The Accident Was No Accident

by | Jun 4, 1999 | God's Plans, Protection

It was October 9, 1964 (a chilly autumn night). We were traveling from our Gas City, Indiana home. Destination; Corbin, Kentucky, where my mother lived … going home for the weekend.

(Three weeks prior, Lawrence, my husband, had purchased a brand spanking new Chevy. Wouldn’t you know … our first new car. It was powder blue, Lawrence’s favorite color. So right was the color, that in eleven years of marriage, anytime he would buy me or one of my four daughters a new dress, it would be some shade of blue. But then, we each had a fair complexion and blue eyes. Blue certainly did us justice.

Lawrence and I had planned to make this trip two weeks earlier. Then, of all things to happen, I broke my lower dentures. Chomping on ice, as was a hang-up of mine, my lower teeth just cracked right in the middle. I just didn’t want to be seen all weekend without my teeth, much less try to eat without them. Thus, we put off the trip.

Then a strange feeling came over me, a thought I cared not to think about. Sharing this with Lawrence, “Honey,” I said, “You know, the Lord may have just spared our lives this weekend.”

“What do you mean?” He asked.

“Well I don’t know, with us not being able to go and this funny feeling I have,” I replied.

As you might expect, we dropped the subject. But, as the days passed, it kept weighing upon my mind. At that time, I really didn’t understand the fear that possessed me.)

Looking back though, it seemed to begin about seven months before. Lawrence and I were members of the First Southern Baptist Church, Marion, IN. We were just ordinary members. Lawrence was the Sunday School Secretary and I had complete charge of the Nursery, which had been my privilege for three years.

Since I love babies, it seemed quite fitting. But, teach? Not me! In reading my Bible, it might as well have been Greek or Hebrew. I’d have understood about as much. Reaching the conclusion that God gave some the ability to teach and some He didn’t, I decided I was one of the majority … the ones He didn’t. Having been taught, as long as I could remember, that God had given everyone a talent and that it was up to each one of us to find that talent … I had a problem. Look as I might, I couldn’t find mine. Then one Sunday afternoon, in March 1964, (the church having scheduled an associational missions conference) a minister from Ohio spoke to us. Emphasizing the importance of people seeing the need for missions in Indiana … he referred to many communities which didn’t have a Southern Baptist witness.

(Remembering visitation in the Gas City area, I knew there was no Southern Baptist Church there. In the homes that we’d visited, we found people just wouldn’t travel very far to attend church. As I’ve been told … people wouldn’t cross a river, railroad, or a major highway to go to church. They proved that to be mostly true.)

The minister continued on, hoping God would speak to some hearts to begin mission work in our neighboring communities. As he spoke, I felt a tug in my heart; desiring to start a mission somewhere. I t never even once entered my mind that I knew nothing about mission work.

As the invitation was given, he asked for any to come forward who had a decision to make: salvation, rededication, the Lord leading them in mission work, or any other decision. I stood there wanting to go forward so badly, yet thoughts kept entering my mind, “You are married. You can’t start a mission by yourself. Lawrence must have a desire also.” So, I decided to wait and talk with him.

A little bit hesitant but finally approaching him, I asked, “Honey, have you ever thought you might like to start a church?”

He looked at me as though he was thinking that very same thing, also answering, “Yes, a little, I guess. It would be nice.”

Then the flood gates burst. I shared with him how I had wanted to go forward during the invitation and how I thought I’d like to start a church. We talked for awhile. However, our opinions differed about where to start one. Lawrence thought we ought to go to Swayzee and my heart pulled toward Gas City. Well, as time proved out, we went to Gas City. (I won that one.) We talked about this more as the days went by and two weeks later, Lawrence and I went forward during an invitation to surrender for mission work.

As it happened, our pastor and his wife left the church to become our area missionary; leaving the First Southern Baptist Church, Marion, IN, without a pastor for several months. Fill-in preachers, within the state, spoke as was available.

As one visiting minister began his sermon in Genesis, my mind began to wander (as it usually did). Very seldom did any speaker hold my attention for very long. I would try to pay close attention. But in spite of myself, eventually my mind would trail off. Then suddenly, I heard something. The preacher read, “Now the works of the flesh are made manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanliness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God,” (Ga. 5:19-21). Sitting there thinking about what he’d just said, it bugged me. I thought that it might be so in most cases … but Christians aren’t perfect.

Recalling how I had been saved and baptized when I was twelve years old, I’d never held any doubt to that fact. I had sinned. I wasn’t perfect. But, to not be saved, well … this was one case that scripture did not apply. I let these thoughts drop, not allowing myself to think anymore about it.

The next few weeks went on as usual, with a different preacher each Sunday.

Then, as my mind began wandering again, I heard something which made me sit straight up in my seat.

The minister read, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, nor drunkards, nor revelers, nor extortioners shall inherit the Kingdom of God,” (I Co. 6:9).

Man, I felt like that preacher could see right inside me. He seemed to be picking me out of the entire audience and giving me the whole load of the sermon.

I said, “But Lord, I am saved!”

