It was about 12:20 AM. I was on the way home from a spontaneous beach trip with my friend. I came up on the second-to-last stop light away from my house and noticed myself getting a little hazy. Not cool. I turned the air conditioning on and cued my jams. One stoplight to go and I’m on the home stretch. I made a turn. Ten seconds later, I was out. I hadn’t been drinking. I wasn’t texting. I sleep like a bear. I crashed my car. I could hear the branches scraping against the sides of my car while crushing my windshield. I heard the final thunk…somewhere, meaning my car had stopped moving. I could see the smoke. I could hear the airbags deflating. My brake lights were still on because stopping is what I wanted for the past ten seconds I was in the bull pin before the thunk. I was being dangled sideways in the air. I felt defeated. My thoughts raced through my head around a million miles per hour, sounding a little something like this:
I unbuckled my seatbelt and put my hands on the interior roof to hold myself up. The brake light was gone now. I couldn’t see. I was in the woods. I needed to escape. I found the door handle with a scattered beating and totally freaking out fashion. I leaped from my totaled car into the woods. I looked up to figure out where I was. “Church” is what I read. I immediately knew. Right after the turn I made (while awake), there is a church. I lodged my car right beside the highway church sign. My car was flipped on its passenger side in a large, car-sized ditch, and it appeared to have been traveling the opposite direction that I was.
SHOCKINGLY, no one wanted to stop for a male waving his hands on the side of the road at 12:30 in the morning – not to mention you couldn’t actually see my car while driving past. “Where was your phone?,” one would ask. Good question. It was plugged up in the car. Now unplugged and missing. Because I am the way I am (independent) and the types of attitudes I have picked up on in the south, this biracial boy was not about to stop at any of these rebel-flag-flying, gun-carrying households nearby to ask to use the phone in the darkness of the night. Is that judgmental? Yes. And for good reason. Consequently, I worked up a nice little fat boy trot going and went on my way. Thankfully, I was only about two miles from home. Unfortunately, I didn’t even get my 10,000 steps in that day for my Fitbit which I was pretty bitter about later.
Skipping a few small pieces, I finally got to my sister and she took me back to my car. I got back in it (which stressed me out) and found my phone. For the majority of the time I thought I was rather calm. If you ask her, she will tell you something different. All I could think about was how I loved God for keeping me alive and how lucky I was.
Now this is about to get really evangelical for a moment, so just stay with me. Right before that stoplight, when I noticed myself getting hazy, I prayed (it’s what I do). I prayed that God would keep me from injuring myself during the distance remaining and that I would not injure anyone else. Then I crashed my car. Safety, right? However, even though my car was ruined, I was perfectly fine. I got out of my car without any injuries. I also didn’t injure anyone else. If that isn’t an example of an answered prayer, I don’t know what is. Not to overdo it, but I told you that the first thing I saw when I got out of my car was a church sign. A church sign. Prayer for no injuries, crash, no injuries, church sign. You do the math.
I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God is with us wherever we go whether we choose to recognize it or not (for now). There is obviously no doubt in my mind that God was with me during that crash – protecting me. Loving me. I have recently struggled with the topic of prayer even though I believe it is essential to faith. I have wondered why we even pray if God has a plan for us either way. If God gives life and takes life away, we aren’t about to change God’s mind by simply saying we want someone to live, right? Well, I don’t know. Maybe no one knows. What I do know is that God answered my prayer. Immediately. God showed me that prayer can work. Coincidence or not, I am still alive. For that, I give all praise to God. It’s not the first time God has answered one of my prayers. Either I get lucky with coincidences (that I don’t exactly believe in) or it’s God. For now, I’m going to err on the side of God. God will not always answer our prayers the way we plan them, but they will get answered – even if God gets a little bit creative.