The first of three weekends speaking at the Michigan Adventist Women’s Retreat came off miraculously, beautifully, stressfully. Here is the unvarnished, authorized account of my journey:
I hopped on a plane Friday morning, got cancelled, bumped, and delayed, rented a car, got lost in Detroit, then encountered an accident which shut down the road. Arriving at the retreat in the nick of time, I spoke in my travel clothes, wild-haired but happy to be there.
On Sabbath I walked through women’s retreat wonderland. Everywhere I looked I saw flower arrangements, pretty soaps, fluffy desserts and all the other little things women do to make these retreats special. Heaven loves their tireless efforts! God bless you Janie, Casey, Monica, Renee, and the rest.
All was well so far. A little stress, but a lot of joy.
Sunday jolted me out of my dream when I realized that my 11:30 A.M. talk barely gave me time to get to Detroit by the time my plane left. I preached my last sermon and literally waved and walked out of the hall, beelining to my car. I knew that if I drove 70 I’d make it; traffic jams, speeding tickets, and detours would ruin my chances. All seemed to cooperate with my plan until the skies opened and coughed out the slipperiest, wettest sleet imaginable. Over the next three hours I sat bolt upright, peering out my window like a fighter pilot, trying not to let the many accidents and flashing blue lights unnerve me. There were at least six wrecks. The sleet lobbed one car off the road and upside down; it mashed a motorcycle into the grill of another. A little voice said, “Slow down. That could be you.” But I had a plane to catch.
Suddenly, as if supernaturally caused, my rented car began to jackknife. All my winter driving expertise did nothing to keep me in my lane. I jerked back and forth, snaking wildly across the highway until the back of my car finally spun around, flinging me toward the cement guardrail. Mercifully, I came to a screeching halt within inches of it, facing the oncoming traffic. Humiliated, I crept back into the (fortunately slow-moving) stream of cars and drove under 50 the rest of the way.
I’m not big on saying God did things as if I know exactly when heaven intervenes and when natural law and chance bear sway. But this event had the signature of heaven. My rental car remained unscratched, my body unharmed, but my ultra goal-driven, sometimes obstinate character got a good smack right where I needed it. Miraculously I made it to my flight in the nick of time; but missing it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. When will I learn, people? I’m so glad to know that “whom the Lord loves He chastens, and spanks every daughter whom he receives,” Hebrews 12:6, JLEV.*
*Jennifer’s Life-Experience Version.