I went home, not being as comfortable as the weeks before. Then I convinced myself that Satan was trying to get me to doubt my salvation. After all, hadn’t I surrendered to mission work? This was just one of his tricks.

(In the meantime, we had put our house up for sale. Lawrence and I felt we needed to live in Gas City in order to be effective there. We would get the daily newspaper and look over the ad section day after day. Making several trips to Gas City, we’d just drive around trying to find a house, but to no avail. There seemed to be nothing available that was adequate for a family of six, with room to start church services. Our house didn’t sell. Lawrence, having a business head on him, decided we couldn’t buy a house without selling the one we had. Convinced that we could, I suggested the idea of renting our house to meet mortgage payments until we found a buyer.

In months that followed, there were many heated discussions on this subject. Still not finding a house, once more, we decided to try driving through Gas City. Arriving home about ready to throw in the towel, Lawrence picked up the newspaper. Rumbling through it, as big as life … there it was!

The ad read, “For Sale, two story frame house in Gas City, 8 large rooms, bath and a half, hardwood floors, new furnace, drapes, walk-in closets, and plenty of storage space, with 1/2 basement. Priced to sell at $11,800.” Wow! We knew this was the house just from the ad … plenty of room and at a price we could afford!

Lawrence immediately called the Realtor. Leaving right then and there to see it, just as we’d suspected, it was the one for us. It just seemed to say, “I’m what you need.” We closed the deal on Friday afternoon and moved in the same weekend.)

As months passed, our church was still without a pastor … having a different preacher every Sunday. Then lo and behold (wouldn’t you know), another minister quoted that same scripture at me! I began to feel a little like I think old Peter must have, you know … the third time.

I was so thoroughly confused that I didn’t know whether I was saved or not. I knew I needed someone to talk to, but who? We had no pastor and I don’t know if it would have done any good if we had. Having never been accustomed to sharing my problems with a minister, I stewed over it for awhile and finally came to the place that I had to have some peace of mind.

Getting down on my knees beside my bed, I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know if I’m saved or not. But, I repent of my sins and ask you to save me if I’m not.” Then, I waited. Nothing happened. I didn’t know whether I was waiting for God to tell me I was already saved or for some feeling to show me He had just saved me.

Looking back, I guess it would have taken an earthquake for me to have understood. Finally, I got up and went on in the same manner I had been … confused.

Later, I decided I’d ask Lawrence how he knew he was saved. Without revealing my problem, perhaps he would have the answer. So, approaching him, “Lawrence,” I asked, “How do you know you’re saved?”

He responded, “If I didn’t know, I’d sure be getting on me knees and finding out!” Wow! I didn’t expect what I got. Then, it dawned on me that he thought I was questioning his salvation. It angered him.

“Well.” I thought, “I sure won’t ask you any more,” and I didn’t. Now, I realize that it must have been difficult to live with me in those days. Plagued with uncertainty, I’d still fall on my knees (from time to time) asking the Lord to save me.

(As I recall in earlier years of marriage, I’d dreamed several times that Judgment Day had come. Christ had come back for the saved. There was a big lake. On one side was Christ, where all the saved joined Him. On Satan’s side was fire everywhere and all who weren’t saved. I was standing there, at the end of the lake, trying to decide which side I belonged on. Not knowing, this would trouble me.

Then I’d say to myself, “Oranell, get a hold of yourself. A dream is just a dream and nothing more.” During times like that, I remember thinking that maybe there was something to the dreams after all.)

Finally, I just gave up and said, “Lord, until such time as you show me if I am saved or not, I will continue doing the work I am doing. I’ll quit if YOU show me that I’m lost, but until then … I’m not quitting!”

So, this is how I lived until October 9, 1964.

It just so happened that it was my birthday (twenty-seven in fact.) Since our barrel of money was very low (or I should say, “Almost empty”), Lawrence called this my birthday present. I’ll always remember: Lawrence, myself, and our four girls (ages 10, 8, 4, and 21 months) left Gas City – beginning our trip to Kentucky at about 5:00 PM. As was our custom, the girls and I sang a lot. It wasn’t that we were singers. Lawrence just never liked us to play the car radio while driving. It made him nervous. It was a long trip, with small children and nothing to do. We sang mostly religious songs … songs I’d learned as a child. This was about the only time the girls heard these old songs.

‘Till this day I can not say why but, that night we never did sing, “JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE.” (In times past, we’d always sung it while traveling.) How I remember the message it held for me. “Just a closer walk with Thee. Grant it Jesus. This my plea. Daily walking close to Thee. Let it be dear Lord, let it be.” Then I’d begin with, “I am weak, but Thou art strong,” and on like that. It seemed as though my heart would be crying out for a closeness I didn’t understand. (‘Till this day, I still don’t sing it when traveling.)

At about 7 PM, I got the shock of my life. You would have thought I made connection with electricity. Joyce, my oldest, asked right out of the blue, “Mom, what if we had a wreck and all got killed?” Cold shivers ran up my spine. Of all things to think of!

Finally, I answered, “What do you mean, ‘if we get killed’?”

