79: The Rush of Angel’s Wings

79: The Rush of Angel’s Wings

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

The Rush of Angel’s Wings

Prayer at its highest is a two-way conversation, and for me the most important part is listening to God’s replies.

~Frank C. Laubach

I was bone-weary as I crawled into the vehicle. It had been several long, exhausting months at our mission in Haiti. We’d said goodbye to the last work team and now were heading home ourselves. Several projects had been completed, hundreds of hungry children had been fed, and now my husband, my cousin, and I were eager to get back to Canada. Christmas preparations would be in full swing when we returned, and that meant precious family time — something we dearly missed while working so far away. Those weeks at home would pass quickly, though, and before long it would be time to head back to Haiti, so we were anxious to be on our way.

The journey from our mission compound to the airport in Port au Prince is long and often dangerous. Travel in this third-world country is very different from what we appreciate in North America. All one needs for a driver’s license in Haiti is to pay the fee — no test necessary. Lessons on road safety do not factor into the experience.

The one traffic light in the capital city is often moved around in hopes someone will actually stop for the red, but usually to no avail, making intersections a blend of confusion and terrifying close calls. While traffic on these pothole-infused roads is always heavy, there are also no speed limits or rules. Anyone can pass at anytime and the narrow road can have four or five cars abreast going in both directions and traveling at breakneck speeds. Over the years, we have become somewhat numb to it. Still, the sixty-mile drive to the airport is always a concern.

My husband and I started this mission in 2006, and after several hair-raising events on the roads we made a conscious decision to stop and pray before starting each journey across the country. This particular trip was no different. Before climbing into our chauffeured vehicle, we stood, held hands, bowed our heads and asked for God’s protection — specifically requesting angels to go before us and behind us. Little did we know the incredible way this prayer was about to be answered.

As always, the roads that day were very busy. Our driver seemed quite anxious to get us through the traffic and to the airport on time, so we moved swiftly down the bumpy highway. We swerved around taptaps — old half-ton trucks reconstructed to seat twenty-five to thirty passengers on benches, with live goats and chickens dangling from the sides — and passed motorbike taxis with families of four or five on board, as well as the occasional beat-up school bus stuffed with people inside and cargo piled on the roof.

Suddenly, we found ourselves behind an extremely large truck pulling a long flatbed trailer. Swaying on top of the trailer directly in front of us was a monstrous machine. Through the layers of caked-on mud we saw a huge road grader, the largest we’d ever seen. It spanned our entire side of the road, and with steady oncoming traffic, there was no way around it. Although the gigantic machine did not seem to be safely secured, we had no choice but to tuck in behind it and wait for an opportunity to pass.

Conversation between the three of us had come to an abrupt halt as we focused on the unsteady piece of equipment. It pitched and swayed back and forth, and the chains that supposedly secured it flopped dangerously about. Suddenly, there was an ear-splitting explosion. We watched two huge back tires blow off the flatbed trailer, instantly becoming deadly airborne projectiles headed straight for our front windshield. In that split second, we knew we were looking death in the face.

Then the unimaginable happened. At the last minute, as though struck by an unseen hand, one tire veered off to the right side of our car, whizzing past my window, and the other tire swerved around the left side, flashing past my husband’s. The force of them was so powerful and close that we could feel the gust of wind rock our vehicle and smell the burning rubber as they flew by. After they passed us, the massive, wayward tires fell on opposite sides of the road and burst into flames.

In that moment of silence, I could have sworn I heard the gentle rush of angels’ wings. No one spoke for a few seconds until my husband said, “Did that really just happen?”

I could do nothing more than nod my head.

There was no denying we had just experienced a miracle, narrowly escaping death. That simple prayer spoken before we left had been answered in a most miraculous way.

Now, not only do we always pray before traveling those dangerous roads, we also pray before leaving our compound to walk through the village or to head up a mountain trail on the back of a motorbike. We ask for protection against falling mangoes, infected mosquitoes, biting dogs, raging rivers and any other dangers seen or unseen.

Praying now has a new authenticity for us, a greater urgency, and today we feel as never before that our very lives depend on it.

~Heather Rodin

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