y wife, Felicia, and I were moving from the Philippines to Haiti, where I would continue to work for ADRA. We had a three-month vacation that we were spending around Collegedale, Tennessee, where our two youngest sons attended Southern Adventist University.
One Sabbath while Felicia was doing an afternoon presentation at a church, the boys and I drove a few miles to Oakridge, where I used to pastor.
On the return trip, we took a back road where we had to cross some railroad tracks. My youngest son, David, a fairly new driver, was behind the wheel. I said to him, "if there's a train coming, no matter how far away, let's stop and let it pass before crossing." He agreed.
Sure enough, when we were within sight of the tracks, we saw a long freight train coming our way. Since it was moving quite fast, I said "Let's stop, son."
But my son Chuck, in the back seat, told David to go. David, confused, decided to drive on.
As we pulled up on the tracks the car's engine died. By that time the train was getting close and beginning to sound its horn. David tried unsuccessfully to start the engine. He tried again. The train was bearing down on us.
I shouted, "Let's get out of here!"
Chuck threw open his door and ran back across the tracks. I opened my door and sprinted away. I remember thinking, "I'll be lucky to get out of this alive!
I imagined the train hitting the car and throwing it on top of me.
As I dashed forward and passed the front of the car, I thought, What about David? Did he actually get out of the car?
Then, to my great relief, the car sped past me and went on about 100 feet more and stopped. By that time, the train was passing. We later figured out it had missed the car's back bumper by only six to 12 inches.
After stopping the car, David got out and we hugged and cried, thanking God for saving us. Since then I've thought many times, Why, Lord, did you save us from death?
The answer has come slowly over the years. Although we can never totally understand our mysterious God, I can say with little doubt that God had a plan for us. Felicia and I served together after that for many years, helping many students and neighbors.
God has unlimited resources. He could easily helped those we helped, and more, without us. Yet, as we look back over our lives, Felicia and I are honored that He used us to reveal His faithfulness to others.
In His wisdom God steps in, sometimes saving us from death, sometimes allowing it.
And God is always there, utilizing our efforts in ways He sees best.
KidsView; to read the entire story, see pages 26-28 of the April 28, 2011, Adventist Review.