I’d like to say I took it in my stride. That I ran straight to all my mates, hands raised in praises and hallelujahs. Realistically, I sat in the ambulance sobbing—and I spent the next few days staring into space and moving from bed to chair to couch to floor.
It’s not the first time this has happened. A year ago I found myself in the same situation. Driver’s side destroyed, 180 spin-out in the middle of the road and not a single injury. The tow-truck arrived and, like the most recent event, my car was described as a ‘should’ve been a fatality’. In the days that followed, I was approached by family, friends and work colleagues, all saying how I was blessed and favoured and how it was a miracle.
I knew that. I knew that it was best I hadn’t died. I knew it would’ve destroyed the other guy had I been hurt. I knew that God wasn’t ready for me yet. I knew I would recover.
But I also knew that deep down I wished I’d been physically hurt, because then I’d have a reason to be a mess.
In a crash, your whole world spins out. You may leave it feeling shaken, hurt, confused and maybe even betrayed. Questions of ‘why me?’ and ‘what if?’ may flood your mind. You may even feel guilty about these feelings–I did. For me, knowing I’d experienced a miracle and yet still feeling angry at God felt like throwing His love back in His face.
Back in 1 Kings 17, things were looking pretty good. God had provided him with food and provisions. A young boy he’d prayed for had come back to life. Move to 1 Kings 18 and there’s that awesome moment when Elijah challenged 900+ false prophets to show their gods were real. The prophets sang and danced and sacrificed but no answer. When it was Elijah’s turn he set up his altar, flooded in with water, and then called on God to set it ablaze. Then a bunch of rad things happened including the breaking of a drought. Yep, 1 Kings 18 was a mega win for Elijah.
The opposition got really moving and Elijah was so afraid, he ran for his life. It got to the point where in 1 Kings 19:4 he called out to God ‘I have had enough, Lord…Take my life…’
Seriously. God had just performed a couple of huge miracles. He’d shown he had Elijah’s back and that Elijah had His favour. And yet Elijah found himself worn out and wanting it all to end.
And that’s how I felt after both my miracles. I knew God had my back. But it was tough and tiring. But what I love is that God didn’t just leave Elijah in that place.
In 1 Kings 19:5–9 God sends an angel to provide Elijah with food and water. He eats and drinks twice. After the second time, he’s so strengthened he travels forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. There he spends a night in the cave.
It’s in that cave God appears. Elijah explains his frustrations at being the only prophet left.
This is where it gets really cool. 1 Kings 19:11–13 goes: ‘The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.’
The reason I love this is that so often we seek God in the big huge things. But He wasn’t in the earthquake or the roaring winds. He was in the gentle whisper.
I don’t know what your crash looks like. Maybe it’s a car, just like mine. Maybe it’s a friendship crash. A family breakdown, an addiction, work issues or health problems. But I know that whatever it is, God is there with you. Just like Elijah, He’ll provide what you need. God didn’t make Elijah get up straight away, He didn’t say: ‘Oi, I just did a miracle! Have some faith; don’t be a sook,’ but rather He sent Elijah what he needed and gave him space to eat and to rest. Then He spoke.
Our God is the God of grace. He knows it’s hard, He knows crashes are tough no matter what form and in those moments we can trust Him. Know that God is not done with you and never will be.