I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw a Semi-truck barreling down on us…no more than 30 feet from us. I knew it was going to be bad.
And a second later, I was looking all around trying to survey what just happened. I was still in control of the car, still going straight forward. I looked back in the rearview mirror and my 4-year old son was still sitting in the third row – just stunned – seemingly not in pain. The two younger girls in the second row had awoken from their naps and were crying. I remember yelling frantically “Is everyone okay? Is everyone okay?!”
I pulled off to the side of the road and got out quick, frantically trying to unlock the side door to check on the kids and unknowingly locking the doors again. Within a few seconds, I could tell that everyone was simply shaken, or rather jolted, but okay. I checked the back of the van which was completely smashed in – it looked like the exact imprint of the front of a semi going into the back of our van. My wife remembers being amazed that I had already opened the back trunk – but in fact then she realized that the daylight she saw shining in was the absence of our rear window.
Only once the initial adrenaline wore off did I feel the whiplash in my neck and head. As we adjusted to the new reality, it “hit me” for the first time that: “We got hit by a Semi Truck!” “I now know what it feels like to be hit by a Semi Truck!” And the best part of all – all five of us survived basically without a scratch! (I did get a tiny scratch when I brushed a piece of glass away after the crash.) In shock, that first day, we recounted that probably a hundred times – “We got hit by a Semi, but God protected us!”
Yes, we got hit by a Semi. There was a slow-down in traffic up ahead due to some kind of a farm vehicle, which I imagine is common in central Kansas. So I reasonably slowed down from 65 to 45 mph or so. I didn’t slam on my breaks or anything, but I looked in the mirror and it was obvious that the driver of the semi did not slow down from around 65 mph…until maybe the last second – but by then it was too late and he hit us square in the back.
Now, I have a science teaching degree and I know science – so I could tell you the physics of what happened – the force, the momentum, the acceleration, the impulse and the impact of the…impact! I could tell you that we got hit at precisely the perfect angle (dead on from behind) so that it didn’t cause us to spin out or roll. I could tell you that the extra stuff packed tight in the back had a part in cushioning the damage to the back. I can give a great testimonial to the fact that Honda did a great job engineering that vehicle to allow us to survive this type of impact. So all of this was the natural workings of the laws of physics acting out on simply physical things…But, still, I believe this was a miracle in our life!
In the weeks following the accident, I have heard numerous people tell me that they knew of or have heard of people who were hit by a semi and the results were fatally devastating. The math and physics say that we should have survived the crash – so there is no supernatural force stepping in here in the details of physics – but I believe that God allowed all of this to happen just so.
I can imagine hundreds of things that could have happened to change the timing of the day and thus to take us out of the path of that Semi – I even remember, a couple hours before, pulling over to finish my ice cream cone because it kept dripping “miraculously” fast. If I didn’t have to pull over then, we may not have seen that truck – at least not in the same location and in the same way.
Though there are accidents like this that you can explain simply and naturally with physics, I still believe that this accident was evidence to us of how great our God is! And that is the nature of evidence and science – there are scientific facts and numbers – example, sandstone is made of sand particles cemented together – but is that evidence of slow periods of slow accumulation or evidence for a quick accumulation due to a large flood of Biblical proportions? Scientific facts have to be interpreted to determine which hypothesis they are best evidence for. (You can see more of my favorite arguments for which hypothesis I think the scientific facts are evidence for – http://www.discovercreation.org/scientific-evidence-for-god/ ) And think about it, evidence cannot prove something 100% – remember, in the court of law, it is very reasonable to make a decision or sentence based on evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
You may even have an experience from your life where you think, “I could have (or should have) died.” Some people might simply say that they believe that the laws of nature/physics saved you. Notice that word believe in the previous sentence – it is synonymous with faith or trust – so those who claim to not be religious still have to have a belief system. In my belief system, I believe that either God allowed the situation to be just right that the laws of physics played out perfectly for you or that God could have also intervened miraculously. Either way, I believe that God wants you to be here right now reading this. He has more planned for your life! I believe it’s the same in our situation!
At this point, some of you might be thinking, “but why would a good, loving God cause you to get into an accident – what a waste of time and resources and money and potentially the loss of life or health?” I will say it has been very inconvenient, but I think God steps in and works in our lives to remind us of who He is and who we are! He reminds us that He is in control. I believe that He is using this accident to draw people to Himself – that they would be saved to eternal life and that He would be glorified.
God even showed how BIG He is in that, with some duct tape and a plastic sheet across the back window, we drove away from the accident. A pipe, I think for the radiator on the Semi snapped, so we broke the Semi and were able to drive away. God allowed us to get all the way back home without dealing with the hassles of a rental car, transferring a full vanload of stuff to a rental and getting our car towed back – we drove at least 800 miles back home with only slight reminders that anything was wrong!
But what about when God allows real pain and suffering and death??
Great question! God did not create us to have to endure extreme pain, suffering, and death!
Yes! If we look at what the Bible does say – in the beginning, God created all of the stuff in the Universe for His crowning act of creation – humans. Woah! He created Adam and Eve to walk with Him and to live life with Him in the Garden of Eden. He created us for that love and joy and peace and harmony. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, and their kids had never sinned, we would still be living in the Garden in perfect harmony and unity with all. God would have had to enlarge the Garden, but He could easily do that.
Unfortunately Adam and Eve sinned, just like we would have…just like we do all the time. We do what we know is wrong.
(Side note: The fact that we know what is right and wrong is evidence of God. Shame and guilt are evidence that there is a God. The fact that we know that things are not as they should be in this world is evidence of God. The ability to call something evil is evidence that there is a better purpose or a better way. If Naturalism were true – that we have all come about naturally through chance and natural processes over time, then we cannot say that anything is good or evil – it just is. If there is no God and if one “race” commits another “race” to complete genocide, we cannot ultimately label that as evil or wrong because this is just the process of evolution playing out as it has in the past.)
Continuing on, we are sinners and we also know that the “wages of sin is death.” So ultimately, we all deserve death. We are separated from God by our own deeds, but God still wants us to return to Him. So because the wages of sin is death, Jesus sacrifices Himself to death on the cross, even though He is God – He could have miraculously gotten Himself off the cross. But in humility, He took the punishment for the sins of the whole world and for them, He died on the cross. For us, He died on the cross, that “whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life”!!!!!
We (including Creation itself) are stuck in this world of pain and suffering and death, but God has made a way to get rid of all of that – that we may live forever with Him again in unending love, peace, joy, harmony, etc. It is now your choice. There are only two choices – to believe in Jesus and trust Him with your life or to choose not to follow “the way, the truth, and the life.” (If you are still struggling with the idea that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxX3kEJT88g)
I have been telling people that we were going to create a big bumper sticker for the van that said “We got hit by a Semi…but God protected us!” In telling that to people, one time, my 4-year old son added to it – he said that we should put on there “If you don’t believe in Jesus…you should.” We haven’t added that bumper sticker yet, but that is great advice from a 4-year old.
So, again the choice is yours. Wisdom from the mouth of a child: “If you don’t believe in Jesus…you should.”
(If you have questions about this or would like to talk more, please email me at: [email protected]. Please also read Aimee’s testimony of how God has worked out this experience in our life here: https://brianandaimeeforcreation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/that-time-we-got-hit-by-a-semi/)
By Brian Mariani