Saturday I had a near-death experience. Or it felt that way at the time, and even more so as I reflect back on the event. I can’t help but wonder what I will never know. Were we spared because we prayed?
This question is tough and unanswerable. We all know someone who prayed for protection or safety, yet the Lord called them home despite their prayers. We’ve all faced circumstances where we prayed for healing and healing didn’t come. We’ve all received no’s to some of our prayers.
What we don’t know is how many yes’s we’ve received in the invisible world. How many times did we pray for hedges of protection, and in the spiritual realm those hedges are the very thing that saved our lives, but we never knew.
Identifying the no prayers seems a bit easier than identifying the yes prayers. The no’s are clear and obvious. The yes’s can be categorized as coincidence or “luck”.
If our eyes were opened to all the yes’s we’ve received, would we ever forget to pray again? I wonder.
Do we pray like our very lives depend on it? Do we believe it? Or have our prayers become an act of religion?
We took a trip to Georgia to celebrate my nephew’s graduation. Visiting my sister is a treat because their house is a true experience. Farm, land, 4 wheelers, pool, trampoline, and lots of wide open exploring. A boy’s dream.
As I walked outside her house, the warm Georgia sunshine hit me full on. Sounds of summer and celebration took all anxious thoughts and cares right away. Beach tunes, splashing kids, adult conversations weaving in and out, the smell of charcoal, and the sound of 4 wheelers coming and going. Activity swirled at a pace set to relaxation.
Steve and Zachary pulled into the front yard on the 4 wheeler. I took note how big Zachary is on the 4 wheeler. Gone are the days his little body fit snug into Steve’s as he held tight. Zachary hopped off, and with his still boyish grin, Steve nodded my way, “Hop on and let’s go for a ride.”
My nephew may have graduated but I’m not too old for some 4 wheeling fun. I climbed on for a ride on a freshly created trail. It was nice not clinging for dear life. The trail was fairly narrow and bumpy, so our speed stayed in my safe zone.
Steve has learned the hard way that I’m not much fun when I’m scared, and because he wants me to join him on his little adventures, he is wise to use caution.
I don’t know if I said this out loud to Steve or only thought it, but there were lots of small stumps and bigger than sticks smaller than logs obstacles. I noted how we had to be quite careful because these small innocent stumps could likely do some damage. About 1 second later it happened.
We took a turn at a safe speed, but the back tire hit a stump on the side of the trail. As Steve steered left, our left rear tire hit a stump and it pushed us right. Right at the time Steve was accelerating for the upcoming straightaway.
Everything happened so fast, I remember having all of these thoughts and questions quick firing. It likely took 1-2 seconds for us to hit the tree, but it felt like longer as I watched us accelerate to the tree. I remember not being scared because I thought when you hit a tree you stop, but the 4 wheeler performed what it was made for. It climbed right up that tree like it was climbing the side of a mountain. I fell off the rear, landing flat on my back, and I know Steve fell off and landed on top of me. What I can’t figure out for the life of me is how in the world the 4 wheeler didn’t crush us.
The details in the moments after falling are foggy to both of us. I remember lying on my back, looking straight up and seeing the 4 wheeler in a vertical position. 2 wheels in the air, 2 wheels on the ground, headlights shining to heaven.
I remember Steve being somewhat on top of me, but also somewhat holding the full weight of the 4 wheeler up, protecting me. I can only imagine what fear he saw on my face. I must have looked in shock.
Steve said, “You’re ok. You’re ok. Now move. Move!”
In that instant I realized I hadn’t died, but if I didn’t move fast, I might die. At any moment, that 4 wheeler could fall back on me with a crushing force.
Steve holding it up seemed supernatural. There is no way he could brace that 4 wheeler from his back the way he did. I mean he’s strong and all, but not that strong. Right then he was my hero.
I scurried to my feet and retreated to a safe distance to watch the 4 wheeler roll over and down, dumping chains and first aid kits from hidden compartments.
That’s when I started to tremble. It was only then that I felt the fear. We could’ve died. As hard as we hit the ground, had there been a rock instead of dirt, everything could have been different. Had Steve not held up the 4 wheeler, it could’ve crushed us.
I wish I could say that was the end, I thought it was the end. I thought that was the worst part, we’d be back to my sister’s in no time.
I had no choice but to get back on, though I had hoped I’d never have to again. Somehow we ended up off trail in a part of the woods that I saw no way out of. We were in deep, no carved trail, and steep hills that seemed impossible to a 4 wheeler.
I jumped off and walked while Steve rode up the ravine that felt impossible. I watched it flip a couple more times.
I was taken by his calmness. I felt a basket case, but I was too terrified to even speak. I thank God Steve handled each step with a quiet calm that hushed my fears.
As I watched him riding up what looked impossible, I prayed out loud for God to do the impossible and to protect Steve in the process.
Eventually, we made it out unharmed and the 4 wheeler still works. It did the job well.
As I have thought on that incident, I go back to the day before we left when the boys and I prayed while we packed and cleaned in preparation for the trip. We prayed for safety and protection, for hedges to be placed around us.
I must admit, I often pray these prayers out of habit and duty. I wonder if I pray them in disbelief even at times. I’m sure I do. What if we hadn’t prayed? How do we know if it wasn’t us calling on the power of God for protection that saved our lives that day?
I’ll never know that answer, and that is ok.
This isn’t the first time I’ve wondered this. I looked back at my prayer journal prior to Zachary’s Lyme diagnosis and read specific prayers for the strengthening of his body and immune system. This was before he had any symptoms. What if those prayers hadn’t been released to God? We just don’t know, so why take the chance? He’s placed power closer than a whisper’s reach.
What God has impressed on my heart is a desire to deepen my prayer life. To opening my eyes for a moment by moment need for Him. He actually has been stirring this in my heart for weeks. I’ve been reading a few books on prayer, I’ve been spending more time throughout the day simply talking to God. I’m finding constant companionship with Him is a treat I’ve been missing out on in the busyness of life.
Summer seems a good time for slowing down and praying more. Each moment I encounter is shaped by prayer. If we are given that kind of power, we’d be crazy not to use it.
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