I have recently celebrated the eighth anniversary of my `near-death' automobile accident. In case you haven't heard about it, here is the brief rendition. It was a snowy evening in Rockford, Illinois, my hometown. I fell asleep while driving home from my younger daughter's wedding. Our entire family was going to spend some time together at our house with the bride and groom before James and Michelle were to leave for their honeymoon. I never made it home that night. Instead, my car hit a snow bank and was thrown up into the air where it hit a tree five feet off the ground. When it hit the tree, my face hit the steering column, pushing my face back into my head. I was immediately unconscious and I have no memories of the rest of the month. I later found out that I had been involved in a serious accident. I was given a two per cent probability of survival. I spent the next eleven weeks in the hospital with severe face and head injuries. I had one month on the respirator . . . a tracheotomy and jaws wired together for three months . . . surgeries . . . but praise God, I made it and I am doing well.
Each year, Evie and I have a celebratory anniversary of the accident. On the first anniversary, a few of my Barnabas colleagues gathered around the tree to sing and pray. As we arrived at the tree, it still had a huge bruise, really permanently injured, I guess. This year on the anniversary day, we were out of the state and out of the country. When we returned to our home, we listened to our phone messages. One of them stated, "Hi Lareau. This is Kristen. I've been thinking a lot about you today. Happy Anniversary." And you ask, "Who's Kristen?" She was one of the first strangers to stop at the scene of the accident. When she came to the car, she saw others. She saw two men who had opened the car door, shut off the engine, unbuckled my seatbelt, and rolled down my window. She asked them to keep talking to me to keep my mind active as she went to telephone the medics to come for me. As she went to place the call, I stopped breathing and they called, "Nurse, Nurse . . . he's not breathing!" She hurried back, pounded and massaged my heart. Soon I was breathing again. But again I stopped breathing and she got me going again. Humanly speaking, she was God's agent at a desperate time in my life.
Thank God for this Christian nurse.
The Rockford papers, radio and TV stations carried the story of my accident and of my `angel.' She became uncomfortable with all the attention and recognition that was given to her. As I recall she won awards of courage from both the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. She didn't feel she deserved the `hero-status' that had been heaped on her. She, with the help of a friend, wrote a short paper entitled PROVIDENCE. Let me quote a couple of things she states in this article . . .
"I believe that the Lord orchestrated the events of that night."
"I don't believe in luck, chance, or coincidence."
"I truly believe that God placed me in the right place and at the right time." She states this two times in the short article.
Here's what God has said to me through Kristen's article. God truly is totally involved in our lives. Yes, He orchestrates the events of our lives. He is sovereign. Indeed we ought to get rid of trite, erroneous words such as "chance, luck, and coincidence." Also these phrases ought to get out of our thinking . . . "it just happened" and "it came out of the blue."
Kristen refused to take glory that belonged to God. She would not grab credit for something that He did. That night she was "in the right place at the right time."
My prayer: "Oh, God! I, too, want to live with a greater desire to always be available to You . . . and I want to always know that You have placed me in the right place at the right time. This I also ask for my readers of this ENCOURAGEMENT letter. In Jesus Name, Amen."
Founder, Senior Associate
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