Protected by God in a Car Accident
Shireen, 1st Congregation
When I was 11 years old, I was involved in a car accident. It was after school and I had gone to visit the bookstore near my home to buy a story book. Returning home, I crossed the street not seeing a car that was driving past. The impact flung me over and onto the car’s windscreen which completely shattered. I had cuts on my face, arms, hands, legs and feet. The worst injury was to my right cheek where I sustained a nearly circumferential laceration leaving only a pedicle about 2 cm in width unharmed. The repair required more than 200 stitches.
There are scenes from that day that are still vivid. I was lucid, I did not lose consciousness, I remember being taken by the driver of the car to the nearest hospital which was about 10-15 minutes away. I could recall and relay my parents’ contact information including their names, where they worked and what their office telephone numbers were. I remember them coming to see me before I was put under general anaesthesia for the procedure.
For months after that, I suffered from what I now realise was post-traumatic stress. I couldn’t sleep alone so I slept in my parents’ room. I couldn’t cross the road without feeling panic. I had multiple further procedures – stitches had to be removed, I had steroid injections into the scar to treat keloid. I refused to go to school.
Where was God in all of this? I grew up in a Christian home – my parents were the first in both their families to come to Christ. My father led me through the prayer of salvation when I was 7 years old, I attended Sunday School, my parents taught me about the Christian faith. The foundation of my faith had been laid in my childhood. Because of this, the first thing I did in the middle of that accident was to pray and to ask Jesus to be with me. I remember singing the song in my head – an old Gospel song we sang in church – Father I thank you for all that you’ve done…
God was there physically protecting me. Despite the amount of injury I sustained on my face, not a single important structure was affected. A small scar runs to the corner of my right eye and stops short – my vision was intact. Despite being thrown head first on the windscreen I had no loss of consciousness and no head trauma. I did not have a single broken bone. There is a nerve called the facial nerve that controls movement of one half of the face. When this nerve doesn’t function as it should, that half of the face droops, the eyelid is pulled down and cannot close fully, a smile becomes asymmetrical because half the mouth and lips cannot move, there are problems with drooling and chewing. In my face, that nerve ran (runs) exactly where there was that intact pedicle of skin and tissue that remained unharmed despite the nearly circumferential laceration on my cheek.
Scars that are visible are signs that healing has taken place in a site of previous injury. Beyond the physical scars I had were the emotional and psychological effects of the accident that I had to work through. For a long time, I couldn’t talk about the accident even to very close friends. But all the while, God was slowly and gently working in me. After a while, I was able to sleep alone in my room, and I could cross the road. I went back to school. These days, children in that same situation have a specialist medical team trained in providing psychological support. In those days, I had no such medical team. I had parents, family and friends who prayed. I had and have a God who healed and heals both body and mind.
When I was praying about what to share, I came across someone who had a similar history of previous trauma who shared about how her faith had sustained her, and I was reminded that God had been faithful to me. He reminded me of two things:
1. My healing didn’t happen overnight, it took months and years. But sometimes that’s how God works – not in dramatic and obviously supernatural ways, but slowly, patiently and gently.
Philippians 1:6 says
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
2. God redeems every situation despite how we may feel we have failed as parents. As a mother of 2 sons, I now begin to understand the guilt my parents must have felt, that whatever they did, they could not protect me from what happened. But God is faithful through generations.
Psalm 100:5 says
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
The accident is an event that is a part of my history, and the scars from it are permanent. But I praise and thank our God that He was with me protecting me and holding me, and that He continues to do His good work in me so that my life is rich and blessed in ways far beyond that single event.