DISCLAIMER: Over the last several months, I have been encouraged to write regularly about the accident from 2004. I am working my way through writing a book about the incident. So, every Tuesday, I’ve taken the opportunity to write, remember and share snapshots of that tragic event.
I think one of the greatest fears I faced in my life was raising two kids on my own–even if it was just for three and a half years. I can, to this day, tell you the exact moment that the fear struck me–April 9, 2004, sitting in the passenger seat of a crushed Chevrolet mini-van. A stranger–some good Samaritan who had come upon the scene of our accident–stuck his head in my broken out window. He checked on my status and then matter-of-factly gave me the news that I never dreamed I would hear: “Sir, I don’t think your wife is going to make it.”
My mind raced in several directions at once. I was checking on the kids…responding to this stranger’s questions…trying to figure out what had happened…trying to determine the extent of my own injuries…all at once. But one thought was louder than all others in my head, “Could this stranger be wrong? There’s no way my wife is dead. God will pull off a miracle and she’ll be okay. She has to be…doesn’t she?”
As soon as the man disappeared to begin his search for Josh, I turned my conversation to God. Whether it was out loud or just loudly in my head, I do not know. “She can’t die, God. I need her. The kids need her. God don’t let her die. Please!! Take me. Let me die. My kids need their mom. I can’t do this all by myself.” Over and over the fears came at me. With each minute that passed, I felt myself sinking.
The strangest thing happened that day…it wouldn’t be the last time. God came into that van with me. He comforted me. It was a peace I can’t adequately explain but it was a peace that He gave me repeatedly over the next 3 years. I would get into those places of doubt and fear. I would question why God had allowed the accident and how He expected me to parent two kids alone while pastoring a church. His peace would come, just as it did in that van. He’s shown Himself faithful many times over the last 43 years of my life. Every time I’ve faced a fear on my own, I have shrunk away unsure and unconfident. But when I faced those fears holding tightly to His promises, I knew it was somehow going to be okay. The situation may not change (it didn’t in April 2004 nor any of the other times that followed) but God changed me in the midst of that situation. Trust that for your own fears. Know that His peace is enough and He is able to carry you through the doubts.