Another Near Miss

Jul 24th, 2011 | By | Category: Spotlight, Sunday Sermon

‘Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.’ (Matthew 6:1, NIV)

‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.’ (Hebrews 11:1-3, NIV)

Path of the On-coming Collision

It was another regular Wednesday visit, this past July 20, 2011. It has been my routine and practice (since their births) to see my two grandson’s at least once a week while they live locally—that is, barring some unavoidable scheduling issue. So Wednesdays belong to my youngest grandson, David. And since losing her teaching job this past May, I have been driving about twenty miles from my home in Moreno Valley, California, each week to the City of Perris to pick up my daughter Sarah as well as little David (and all of their unwashed laundry) for a trip back to my house and a day-long visit. After he gets off of work my son-in-law, Anthony, drops by for a visit and to drive their small family back home to Perris. My wife, Linda, usually prepares a nice supper before sending them all home.

But the routine of July 20th was altered at the request of my daughter as she needed some paperwork and the child safety seat out of Anthony’s car, which was at his work place. It was a modest delay in the routine along the way. Once I arrived at Anthony’s work, I had some difficulty extracting the infant seat from their compact vehicle. And there was a slight delay in securing it properly in my car. No problem; a few minutes would not hurt a thing.

On the approach along the familiar route, I noticed a Sheriff’s patrol car turning onto the last stretch of roadway behind me. Even though school was not in session for the summer, I slowed down as I passed the elementary school near my daughter’s apartment complex. I glanced in my rear-view mirror and the patrol car was no longer following me. As my full attention returned forward to the roadway ahead, I saw something unusual unfolding very rapidly before me. In an instant a van (that was driving toward me in the opposite lane) launched into the air like a stunt car. The van flipped up about five feet off the ground, went perpendicular to the ground, and struck the roadway, rolling on its side while tumbling toward my car. It came to rest and blocked the entire roadway with the bottom of the chassis facing me.

It was quite a shock to see! The wreck happened so quickly I could only react. I stopped my car, put on the emergency flashers, and ran toward the wreck. I could see glass all over the ground and a small cloud of smoke drifting from the engine compartment. There was not a soul anywhere on the street. I looked back to see if that cop car was visible. Nothing. Lord, what should I do now?

As I rounded the front of the overturned van, I saw a young woman sitting on the driver-side window and attempting to talk to someone on her cell phone. She was not wearing a seatbelt and appeared disoriented, but uninjured. I yelled at her to turn off the ignition and use her phone to call 9-1-1 for emergency help. Just then I heard a male voice yelling from a house nearby that he had called the police. Answered prayer!

Since the driver looked uninjured, my concern was the possibility of an engine fire. She was blocked inside the van by the rollover damage. I opened the only door which was not blocked or jammed shut: the rear door-hatch. It was a tight squeeze getting her around the collapsed roof and rear headrests, but I managed to pull her out. Within a matter of seconds the Sheriff’s Department showed up in force to investigate the crash. I saw the mangled bed of a parked pickup truck the van had struck before going airborne. Thank God! No one was hurt.

Thank God indeed! After giving a statement to a deputy at the scene, I got back in my car and drove to pick up my daughter and grandson. As I did, I considered the timing of the near miss and the proximity of my car to that wrecked van. Had I not been driving slower than the speed limit, that van could have made a lasting impression upon impact with me. There would have been nowhere to go to avoid being struck head-on. Then again, if I hadn’t been delayed earlier at my son-in-law’s workplace, I might not have been available to help the driver out of her car. And because I have pulled drivers out of wrecks in similar circumstances when I was a cop, all the training and experience kicked in and was very handy.

I offer this recent true life event for your consideration fully aware that some may accuse me of seeking adulation from the readership. Quite frankly that matter was settled right after the driver was extracted from the wreck and I offered my thanks and praises to God. God deserves all the praise. As far as I am concerned, God presented me the opportunity to help another human being in dire need. A choice was offered to put my faith (and training) into action. Why? Only God knows. All I know was that it was an appointment with God I had to keep. Nothing more, nothing less.

How could I hope to recount all the near misses I have had in my life? The problem with such a tabulation is I have no idea how many times God has kept me from getting killed—I only know the ones I have seen with my own eyes—yet by His grace toward me I am still alive to put His grace on the record. That is called a testimony. And by faith, I know that God has a plan for me, which means I have a purpose to fulfill in this life, whether it is being a good grandpa or lending help in a time of need. Until my heart stops beating for the last time and I can no longer dodge the path of the on-coming collision that will usher me into eternity, I shall trust God and act upon faith.

Are you concerned about the future? Do you know with any certainty where you will end up in eternity? Perhaps it is time to place your trust in God.

God is still waiting to hear from you.

(copyright 2011, Gregory Allen Doyle)


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