Dave Hinkle

The author’s SUV is pictured after a crash on the interstate.

The horrific crash took mere seconds to occur. My SUV had, according to witnesses, hit pooled water on the interstate, hydroplaned, turned two circles, left the highway, slammed into an embankment, rolled twice and landed upright.

I sat dazed, still buckled in my seatbelt. The air smelled odd, and strange noises came from the engine. The windshield was gone, and the airbags had deployed. The inside of my SUV looked like a tornado had struck.

I searched for blood and found none. I checked to see if my body parts were intact. They were. I had no pain. My thinking seemed to be reasonably clear. As best I could tell, I didn’t have even a scratch.

While I waited for help, I’d like to say I prayed intense thanks for survival. But I didn’t. My mind swirled rapidly through a flood of thoughts. I wondered if I was in heaven. I envisioned my children, family and friends. I thought, what in the world just happened? In my daze, I would not have been surprised to see a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion.

Two angels, cleverly disguised as men in pickup trucks, rushed to offer their assistance. Once they determined that I was OK physically, we talked. I remember one saying, “We saw what happened. How did you survive that? You are one lucky dude.”

They called 911, tended to me and then began a search in the rain for my valuables, which were scattered in a wide radius. They returned with my wallet, glasses, two cellphones, a laptop and a briefcase—all perfectly intact. I wish I had the names of those two men who disappeared soon thereafter.

The Kentucky State Police officer and the paramedics were equally incredulous. The officer said he had seen many much less violent crashes where the driver did not survive. He called me a very lucky man. The paramedics could hardly believe I had no injuries. They too said I was a very lucky man.

The only issue they found was my elevated blood pressure. We laughed about that. They offered to take me to the hospital for further checks. I declined. I was perfectly fine. I am perfectly fine today. They told me I would be very sore in the morning. I was not.

The officer suggested that I sit in the backseat of his car to relax until the tow truck arrived. He then found a large drink cup and began gathering a significant amount of spare change that had spilled from the vehicle. After quite a while, he gave me the cup and even some dollar bills he found. I don’t believe coin collecting is in his job description. He took good care of me. I evidently was indeed lucky.

While waiting alone in the backseat of the police cruiser, the whole point of this story played out. God spoke to me. He did not speak in an audible voice, but the mental impression was undeniable. The message cut right to my heart.

God spoke three simple sentences to me: “Walk closer to Me than ever before. Listen to Me more intently than ever before. Do what you are told.”

The words ran through my mind for the next few hours, for the next few days and weeks and even today. I never had to write them down. They are emblazoned in my mind and heart. I will never forget them.

I tell others the story. Some are impressed, others write it off as some sort of imaginary post-accident trauma. That’s fine. I’ll keep believing, and I’ll keep telling the story.

I wish I could say that since the accident, I have followed those directions perfectly. But I have not. I’m trying and getting better. I will continue to try.

Why did God speak to me? I’m not sure. What I do suspect is that there was more than “luck” at play in this event.

What is the meaning of the three sentences? To me, the meaning is self-explanatory. But the words also have a ring of mystery. I believe more will be revealed. All I know for sure is that I am alive and that God spoke to me on the side of that interstate. I believe that without a doubt, and I’m doing my best to follow the instructions: “Walk closer to Me than ever before. Listen to Me more intently than ever before. Do what you are told.”

Dave Hinkle has been a member of Southeast Christian Church since 1996.