Written by: Sarah Walker
To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. (Psalm 3:4)
A few years ago, when we were ministering in Sudbury, my husband was at church for the Christmas Eve service, while I was home tucking our two toddlers into bed. We were spending Christmas in Sudbury, and then driving down to Southern Ontario on Boxing Day to visit with family. As my husband was wrapping up the service and wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas!” a church member named Curtis made a point of coming over to tell him, “I just wanted you to let you know that I have been praying safe travels for you and your family as you drive down for Christmas.”
The drive from Sudbury to Toronto can be a scary drive in the best of conditions. The first 2 hours of the drive is a two-lane highway that twists and turns through large rock formations with minimal visibility. Other drivers easily become impatient when stuck in a large line of slowly moving vehicles, and will often pass through a solid line into oncoming traffic. The winter made it even scarier!
That Christmas, there had been heavy snowfall right before our trip, which made the driving conditions less than perfect. As we left the driveway on Boxing Day, I had a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach that I couldn’t seem to shake. Usually on long trips, as our kids would at times complain and cry in the backseat, I would take off my seatbelt to turn around and help fix the problem to quench their cries – but not that day. Feeling uneasy, I remained planted in my seat with my seatbelt fastened.
As we got closer to our destination and merged onto a major highway, for a moment I was relieved. Traffic was heavy, but it was moving swiftly. We had safely made it through the worst part of our drive, but as we continued on I still felt unsettled.
Suddenly, a huge sheet of ice that was covering the roof of the van in front of us became dislodged and flew straight up into the air. As the saying goes, “What goes up must come down!” The sheet of ice began flipping around rapidly as it came speedily back to the earth. My husband had time to call out to Jesus in brief prayer, and then it was upon us. We were in heavy traffic with nowhere to go, and the ice came crashing down directly on our windshield. It landed with a deafening thud and a crash. Our windshield instantly shattered into a million pieces and we could no longer see anything but smashed glass.
Then, God took the wheel!
We had cars packed all around us, were in the fast lane, were completely blind, and had no shoulder on our side to pull onto. Immediately, my husband turned on his blinker and began to move to the right, heading for the shoulder. Surrounded as we were, we somehow flawlessly made our way across four lanes of traffic to the right shoulder of the road, where we came to a stop. We still don’t know where all those packed-in cars went, but we made it safely!
After hours of driving , with long stretches where there can be 20 minutes between exits, we looked around and saw that we were only 1km from the next exit. With such crazy busy traffic, cars were whipping past us, inches away. We were rattled, and felt unsafe just sitting and waiting for help. We began driving very slowly down the shoulder of the highway, my husband peering desperately through the shattered glass for glimpses of where we were going, and got off at the exit, somehow finding a town nearby, again, somehow completely safely.
After we found the first parking lot we could, we called our parents to let them know and surveyed the damage. My husband and I were completely COVERED in shards and silvers of glass. I had glass in my hair, my bra, underwear, shoes, socks and it even covered my skin like a dusting, and yet, we had no cuts, not even a one scratch on us.
Our two children and dog were in the back seat, and they had not one piece of glass on them. Millions of tiny pieces covered everything in the front seat but not one single piece of glass made it into the back seat. They weren’t even startled, and didn’t even cry. They were completely at peace throughout the whole affair.
It was Boxing Day, and everything was closed. We didn’t know where to go or what to do. Meanwhile, our Dad was searching online, and based on our coordinates, called a nearby windshield repair shop for us. He was looking to just leave a message and drop the car there, hopefully where it could be worked on the next day. The owner happened to have stopped by his shop, and happened to answer his phone. Even though he was on his way to a Christmas event, he agreed to stay and wait for us. Not only was he willing to wait, his shop just happened to be a 3 minute drive from where we were parked. We brought our car, where he was able to get to work on it quickly and fix it up the next morning.
This whole day could have been a deadly disaster, and yet we were protected, and not only that, God made the aftermath easy for us as well!
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. (Psalm 34:17 MSG)
The Bible is full of verses that say that God hears us and responds to us. Once again I am blown away by God’s faithfulness! It was so apparent that God’s hand was on us that day, protecting us and making a way for us! This story continues to be a great reminder for me of the incredible power of prayer!