris Tomlin -- "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)" If you haven't heard it or want to listen again, click here.
I opened up my email yesterday morning and found this post by one of my favorite bloggers, Sean Dietrich. Click here to read it. Clearly, he has been having some of the same thoughts I've had.
Let me say, though, that Steve and I fully realize that as we get older we are more and more likely to face challenges, crises, and even tragedies that we and our loved ones have to endure. For that matter, we've already had sudden deaths of parents, a cancer diagnosis, our children having miscarriages, etc. Sometimes God and His angel armies snatch us from tragedies and hardships. Other times they walk with us THROUGH them. Either way, we are never alone.
The purpose of today's post is this --
THANK YOU, GOD, FOR PROTECTING OUR LOVED ONES.
And a huge thank you to all those who rushed to help on that rainy highway -- the ones who were seen and the ones who were unseen.