There is a phrase I am fond of saying, "I believe in God, therefore I believe in miracles." This brings me to my third and final column in a series devoted to events which helped strengthen my faith. Of the three, this one is my favorite because I went from someone who questioned God to a rock-solid believer.
The year was 1993. After a whirlwind courtship, my new fiance and I were on our way to check out Mackinac Island as a possible destination for our upcoming nuptials. To get there, we had to go through a small town called Gladstone in Upper Michigan, not far from the Wisconsin border. As we left Gladstone in his blue Ford Probe, we were behind a semitrailer that had pulled over into the right-hand turn lane.
From my passenger seat, I could see a small car full of laughing teenagers at a stop sign about to cross the highway. The driver, unaware we were behind the semitrailer, started to pull into the intersection. I knew there was going to be an accident with some serious injuries, if not deaths. There was no way we were going to avoid hitting this car.
Turning to look at my fiance, I was about to tell him, "I love you," thinking they would be my last words on earth. Instead of seeing someone worried or in a panic, I saw someone completely at peace.
It was during this moment when time slowed way down, it became eerily quiet and I felt the car glide smoothly to the right to go around the vehicle full of kids. Turning my attention back to the road, I was relieved we had miraculously avoided an accident but was sure that as soon as we hit the gravel on the side of the road, our car would fishtail and we would end up in the ditch - alive but badly shaken. But that didn't happen either. The car continued to glide over the gravel and back onto the highway. I was surprised I didn't hear or feel the pavement underneath the tires.
After a few seconds, however, I felt the concrete under the car, the radio came back on and I could hear the wind blasting past my window. Turning around to see that the other vehicle had safely crossed the highway, I asked my fiance, "Are you OK?"
He responded, "Yes, you?"
"Yeah," I whispered, falling silent for a few moments before adding, "You know, we were lucky there wasn't a telephone pole or something on the side of the road because we would have hit it." He agreed and that was pretty much the end of the conversation.
The next morning after checking out the island, we headed back home, traveling the same route we had taken the day before. As we came into Gladstone, we took note of the intersection where the incident had taken place. We were both stunned to see not only a telephone pole but also a couple of road signs where we had driven to avoid the small car. We both wondered aloud, "How did we miss those?"
It took awhile for it to sink in but when I describe what happened to us that day, it felt like the hand of God came down and lifted our vehicle ever so gently, glided it around the small car, over the gravel and gently set us down on the highway.
Since then, when I pray in times of crisis or hear other people talk about events that they say can only be explained as miraculous, I am not surprised. Why? Because I believe in God, therefore I believe in miracles.