Not Her Time

On the evening of Saturday, May 2, 2009, around 8:30 p.m., I pulled away from a friend's house about 100 miles from my home. We had spent the day eating, sight-seeing, and eating again. During dinner, I drank a tall glass of iced tea, something I don't usually drink. My friend had suggested that I go a different route home than what I had intended, simply because it was all interstate instead of two-lane winding roads. As I got out on the highway, I remembered to pray that God would give me a safe drive home. "Lord, please give me traveling mercies," I prayed.

It was extremely unusual for me to be able to drive very far - sometimes even across town - without getting sleepy, but I guess the caffeine in the tea was keeping me alert. I put a favorite Christian accompaniment-track CD in the player and started my two-hour trip home. My thoughts wandered to thinking how quickly one could get in a serious accident while traveling at high speeds down the interstate. There was bad weather ahead of me, but I was confident that I would miss it. I never even ran into any rain.

I don't know how far I was from home when I started thinking seriously about dying from an automobile accident. My thoughts were about how quickly I would die as opposed to feeling a lot of pain. I wondered how it would be. The next thing I knew was that I started having problems with my vision. In the past I had experienced something referred to as optical migraines that came on very quickly and made it very difficult to focus. The first one had occurred probably 25 years ago, and I might have had a half dozen of these experiences since that time. Well, this time I saw little zig-zag flashy "lights" (sort of like bolts of lightning) on the outer corners of (I think) each eye. I thought of pulling off the road and then decided I was doing alright. I concentrated very hard on staying in the outside lane where traffic was moving about 80 miles per hour.

That is the last thing that I remember until I was very suddenly aware of a vehicle in front of me and that I was approaching it very fast. I quickly said, "Oh, God!" as I hit my brakes, causing my car to go out of control. I do not know whether my eyes closed or whether I fought with the steering wheel. All I knew is that I was getting ready to take my last breath, and I wondered if it would be quick or if I would feel the pain. Then I felt a jolt from behind and another severe jolt from the front. The front end of my car had smashed head on into the guard rail. This happened at around 10:30 p.m., roughly two miles before I was to take the exit that was only 1.5 miles from my home.

I quickly opened my car door and got out because I had always feared being trapped in a burning car. I walked along the guard rail while I thanked Jesus over and over. When someone stopped to help and asked me if I was okay, I had to look down to make sure everything was intact. (We've all heard stories of people that go through harrowing experiences and don't realize, until it's all over, how badly they've been hurt.) The only thing that was hurting was my left arm and hand; they had apparently been hit by one of the airbags that deployed. I will cut my story off right here and not bore you with any more details. The whole reason for sharing this with you is to tell you the thoughts that ran through my mind after I finally got home from the emergency room the next morning. Remember the prayer I prayed just as I was leaving town?

Well, here is my childish version (at age 59) of what God did for me: "Angel! Angel! Do you see my child down there? See? She's in the silver Toyota heading West on I-59. No, that one over there! She prayed a couple hours ago that I would grant her traveling mercies, so my plans have changed. This was going to be her time, but I'm going to answer her prayers. Now, please go down there and keep her from killing herself!"

Maybe that's not what happened, but I like to think it happened sort of like that.

Thank you, Jesus.

Cynthia Thornton