There are some things that instantly cause my stomach to knot and my pulse to race, and that’s heights, the threat of car accidents, and journeying into the unknown. Today my friend and fellow ACFW author, Gail Pollatta, combines three of my most intense fears into a post that made me cringe, and think, and rejoice in the God who stays with us on every winding, uncertain, and unsettling road. As you read her account of a very frightening night, pause to remember the God who sees you even in the dark and who hears you even when you utter not a sound.
As an added bonus, she’s giving away a copy of her novel, Stopped Cold, to one lucky reader chosen randomly from the comments left on today’s post.
Prayers of the Heart by Gail Pallotta
I believe God answers prayers from our hearts even if we don’t say them out loud. One such prayer started on a frigid mountain road in the North Carolina hills when I was in my twenties. I was riding home from school with two friends when a cold rain started to fall.
We had the radio tuned to the college station, but we lost reception, probably because of the worsening weather. An eerie quiet hovered around us. I glanced over at my friend driving the car. I’ll call her Mandy.
She gripped the steering wheel, her body visibly tense. That was out of character for the tall, dark-haired beauty who was the epitome of grace and calm. “The road seems slick. I guess it’s covered in water. It’s hard to see,” she said.
I knew the drive took us along a steep, rocky drop-off on our right because I’d ridden by it many times in broad daylight. But I had no idea whether or not we’d reached it. Only our headlights cut into the black of night. Other than having a sense of the road beneath us, we could have been floating in black space.
Our co-ed in the backseat…I’ll call her Amy…said, “I can’t stand the silence and not knowing where we are. Could we sing or something?”
“Sure. What song?” Mandy asked.
‘How about the hymn, He Leadeth Me?” The suggestion seemed like a good idea at the time, and looking back on the circumstance, I’d say it probably came from a prayer in my heart.
“Okay,” Amy said. Then, she started the song, and we joined in.
All of a sudden the car slid to the right.
Mandy screamed. “The rain’s turned to ice. The road’s frozen.”
“Turn into the slide,” I said.
“I’m trying,” Mandy hollered as the vehicle veered more to the right.
“O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!” Amy kept singing.
The sedan turned sideways and slipped across the highway while scooting down the steep grade fast as though it had gotten caught on an oil slick. Amy and I gasped.
“Keep singing,” Mandy said.
“Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.”
We sang as the car skidded in the dark, the headlights swirling toward an unknown place.
All of a sudden a thud jarred us. The vehicle stopped, and the motor rattled, the wipers scraping ice pellets off the windshield. The headlights shone on the trunk of a huge hardwood tree growing above the edge of the cliff. I slumped in my seat as we sat speechless for what seemed like an hour, but must have been only a few minutes.
Mandy pulled back on the highway. As we crept down the mountain to a lower elevation the ice turned back to rain.
We arrived at our homes shaken but safe. I can’t help but wonder if the three of us had had the same prayer in our hearts.
Seven other travelers went over the cliff and died that night.
* * *
Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her teen book, Stopped Cold, was a best-seller on All Romance eBooks, finished fourth in the Preditors and Editors readers’ poll, and was a finalist for the 2013 Grace Awards. She’s published short stories in “Splickety” magazine and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Readers can find her on the internet on the staff of Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles.blogspot.com, at her blog, http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com, on her Web Site, http://www.gailpallotta.com on Authors and More on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorsandmore and twitter, Gail Pallotta @Hopefulwords
Her novel, Stopped Cold:
Teen Margaret McWhorter, a freshman in high school in Mistville, North Carolina, enjoys flirting with her first romantic interest, swimming and hanging out with friends. Then her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now, he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a football star, but a fire of hate burns inside her to find the criminals. While she, her heartthrob and best friend look for them, she calls on her Christian faith, asking God to cure Sean, heal the hate and open her heart to love.
Check out her next novel, Mountain of Love and Danger, available on preorder, here:
Let’s talk about this! I can think of numerous times when I knew God had reached down to pull me out of a dangerous (physically or spiritually) situation and many other times when I knew He’d placed me in the perfect place at the perfect time for an amazing reason. And yet, I suspect there are many other times when He was working behind the scenes, guiding me, or perhaps delaying me, in order to keep me on that good and perfect path He has marked out for me.
He does that for all of us, because that is the kind of gentle, attentive Father He is.
What emotions did you feel as you read Gail’s testimony? What went through your mind? Can you share a similar time when you knew God alone had kept you from something harmful? Can you share a time when He led you toward immense blessing? How might remembering those times help you the next time you face an uncertain or frightening situation?
Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Face on Facebook. (Which, by the way, begs the question, are you and I friends on FB? If not, why is that? ;0 Let’s connect! You can find me here.
Before you go, however, I encourage you to read my friend, Diana Prusik’s post on Faith-filled Friends as she too experienced a rather frightening car ride recently. You can read her post titled Angels in Disguise here.
And for those of you who are curious to know how Takin’ it to the Streets first annual Hope for the Homeless event went–it was a huge success! We raised over $3,000 and gained a lot of exposure with the help of KCRO AM 660, a great article in the Omaha World Herald, and a short clip that aired on KETV7. You can read more about the event, and an encounter that, to me, meant more than any money raised, here, and you can read the Herald article here.