The clock said near midnight, and the speedometer read 100 km/hr. Snow fell lightly, giving just enough sheen in our headlight stream to slightly decrease visibility. And all down that dark country highway Friend Glenda and I munched popcorn and chatted to stay awake. She peered intently through the windshield as she drove.
Suddenly her compact car swerved violently to the right and screeched to a near stop. My head hit the headrest. When it came up again, I saw what my friend had seen first (thank God!). A majestic bull elk, standing perfectly still astride the center line. As though he’d been waiting for us. He turned only his head in our direction and we locked eyes. I’ve been waiting for you, his seemed to say. Didn’t we have an appointment?
Glenda straightened the car and kept driving. Both of us felt weak at the knees. Had she opened the windows as we passed the elk, she could have grabbed the vast antlers. Instead, we breathed an immediate prayer for God’s protection over us all – human and beast.
Wildlife and other road hazards pose an ever-present danger while driving. After that near miss, a few friends and I sat comparing notes on how God has protected us on our journeys.
Loretta recalled travelling at highway speed and noticing, too late to stop, two moose grazing close to the road. She started speed-praying. “Help them to keep eating, help them to keep eating, help them to keep eating…” and keep eating they did, ignoring the car as it rolled by.
Another friend recounted how several deer made a surprise jump onto the road; close enough for her vehicle’s rear-view mirror to brush just the ears of one.
I’ve thought since of another “deer in the headlights,” this one, human. Me. While crossing the crosswalk on a busy city street, a car turning from a side road nearly mowed me down. Had I been one step ahead, it would have hit me. Instead, it swept by and I escaped without a bruise.
As it passed, my mind froze the scene like a slow-motion picture. A white station wagon a few decades old with rust on the side facing me. A balding middle-aged man behind the wheel. His eyes bugged out behind his glasses and his mouth worked peculiarly.
Often when the Preacher and I join hands to pray in the day, we thank God for the millions of safe miles travelled by us and those we love. We also pray for continued safety, knowing that crashes happen regularly, and we are not exempt.
Only God knows why, even with prayer, some journeys end in tragedy, while others leave us with those eyeball-bulging close calls. But I’m confident in this: Just as he is present in our near misses, we can trust our Heavenly Father not to abandon us in life’s collisions. Stay alert, (thanks, Glenda!) pray constantly for safe miles, and trust his presence on every journey and beyond.