Be not dismayed what-eer betide, God will take care of you.
- Civilla D. Martin
My granddaughters and I had planned an adventure, but not a scary one. And I dont mean our second visit of the summer to the dinosaur exhibit at Fort Discovery. By now even the little one was tolerating the simulated, prehistoric roars without fear. No, the scary part of our day happened on the way to dinner at Old MacDonalds Fish Camp in North Augusta.
We didnt plan the rain, either - especially a horrendous, early evening storm that blocked my view of the road every other second even with the wipers going at top speed.
By the time I saw the familiar big, red sign it was too late to make the turn. No problem. Ill just pull in here.
Here wasnt the wide, asphalt turn-off just past the restaurant I expected. One wheel landed on solid ground, but the other slipped solidly into a deep, watery ditch. My front-seat granddaughter and I were now 45 degrees from each other, and my car wasnt going anywhere.
My life, and that of my little girls, flashed before me. Here we were at dusk in a rainstorm, our light-colored vehicle protruding onto the narrow roadway, potentially unseen by on-coming drivers who were as visually-impaired by the storm as I was.
I called 911, who called the Highway Patrol, who couldnt help us because I didnt know the name of the road we were on. After telling the dispatcher a dozen times I was only a few hundred yards from a very familiar landmark, she sighed and said she would try to find me. I wasnt encouraged.
But then the miracles began. The first driver who stopped was more concerned about us than the car. Can we take you somewhere, call someone? Strangers who didnt seem like strangers took my frightened girls to the dry, safe restaurant to wait for me there. I watched the car drive away, minus my divine dispatcher who insisted on sending his family on ahead and staying with me. He looked about the age of my son. I judged him to be a good son, and thanked him for staying.
The second driver stayed, too, his van shielding me from on-coming traffic until the driver of a truck with a tow chain came by and pulled me out. The good son guided my movements: "car in neutral, wheels to the right, and dont forget to let the highway patrol know youre out." He then asked for a ride to the restaurant. I was surprised at his confidence in my driving.
Soon we were both reunited with our families, he relieved, Im sure, and I consumed with gratitude for everyone who took part in our rescue, including my 10-year-old who had calmed and cared for her little sister all that time. After telling her how proud I was of her, she had every right to say, Im proud of me, too.
Ive retold this story a dozen times, but not without adding details of the sleepless night that followed. As confident as I say I am with the songwriter that, God will take care of you what-eer betide, all I could think of was what might have happened if God hadnt cared for us: harm to my beloved granddaughters, injury to other travelers running into me, car repairs, traffic fines - on and on.
Perhaps I was suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, if such a serious diagnosis applies to such a low-trauma event. But Gods care was not lost on those little girls. They prayed their thanking prayers without a hint of what might have been. Suddenly I remembered what Jesus said about the kingdom of God belonging to "those (who) come to me as little children" (Luke 18:16-17). Of course, God took care of us, just like he said he would (I Peter 5:7).
I pray my grandchildren's confidence, not in a might-care God but in a will-care God, will continue throughout their lives, and rub off on their grandmother before and after her next crisis takes place.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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