Take my Hand

Joannie Cayce reports that the people in Thornton received over 10,000 toothbrushes and more than 3000 tubes of toothpaste for the Christmas collection, in addition to the toys, socks and other items mentioned here in previous messages. I wish I could hug every one of you who sent anything or prayed for the success of this year's giveaway. Because of you, over 50 families (with two to ten children each) had Christmas. Thanks again.

And now for the Story: It was the evening after Christmas, 1998. The people in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia had had a white Christmas, which was an unusual occurrence there. Lana Burns was on her way home from visiting a friend. She had basically "stopped going to church except for special occasions," she says, and wasn't thinking about much of anything as she drove. Despite the snow, the roads were absolutely clear and dry. But as Lana went around one of the many curves, the bright lights of an oncoming truck seemed to come out of nowhere, headed right toward her. "My instinct was to go to my right, and get out of the way of certain death," she says, "but as I swerved, my right fender grazed a small tree. When I felt the "hit" on the right, I jerked the car left." The sudden motion caused Lana's car to roll onto its side. The vehicle slid in the snow, then flipped upside down in a field, several yards from the highway.

Lana had been conscious throughout, and had found herself praying that no other vehicle would be approaching, so she would not be the cause of someone else being hurt. God had obviously answered her prayer, she realized now, as she looked around. But she couldn't get out of the car. She was too far away from the road to be seen in the dark. "And I was suddenly terrified that the car would catch on fire."

Lana tried to calm herself. She listened for traffic but the silence was terrible. No sounds of a car, no footsteps crunching the snow...how would she ever get out? "God, please send help," she whispered. Suddenly,, a man's hand appeared through the broken passenger window. "Take my hand," Lana heard him say. "Everything will be all right."

Where had he come from? Lana wasn't going to ask questions. Instead, she grasped his hand and an overwhelming joy encompassed her. "I couldn't see him, but his hand was warm and strong, and I knew I was safe," she says.

Within a few moments, Lana heard the sound of people yelling to her, and asking if she was okay. The first people on the scene turned out to be a doctor and a nurse. The nurse climbed in the car through the window and stayed with Lana until the paramedics arrived. Somehow, in all the confusion, Lana lost hold of the man's hand.

But she hadn't forgotten him. "Where is the first man, the one that was holding my hand when you arrived?" She asked the nurse, as she was bundled into the ambulance.

"There was no one with you," the nurse assured Lana. "My husband and I were the first ones on the scene."

"No," Lana insisted. "A wonderful man was there. He held my hand and kept me calm. I want to thank him."

"Honey," the nurse told her, "there couldn't have been anyone here before us. There were no footprints anywhere near you."

Lana was confused, and on the way to the hospital, she tried to make sense of the mystery. WHERE had the man gone? Why hadn't anyone seen him? How could he have known she would be all right if he hadn't even looked inside the car? "Why didn't he man ask my name?" She wondered "Why didn't he call an ambulance or volunteer to phone my family?" So many questions, all unanswered.

Then, just as before, the wonderful warm feeling of peace and comfort filled Lana. And she knew. God had sent an angel to watch over her.

To the amazement of the doctors, Lana had no serious injuries, and although her car was totaled, she went home the next day, safe and sound, just as the man had promised. "Yes, there are angels," she says, "and a God in heaven who loves us all." Even when we forget Him, He will never forget us.

Copyrighted 2004 by Joan Wester Anderson. For more of my book excerpts, check the website at http://joanwanderson.com.

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