Death Missed, By A Fraction Of A Second!

05:10 am, December 1, 2012 
Newport Tennessee, 40E 440 Exit, Head on Collision?

On Christmas Eve of 1986, my wife, Tari, and I were driving through Chicago with our two daughters, Naomi and Lydia, ages four and two. We were traveling to Kankakee for Christmas to spend time with Grandpa Dygert for the holidays. The night was dark and drizzly as we embarked along the I-94 Dan Ryan Expressway. We were following a white Cadillac, when suddenly it stopped abruptly causing us to rear end the vehicle. The accident resulted in a six car pile-up, miraculously, with no injuries. Tari’s dad had to come and pick us up from an auto wrecking yard on the south side of Chicago. We were thankful for God watching over us and protecting us that drizzly Christmas Eve night.
Today, our children are grown. Our oldest daughter, Naomi, is married to her wonderful husband Paul. They have been blessed with a beautiful daughter, who was 16 months old, and as of November 28, 2012, Naomi was expecting their second child any day. They lived in North Carolina where Paul was attending Ambassador Baptist Bible College to take Pastoral classes. 
The rest of us live in Wisconsin, where we have resided for over 30 years. Lydia, our younger daughter, still lives with us and is busy working as a nurse and in church ministry, while studying for her master’s degree to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. 

November 30th, 2012

On Friday, November 30th, Tari, Lydia and I left Wisconsin to travel to North Carolina to visit Paul and Naomi, hoping the new baby would arrive while we were visiting. This trip marked our fourth trip to North Carolina since Paul and Naomi had moved there, so we were used to the route and knew it would be a long haul. Actually, we have driven this route more than four times, because my wife is a Bible quiz coach at Mukwonago Baptist Academy, and we have taken numerous trips down to Greenville, SC to compete at the National Bible Quiz meet. For this trip, thankfully, we had three adults who could alternate driving to allow for rest periods. Our vehicle, a Chrysler Town and Country 2006 minivan had the back row seats down, filled with gifts for our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, including 125 lbs. of wheat, flour, and rice. My wife and daughter drove through Kentucky, and then I took over driving again in Tennessee.  Driving late at night and early in the morning is nice because of the decreased amount of traffic; however, there are always a lot of semi-trucks driving on the highway at night. The winding road of I-40 from Newport, TN to Ashville, NC can be challenging with the ascending and descending turns of the divided four-lane highway over the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The semis are required to stay in the right outside lane. For the most part the speed limit is 45 mph along that route, but the Knoxville to Newport stretch is fairly straight with a speed limit of 70 mph. At this part of our journey, it was already December 1st and 4 o’clock in the morning. We had just passed the Knoxville exits. I was driving in the left lane to avoid being behind semis. The weather was calm and clear at this point in time and my wife and daughter were sound asleep. Unusually, there were no red tail lights to be seen in front of me or behind me. I figure we were less than half a mile from the I-40E 440 exit near Newport, TN when I saw amber lights ahead that were very faint. Apparently, there was a vehicle headed towards us in my lane. I hardly had time to process the situation, when I quickly swerved into the right lane without even looking to see if there were any vehicles. We missed a head-on collision with that vehicle by a fraction of a second. My wife and daughter were jolted awake wondering what was going on. As we pulled off the interstate, my daughter quickly called 9-1-1 at 5:10 a.m. to inform them that a car was traveling westbound on the eastbound interstate. We were all shaken up with adrenaline rushing, but thanking the Lord for His protection. Soon after we pulled back on the interstate, my sister in California called, which would have been a little after 3:00 a.m. her time. We had talked to her earlier when we were passing through Cincinnati, but this time she called sensing something was wrong. She was right, something was wrong; we had just nearly avoided a head-on collision at a possible closing speed of 130 plus mph. Three hours later we reached our destination and greeted our family with hugs and kisses.
On Sunday, December 2nd at 5:25 a.m., our grandson, Nathan Donald, was born. He weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. and was 20 ½ inches long. Almost 24 hours after an incident that could have brought tragedy to our family, we were finally able to see our grandson and nephew. We are eternally grateful to God for preserving our lives.
After returning home to Wisconsin on December 5th, we shared with our church family during the Wednesday evening prayer service how the Lord had preserved us to be able to share and experience the special occasion of Nathan’s birth. 
Later, I had a chance to reflect on the incident, not that I was not thinking about it driving home from North Carolina, because I was, but it was not until Wednesday evening that I researched the internet to see if there was an incident following what we experienced. 
My doubts were tragically turned into a confirmation of what could have happened to us. A tragedy that was sadly experienced by another family, approximately, a mile and a half behind us. A drunk driver, traveling the wrong direction on the interstate with only parking lights on, was bound to hit someone.  Surely, he hit them even while we were talking to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. Literally, a couple of minutes behind us, a family was destroyed and forever changed as a mother’s life was taken into eternity.  
Many stories like this happen over and over again, which brings us to reflect that our lives are fragile.  We never know when it is our appointed time to die. Our lives were spared, only by the grace of God, who has a purpose for us to accomplish yet on earth. It could have been my appointed time to die and be with my Lord and Savior, but I was spared and had the opportunity to see my grandson.

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God’s Word says:
The brevity of life: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (James 4:14)”
Man’s Appointment:  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Heb. 9:27)”
Our Assurance of Salvation: Our family, was preserved, we know that if God had so chosen to take us that tragic day, we would spend eternity with Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12)
What about you? Have you acknowledged that you are sinner? “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) “ For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23a)
God’s Gift of Eternal Life: “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23b)
God’s Sacrifice: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)
Call Upon Him! “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom 10:13) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom 10:9) “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:10)
There is no other way to be saved from Hell! “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Don’t Delay! “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (II Cor 6:2) “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20)

Copyright © 2013, Wayne C. Bird