“There’s been an accident outside,” Dad yelled, as he flashed the basement lights to get me and my friend’s attention. The two of us put our instruments down and bolted out the door to find a woman lying on the ground across the street, her legs severed at the kneecap. It seemed impossible to make sense of what had happened. Perhaps when the semi hit her car, the stop sign had severed her legs, somehow causing her to fly out the window of her jammed door and land here? Was she lying on her front or her back? Was she alive or dead? So many questions.
Dad and I took off our belts and turned them into tourniquets as my friend and others searched the scene for the rest of her. We covered her with a blanket as it began to sprinkle and then we began to pray.
Eventually she awoke in a muffled panic. There were no words, only frightened moans. We managed to establish a method of communication where she moved her hand once for “no” and twice for “yes.”
“Was there someone else in the car?” Yes. “Are you sure?” Yes. “There was someone else in the car with you?” Yes. “Was it a child?” No. “Adult?“ No. “Male?” Yes.
We directed the growing search party to look around for the mysterious man, but he was never found. After the ambulance finally arrived and explained what she told us, she said no one else had been in the car.
I get it, there’s a lot of science we can fight about here. “She wasn’t thinking straight and just needed some oxygen.” “She didn’t know what she was saying, there was too much trauma.” For many, the idea that Jesus or an angel had pulled her through this terrifying incident is completely off the table. But I’ve seen people pull through impossible things with God. One of my friends was a walking miracle 11 years ago. His condition has only gotten worse, and yet he keeps surviving surgery, even when the doctors say there’s no chance. I’ve got another friend that scientifically-speaking should not be alive, but the Holy Spirit continues to keep them going supernaturally.
After Paul had been stoned by a crowd for preaching Jesus, they dragged him out of the city and left his corpse to rot. They thought he was dead (and maybe he was?). But as the disciples gathered around his bruised, bleeding, and beaten corpse, Paul stood up and walked back into town, continuing forward in ministry the next day.
Sometimes we perceive all around us to be coincidence or luck. But sometimes there is more going on in the background than we realize.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Acts 14:19-28 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.