Thursday, April 18 2024 - 2:03 AM
red car crash
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Calling for Help

Thirty years ago, my wife Roberta had a “rebirth” experience.  Let me explain:

She and I had been married for five years and were living in New York State when it happened. She was on her way to work when a kitten walked across the roadway into the path of her vehicle. Roberta swerved to miss the little animal. Because it was raining that day (and wet autumn leaves were in the road), Roberta lost control of her vehicle. Our 1980 Pontiac Gran Prix careened off the road, hit a tree, and flipped upside down into a swollen creek that was rapidly rising.

Hanging on for Life

My wife ended up sitting on the ceiling of the now overturned car, and (as she describes it), she could feel the life going out of her lower extremities. It was a very frightening situation (as you can well imagine). To make matters worse, the fall foliage and roadside saplings had sprung back up to totally obscure anyone from the road seeing her accident. She was in major trouble!

Somehow, she was able to smash out the window with a heavy soda pop bottle. She pulled herself through the broken window and hung onto the tree trunk which she had struck (which was now also laying across the creek). Roberta has always been athletic, and she found herself hanging on (with her arms over her head, and fingers locked around the trunk) for almost four hours.

Her situation was bleak and seemed almost hopeless to her.

Remember, this accident took place during a time period when almost no one had a cell phone, so she was unable to call for help. The accident scene was pretty invisible from the road because of the autumn foliage, and she was holding onto a tree trunk in the pouring rain. Her body temperature was plummeting, and her back was broken (her L-1 vertebrae was shattered into tiny fragments). Her lower extremities were in the cold water of the swollen creek.  She was almost certain that she was going to die on October 23, 1990.

Roberta’s Prayer

Believing that she was at the end of her life, Roberta began to pray.

I’ve heard this story over and over again over the last 30 years, but it causes me to tear up every single time. We were not Christians, but Roberta and I both believed that there was a God. She began to pray to the God of heaven. Her prayer was a simple one: “God, I know that I have not served You, and I don’t deserve any grace from You. If you are not done with me in this life, please send someone to help me.  If that is not Your will for me, please remember me in Your kingdom, and give me eternal life.”

Not long after she prayed that prayer, Roberta heard a vehicle shifting down.

She later learned that it was a meter reader who worked at the electric company. He was shifting down to pull into a driveway that was not far from where my wife had wrecked her vehicle. Roberta began to use what little strength she had left to scream for help.

Help Comes

The man’s name is Bob Seidel. I cannot count the times that I have thanked God for this kind and gentle soul. He heard my wife screaming, told her to keep calling for help so that he could locate her, and eventually found her…barely alive. He waded out into that cold creek and tenderly wrapped my wife in his coat….and ran to call for help.

An ambulance made its way to the scene of the accident, and my wife was saved from certain death.

My wife is still in a wheelchair, but she is VERY MUCH alive.  We have now been together for 37 years, we have three children (which the doctors told her could never happen), and she is now the wife of a pastor.

There’s more to this story!

The God that we serve can also be a God of miracles, and I marvel every time I think of what happened that day. Bob was not supposed to be in that area.

What We Learned…

We later learned the following:

1.  Bob wasn’t supposed to be out on a route on this particular morning. The weather was not cooperating, and he had taken the morning off.

2.  He was sitting inside watching television at his home (some 30 miles away) that morning when he heard an audible voice telling him to go and read the meter at the address near my wife’s accident.

3.  He tried to pass off the voice as just his imagination until the voice became so incredibly strong and compelling, he felt he had to go to this address and read the meter.

4.  This address that he was told to go to was NOT even on his usual route!

Bob and his wife Carol were making their way through our state in 2016, and we all had a chance to sit down at a restaurant for a meal together. Roberta was reunited with the man who allowed God to work through him and give her another “rebirth” experience.

Willingness to Help

We all went out to eat when they visited. My 17-year-old son, Michael, and I sat directly across from Bob at the restaurant. As we ate together, it occurred to me that if this man had not listened to God’s voice that morning so long ago, I would not be sitting beside my boy. My eyes filled up with tears and I said, “Bob, it was because of you that my son is sitting here with me today. None of my children would have been born if it wasn’t for you saving my wife’s life back in 1990.”

What Bob said next took my breath away. Bob looked into my eyes, and he teared up as he quietly responded, “It wasn’t me…it was Him!”  Bob was pointing upward as he spoke. He gave all the glory to God as quickly as I had thanked him for saving the life of my bride.

Bob Seidel is a hero to my family.

Bob doesn’t feel like an extraordinary person, but my family sees him as one. He was willing to listen and respond to the voice of God on October 23, 1990.  I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for the willingness to help that Bob had, and to follow God’s urging voice that morning.

We serve an amazing Heavenly Father!

If you liked this, you might also like Saved By His Mercy | An Accident Nearly Took My Life But Grace Saved Me 

Michael Temple writes from North Dakota.

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About Michael Temple

Michael Temple

writes from Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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