Today, I traveled with the musical group I am a part of (“The Isle of Dreams”) for a performance in Champaign, IL at The Church of the Living God. We left at 4am from St. Louis and were doing a sound check in the church by 8:30am. We sand two songs in their first service and then prepared for our full performance, which began at 12:30pm. The performance went really well and everyone sounded amazing. God was lifted up and the people were very receptive to the Message in the songs. It was an amazing time of celebration and worship and everyone in attendance was blessed, including the cast.
After having lunch, we loaded up the cars and headed home in a little caravan. I was driving the white Escort, with two cast members, Amanda and Lisette, in the back seat. We talked throughout the entire trip home about how the day had gone and how good God is to us. We spent time reflecting on what He has done for us, and what he has brought us through and was simply gloried in how Marvelous and Wonderful He Is. .
We were planning on a gas/restroom break within the next few exits when suddenly a deer appeared in front of us. (I saw it because I was driving, the women didn’t see it because it happened so fast and they weren’t as focused as I was on the road.) At almost 70 miles per hour, you don’t have any time to avoid striking something when it suddenly appears a couple of feet in front of you. I didn’t even have time to react before we had struck the deer. Both of the airbags in the front of the car deployed, and instantly the car was filled with smoke. I had no other option but to begin braking as aggressively as possible without slamming them on and to steer towards the shoulder on the right of the interstate. I could not see anything, due to the cracked windshield and smoke, but I heard the “wake-up bumps” go under us once and then a few seconds later I heard them again. At this point I figured I was off the roadway enough to bring the car to a complete stop and exit the vehicle. Keep in mind that all of this happened within 20 seconds of impact.
Recalling that we were traveling in a caravan, there were bound to be other vehicles involved. One of our other drivers, Cornell, was directly behind me when he saw the deer jump into our path. He immediately slammed on his brakes and swerved to the left to avoid the debris. Thankfully, there was no vehicle in the left lane at that moment, or there would have been more damage and mayhem added to this story. Cornell immediately pulled up behind us and was out of the car shortly after I was out of ours. A truck with four men in it saw the accident and stopped in front of us to help. After these men were confident of our physical safety, they proceeded to search for the deer along the ditch. (After several minutes of searching, they found the deer. All four of them were hunters and they estimated it to be a two-year old, eight point buck weighing in somewhere between 160 and 200 pounds.)
When the airbags deployed on impact (as they are designed to do), it was at the same moment as my first reaction to the deer. In that moment I gasped in. In doing so, I collected a great big breath of smoke and powder. So not only could I not see what was going on around us outside the car, but I also could not breath inside the car. When the car stopped I had the presence of mind to turn on the hazard lights, but didn’t hesitate to throw open my door and step out onto the highway. I turned and saw though squinted eyes that nobody was coming at that particular moment and made my way around the car to the grassy embankment that led down to a ditch. (Keep in mind that if somebody had been in that left lane, I would have only known it right before being struck by them.) The ladies through open their doors in the back and climbed out of the car as well.
I took a moment to do a quick inventory on my physical condition. I didn’t feel anything broken and I didn’t taste or see any blood upon initial inspection. I was gasping for air, from both the shock of what had happened and the swallowing of smoke, but I appeared to be fine. (Later on I discovered a small one-inch scratch/burn on my leg from the airbag.) Within moments of being on the side of the road, Cornell and his wife, Faith, were at our side checking on us. It took about 30 seconds for us to verify that we were all physically unharmed, although mentally and emotionally shocked. In that moment, there was only one thing left to do that needed to be done as soon as possible.
So out under the star lit sky of Illinois, on the shoulder of I-70, next to a car that had the first two feet of it crushed in by the impact of a deer at high speed, the three occupants of that car lifted up their heads and their hands and praised God for how Great He Is. In a moment like that, with all that had been said and done up to that point in that day alone, how could our response have been any different? If we had not given God the glory He was/is due for what He had done in sparing us death and injury, how could we have stood before a crowd to sing of His Mercy, Love and Grace? It was the embodiment of worship in a place where although it might be unexpected, it is absolutely appropriate and deserved.
With everything that I’ve seen, heard and been a part of, there is nothing else that compares to this situation in my walk of faith. I’ve been in an accident with an 18 wheel tractor trailer and walked away without a scratch, but I was not living a life that brought God any praise at that time. I’ve seen God do amazing things in other people. I’ve seen Him spare other people through amazing tragedies and accidents. I’ve watched as He allows people to stand and say “This is what God has done for me in a very visible way…” and thought I didn’t have any experiences like that. Well, now I do.
I know that God spared my life last night at 6:30pm. I know that He shined His favor upon my wonderful sisters and I and allowed us to emerge from that accident with full function of our bodies. I know that He permitted the deer to run into our path, and I know that it is He who protected us when all that surrounded us and engulfed us was destruction and chaos. I know that God prevented anyone else from being involved in the accident. I know that God took what Satan meant for evil and has and is bringing good out of it. I know that I am blessed beyond measure, with more than I could ask or imagine asking for. 1 God knows my need before it even comes to my attention. I’m glad God doesn’t have to wait to be told that we need protection, because I didn’t have time to even get a breath in last night before hitting that deer.
I praise God for who He is, how magnificent His Grace is, how truly abundant His Mercy is and for how He works His Perfect Plan out to the finest detail for His Glory and Renown. I praise Him for my life, and all that is a part of it. I praise Him for another day to lift His name. I praise Him for my health and the ability to walk and use my hands. I praise Him for protection and shelter. I praise Him for allowing me to be an active participant in this accident, so that I might be able to use it to display exactly how Marvelous and Wonderful God is.
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” 2
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." 3
God is Great and He is worthy to be praised! Please take a moment to reflect upon all that God has done for you today. Take a moment to look at your family and truly realize how truly blessed you are. Take a few steps back and focus on what is important above all else – God. Take time to worship Him in and through your life today!