It was a Sunday morning, we were running late for church and she just appeared out of nowhere. My friend Paul, who was behind the wheel, saw her too late. She was already in the middle of the road. We had just completed overtaking a lorry, the car was now doing 100 KPH and she was about 100 meters in front of us. We had to think fast. Well, at least Paul had to. He figured that since it was a dual carriage highway and the woman was already halfway across, he would switch lanes and move to the lane that she had just finished crossing. It was a reasonable, split-second, decision.
Unfortunately, the middle aged woman didn’t see it the same way. As the car switched lanes, there was a point when it looked like we were headed straight for her. She panicked and did the unimaginable. Instead of continuing in her initial direction, she suddenly stopped and started running back. She was now on the same lane we were on. The gap between the woman and the car was closing, less than 50 meters now. I held my breath and prepared for the worst.
The next thing I remember (albeit vaguely) is the car skidding on the wet tarmac and seeing a small tree heading straight for us. The tree hit the car, or rather, the car hit the tree. But we had been moving too fast, and the tree gave way and broke under the force of 1 tonne of metal moving at about 90 KPH now. The next thing I remember was seeing the world literally turning upside down as the car went over the dropping edge of the road and rolled into the brushes below. In the blink of an eye, I was upside down in my seat, held in place by the safety belt.
“Thank you Lord”, I exhaled.
I looked over at Paul and asked him if he was fine. He confirmed that he was. When we managed to extract ourselves from the wreckage, we were relieved to find that there was not a single scratch on any of us. In fact, what I found even more amazing was the fact that there was not even a single speck of dirt on our clothes. We were perfectly fine.
Later on, while rummaging through the wreckage and debris in order to find anything worth salvaging, I found this book by Max Lucado lying on the roof (from the inside of the overturned car). Even though the book was all muddied up, the title was loud and clear to all:
IN THE GRIP OF GRACE
I never made it to church that Sunday, but I had just witnessed a sermon that I would never forget.
PS: No, we didn’t hit the woman. The car missed her by a hair’s breadth. Praise God!