If I had died this morning, the events leading up to my death would be unremarkable. I made breakfast and lunches, kissed my husband good-bye, got annoyed at the kid who left his rain boots at school and tried to wear his sister’s boots which are three sizes to small. I took kids to school, came home, did dishes, read blogs and then changed hurriedly to make a 10:00 a.m. appointment. I drove south on Highway 6, listening to The Current, thinking about my appointment and wondering what I should make for dinner for the two missionaries and investigator family that are coming for dinner tonight. Seconds later, my life flashed before my eyes.
Highway 6 is a two lane highway. It intersects with Wellington County Road 51 a few minutes from my house. A car was stopped on either side of the road waiting to cross the highway. As I approached, the car on my left decided to chance it and cross ahead of me. It was a foolish decision. I laid on the horn, and watched him cross the yellow line in slow motion. I saw that there was nowhere for me to go, as there was also a car on my right. Adrenaline rushed through my body as I realized that the car would collide with me, and smash me directly into the other vehicle. Somehow, I managed to swerve, and avoid the collision, but I’m sure it was only by inches. It seemed almost unbelievable. The reality of what almost happened shook me to the core. And I remembered that in our family prayer this morning, I had specifically prayed for safety as we traveled. Now, not everybody in this family prays for safety. Some of the younger members pray that we can listen to our teachers, that we can have a good time and thank you for our dog.
In those moments, after my close call, I thanked God for keeping me safe, all the while knowing that there are people who are more worthy and deserving than I, who aren’t kept safe, even if they have fervently prayed for safety. The temptation to tell my children when they arrive home this afternoon about how I prayed for safety this morning and was protected is strong. It would be a great story for The Friend, and is a simple black and white tale which reinforces the idea that God does answers prayers.
But God doesn’t always answer prayers the way we might hope. Mothers die in car accidents, jobs are lost, children don’t come home at night. Which leaves me at a loss — how do I teach my children that there is a loving God who cares about them but won’t necessarily protect them from pain and loss, when I don’t even understand it myself? Did God protect me? It feels wrong to assume I was kept safe by chance, but not quite right to think it was because of my prayer that I’m here this afternoon. Is it ungrateful to even ask the question?