In the mid 1980s, when driving back from Germany to Turkey after visiting Barbara’s parents, as usual we drove through Yugoslavia in the night. After having a picnic breakfast under a tree by a river, we decided to make a short detour and visit Phillipi, the place where Paul and Silas had been jailed and then freed by an earthquake. I love to “touch history” like that.
We were back on the road by about 10 am, driving on a very curvy two-lane road along the sea. There were almost no shoulders and on the right side was a drop off into the ocean with no guardrail.
Very shortly after I saw a puff of smoke come from the left front tire of an oncoming Mercedes, and suddenly that car veered into our lane. We were going to have a head-on collision! By the Lord’s grace, instinctively I whipped the steering wheel to the right—usually I just freeze in such a situation—and was able to avoid a direct hit. The Mercedes struck our VW’s driver side right at the headlight and proceeded to crush in the side all the way to the back. We were thrown around and spun off the road on the sea side—but here, instead of a drop off into the water, there was a large parking area! Our car came to rest just short of a large concrete pillar planted on the edge of the area. What protection from the Lord!
My glasses were gone, slung over to the floor on the other side; we had to find those so I could see to proceed. Josh’s arm was bleeding, cut by the glass, and I had a particle in my good eye. The driver who had been behind us came up to the car and offered to take Josh to the hospital. So he and I went while Barbara and Nat stayed with the car. The doctor sewed up Josh’s cut, but didn’t use any anesthesia, and Josh let him know that it hurt!
While waiting for us, Barbara turned on the tape in the car and it began playing a hymn, “Trust In Jesus.” She was encouraged. The driver of the Mercedes also stayed and talked with her. It turned out he was a Greek who worked in Germany in a city very near Barbara’s hometown. His tire had blown out and there was nothing he could do to prevent the accident He very sorry for the damage, especially since he had grandchildren Nat and Josh’s ages.
Although the right rear wheel was bent at quite an angle, the car was still drivable. The man who hit us helped us find a place to stay and put us in touch with a friend whose son had a body shop.
God’s hand was so obvious in all that happened. The village near where this accident occurred had many Greeks who spoke Turkish (they had emigrated from Turkey when the great population exchange had occurred in 1923), so we could communicate with no problem. We found a reasonable place to stay right on the beach and spent a rather pleasant 8 days waiting for the car to be repaired.The hotel bill was all paid for by the German Touring Club, as we were members and the other driver’s insurance paid for all the repairs, even though it was more than the value of the car and they didn’t see the car!
Beyond the physical care the Lord gave us, there was another aspect to this happening: the Lord was working to get my attention on an important point. I didn’t think we had any time for a vacation (certainly traveling to and from German and spending time with my in-laws was not a vacation), but the Lord showed me that I could take time if I wanted. He give us a fine time to relax and enjoy and be refreshed here on the Greek coast. “OK, Lord, you got my attention and I hear you,” I said, “a vacation every year!”
Pictures below: our damaged car, Barbara and Nat on the beach.