Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Things That Go "Bump!" in the Night

In the last year we have written and sent out 6 different letters having to do with our journey to serving in Uganda with Mission Aviation Fellowship.  On each one of them we have had a small section titled "Prayer and Praise", where we list several prayer requests and also share some items that we are thankful for.  Many times the items that we list in the prayer section are what I'll call here "small" items; items that aren't glamorous, miraculous, or newsworthy.  One such item that has made an appearance many times is "Safety in Travels".  The reason that we ask for people to pray for this so much is that as we have been raising support for MAF over the last year we have put many, many miles on our van.  When traveling around so much it is inevitable that we will find ourselves driving during poor road conditions or in various situations that are less than ideal.

Lately I have been noticing many of these "little" answers to prayer.  One such incident happened last night as I was traveling from our home to go and play hockey with my team.  It is about a half hour drive on the highway to where we play our home games.  For those of you who may not understand, by "highway" I mean a two lane, paved road.  This isn't an interstate or multi-laned divided highway.  One lane travels in one direction, and the other is traveling the other way.  Now that we have established what I am talking about by "highway", let me continue. 

Last night I was driving in to the hockey game.  About 10 minutes out from our place I dimmed my lights as I approached a vehicle headed the other direction.  Just after I had dimmed my lights I caught site of a deer just walking into my lane from the ditch.  It had it's head turned in the direction of the oncoming vehicle and as far as I could tell it was unaware of my vehicle bearing down on it from the other direction.  Because I had my lights dimmed, I had much less reaction time than I would have had otherwise.  I mashed on the brakes as I swerved left about half way into the oncoming lane.  Thankfully, the other vehicle was far enough away that there was plenty of room for my evasive maneuvers.  I mentioned that the deer was looking the other way.  Just before I went flashing past the deer I saw it put on it's own brakes.  Over the course of years I have seen this several other times as well.  You can't grow up here and drive around without having your own fair share of close encounters of the cloven hoofed kind.  Typically on a paved road the front legs lock and extend out in front of the animal as it scrambles for the needed traction between hooves and pavement.  Occasionally I've seen the back hooves slide out as the animal strives to overcome the effects of inertia and reverse it's course across the road.  Last night was a little bit different, though. 

Wile E. Coyote VS Fake Tunnel
Remember those road-runner cartoons when Road Runner goes running through the fake tunnel being chased by Wile E. Coyote?  After Road Runner goes through the tunnel, Wile E. gives it a shot but ends up plastered against the cliff wall.  This was the image that flashed past my passenger side window last night.  It wasn't a normal looking about-face that was conducted by my friend the deer last night, but was more reminiscent of a deer hitting an invisible wall at high speed face first.  Very "Wile E".  I've never seen anything like it before.  Especially from a deer that was looking the other way.

There was more about this event that was different as well.  This isn't the first close call that I've had with deer on the road.  Several years ago I was driving out in the early pre-dawn darkness to go hunting with a friend.  All of a sudden the headlights illuminated not one, but a whole herd of deer on the road in front of us.  There was nowhere to go, and reflex kicked in.  I think that the rear view mirrors probably shaved hair off of numerous different deer as we screeched and careened wildly through that herd that morning.  Several seconds after exiting the far side of the herd without hitting even one of them, the adrenaline glands kicked in and the sudden whoosh of adrenaline through my system left me literally shaking in my seat.  Seconds after that I felt the pain in my throat as a result of the screeching.  This has been the typical reaction of my body when this type of thing has happened then as well as on several occasions since that time.  Last night, no such thing.  If anything, my heart rate slowed and I relaxed even more than I was before.  Again, I've never experienced anything similar in that situation before.  It was several miles down the road before the calm, relaxed feeling went away. 

Moose VS car
Some of you may be wondering why it matters to me that I didn't hit a deer (How big of a deal is it really?).  Well, on my way home after playing hockey I came upon two vehicles pulled over on the side of the road with their hazard lights flashing.  At that time of night (midnight) that can't mean anything good.  I stopped to make sure that everything was all right.  The gentleman had been driving and had hit a moose.  He was fine, the moose was dead, and he was waiting with another gentleman for the tow truck to come and take him home and his destroyed truck to the wreckers.  For those of you who still may not understand what hitting these animals can do to a vehicle, I found a random internet picture (right) to help you understand.  Would this have happened if I hit that deer?  Probably not, but vehicle vs animal is never without damage to both.

Does God reach down and intervene in our lives on a day-to-day, "small item" basis?  Absolutely.  Looking back I can see many times where He has answered our "little" prayers.  Often they are such small things that we forget to even say "thank you" or acknowledge His work day to day in our lives.  Often we don't even realize that anything has even happened.  That's the reason that I thought I would write this little blurb.  To God be the glory for every small thing He does for us every day. 

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