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How Her Last-Minute Prayer Saved Their Lives

The all-terrain evhicle they were riding on crashed. Then an otherworldly force rescued them.

An angel holding a 4-wheeler above her head; Illustration by Kirk Manley

”Before we go, I want to do one more thing,” I said. My husband, Steve, and I were on our way out the door when I’d stopped short. Steve worried we were going to be late.

“There’s always time for prayer,” I said. “I’ll be quick.” I bowed my head. Dear God, please keep us safe.

We were just heading out to a family vacation at my sister’s farm in Georgia. There wasn’t much chance of needing protection in such a peaceful setting, but I felt better for asking. “All set!” By the time we hustled ourselves into the car, I’d forgotten all about my last-minute prayer.

There was nothing to remind me of it at my sister’s house. We fell into a carefree routine of swimming, grilling and talking around a campfire. The biggest attraction for Steve was riding the all-terrain vehicles: chunky four-wheelers with fat tires for driving along the trails around the property, loops that stretched through the woods behind the house.

I was sitting outside in the sun late one morning when Steve returned from a ride. “Come on and hop on!” he cajoled. “I promise I won’t go too fast.” Why not? I slipped into the seat behind him and wrapped my arms around him.

The Georgia pines provided some shade while we traversed the trail at a cautious speed. I could smell the grill being fired up for lunch.

A few minutes into our ride, we approached a part of the trail that straightened out. Just as Steve hit the accelerator, I noticed a tree root sticking up out of the ground. We were on top of it before I could say a word. One of the front wheels twisted into the root. The rest of the ATV twisted the other way. Steve and I were pitched right off the back.

I landed on my back, Steve on top of me. The ATV shot forward, nearly climbing a tree. The headlights faced the sky, front wheels in the air. The ATV teetered in slow motion, then tipped in our direction. I froze. It’s going to crush us! As it came down, somehow, from his position atop me, Steve broke its fall and managed to hold it steady.

“You’re okay. Now move,” he commanded. I rolled out of danger, my husband behind me. The ATV hit the ground full force where we had been lying only moments before.

When everything stilled, I began to tremble. How are we still alive?

I could hear Steve asking if I was all right, but I was too shaken to respond. How was he able to hold up that huge machine? It had to weigh at least 700 pounds! He couldn’t have done it, I decided. Not without help. Then I remembered my prayer.

Steve pulled me to my feet. “We have to ride back,” Steve said.

We drove—more slowly than we had before—down a muddy ravine, where we got stuck in the mud and had to hop off to push.

“What happened to you two?” my sister asked when we got back.

“We were almost crushed by the four-wheeler,” I said.

“But I held it up with my own two hands and saved us,” Steve finished. He did his best strongman imitation and got a smile out of me.

“You’re exaggerating,” my sister said. No one could believe Steve had managed to break the fall of a 700-pound four-wheeler by himself. Especially not me. I imagined my guardian angel had a hand in what happened. In the end, the details didn’t matter (except when Steve told the story). All I knew was I had asked for protection and God had heard my prayer.

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