56: The Unexpected Miracle

56: The Unexpected Miracle

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

The Unexpected Miracle

The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.

~G.K. Chesterton

I wake up each morning and take a few minutes to pray that my two sons will be safe, make the best choices, and have everything they need. My younger son, Jeremy, is a construction worker building bridges and is keenly aware of having what is needed at all times. He had taken his Boy Scout training to heart and learned well the motto of being prepared.

One frigid cold January evening that training proved very valuable, when a man in our town had a terrible accident. He was driving home after a twelve-hour shift at the plant and he took a shortcut on a back road that was not well traveled. The man’s wife was off work, and she was preparing an evening meal. His two small children were playing and waiting for their daddy. The man looked forward to his warm house, a comforting dinner and some bedtime stories with his family.

The evening was already dark when a deer suddenly jumped onto the road and into the bright headlights of the man’s truck. He tried to avoid hitting the animal, but his sudden jerk on the steering wheel sent his truck off the road and over an embankment where he crashed into a tree and slid into the lake. As the truck caught fire, the man struggled to pull himself out of the burning vehicle and then out of the freezing water. He lay on the bank and shivered uncontrollably as he watched his truck explode. As he tells it, this felt like his last day on earth.

At the same time, Jeremy went to pick up his daughter, who had spent the afternoon with a friend. At the last minute, he decided to drive his wife’s SUV instead of his pickup, and he grabbed his overstuffed backpack from his truck. Because of his construction job and Boy Scout training, Jeremy is always prepared with that loaded backpack. He has been teased for toting that load around.

Jeremy and my granddaughter had never traveled this particular way at night. It was growing dark, but she wanted an empty road to practice her driving.

My granddaughter was behind the wheel when they saw a huge ball of flames burst orange above the trees. As she drove closer, they could smell the burning fumes. She stopped the car, and they got out. Looking over the embankment, they stared in shock at the remains of a burning vehicle.

“Help me!” a voice screamed. It was darker now and hard to see who was calling out.

“Please! Please help me!” A stranger climbed up the bank toward them. He shivered so violently it was nearly impossible to understand his words.

Jeremy helped the man into the heated seat of the SUV, helping him out of his frozen, wet clothing and giving him dry clothes from the backpack. Then he wrapped him in a blanket and called 911. Within a few long minutes, Fire Rescue arrived, and the stranger was transported to the hospital.

The stranger was a young man, exactly my son’s age. And, like my son, his name was Jeremy. He was released later that night from the hospital with an injured shoulder and some bumps and bruises, but so grateful to go home to his family.

Two Jeremys, two families, and one deserted road at exactly the right time.

And now when I wake up each morning to pray for my sons, I think of all the events that occurred to make a miracle possible. My son and his daughter chose that deserted road, and the stranger’s vehicle exploded after he had gotten out — just in time for the flames to serve as a signal for help. It truly was a miracle of timing and divine intervention.

~Linda J. Hawkins

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