“Well,” she inquired, “What would happen to the mission?” (We hadn’t started it yet. We were just making plans.)

“What do you mean what would happen to the mission?” I answered, still in shock.

“Well,” she asked, “Who would start the mission work?”

“Joyce,” I responded, “If the Lord wants your dad and me to work in the mission, He will save us for it,” carefully choosing my words and speaking slowly so as not to reveal how I actually felt.

Later, stopping at a station to fill up the gas tank, we all made trips to the rest room (so we wouldn’t have to stop again). As we pulled out of the station, for some unknown reason, I fastened my seat belt. I suggested to Lawrence that he do the same, which he did. We’d never had a car with seat belts and, not being in the habit, had never used them.

In a little while I looked down to the floor, under my feet. I saw several pop bottles. Without realizing I was preparing for anything, I gathered them up (including the ones that were in the back with the girls) and braced them under my seat.

It wasn’t long until I was tired of listening to the girls chatter. Having brought pillows to make a bed, I positioned them in the floor between seats. My 10 year old and 21 month old laid down in the back seat and the 8 and 4 year olds lay on the pillows in the floor (soon settling down and drifting off to sleep).

We were traveling on the interstate near Frankfort, Kentucky. (Interstates were new in those days.) It was dark out (no other car lights could be seen) when, suddenly, the interstate ended. Lawrence hit loose gravel. He locked his brakes, trying to stop the car. I sat there relaxed, trusting him (as in the past) to stop just in the nick of time. But as I could see, he couldn’t stop … discovering later, that loose gravel just speeds up a car.

What does a person think of at a time like this? Seeing what was taking place, I called out, “Lord, help us.” (To this day, I don’t know if I said it audibly or not.)

At any rate, I told Him, “Lord, my life is up to You now. There’s nothing I can do,” as I was facing what looked like a stone wall.

Hitting the wall with great impact, the car bounced back and hit the wall again and again. All the while, my head was bouncing against the roof of the car like a rubber ball.

Finally coming to a halt, as I well remember in those last few seconds, there was someone sitting next to me in the driver’s seat … next to my husband. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions there.

Then suddenly, Lawrence said to me, “You and the kids get out of the car. It could catch on fire any second now. Hurry!”

“My girls!” I thought. “My girls! Are they alright?”

I started to turn, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t move my right arm at all. Funny, I never felt my arm hit. Then suddenly a voice spoke to me and said, “Your girls are alright. I spared them because I want them to serve Me.”

Relaxed, I called the roll because I couldn’t hear a sound in the back. “Joyce,” I called.

“Yes, Mommy,” she replied.


“Yes, Mommy,” Pam replied.

“Bonnie…” I called.

“Yes, Mommy,” Bonnie answered.

About that time, Patty started crying and they all became frightened, not really understanding what had happened.

“Are you all alright?” I asked.

“I think so,” one of them answered, “except, Joyce’s head is bleeding.”

Well, that frightened me a bit.

I tried to open the door, but couldn’t. About that time, Lawrence yelled, “Get out of the car!” I replied, “I can’t. I can’t open the door. My arm won’t move.” He came around to my side and opened the door. I got out, holding my right arm with my left hand. Then, I got all the kids out and away from the car.

Lawrence concluded that my shoulder must be dislocated.

Within a few minutes, a car stopped. There was a lady behind the wheel, inquiring if she could be of any service. Part of the girls and I got into her car. Jammed as we were, she took us to the hospital. (Lawrence and the other girls waited for the police.)

Remembering trying to pass out, I rolled down the window to let the cool air in (so I could keep my wits about me).

When we got to the hospital emergency room in Frankfort, KY, Lawrence and the other girls had already arrived by ambulance.

As doctors and nurses took charge, they came to me and said, “Here, let me see about you.”

“No,” I replied, “Take care of Joyce’s head first. I can wait” … and they did.

Then chilling, I thought I was cold. The doctor said it was shock and instructed the nurse to bring me a blanket.

(Joyce required several stitches in her forehead. Upon examination, the other three girls had just gotten pump knots. As I found out later; Lawrence’s nose and mouth looked roughed up, he’d hit the windshield several times, the steering wheel was bent almost in two – where he had held on, and his nerves were almost shot.)

After most everything else was taken care of with the children, they X-rayed my arm: which when the X-rays came back, orders were given not to move it at all. The major bone was broken in a slant, in the big part of my arm. It was lying right against the artery and main nerve. Any move could sever them. When asked if my arm was paralyzed at the scene of the accident … for the life of me, I couldn’t remember. The doctor poked pins in me, but not even the slightest sensation was felt.

Soon, Lawrence was given a form to sign for me to have surgery, with plans underway to transport me to the hospital in Lexington.

The doctor wanted Lawrence and the girls to stay over night, at the Frankfort hospital, for observation … also providing them a place to stay for the night.

Lawrence and I both were under the impression my arm might have to be amputated. Looking at his face, my heart went out to him. I wanted so badly to comfort him. With tears in my eyes and my heart taking over, I said, “Honey, if the Lord wants my arm He can have it. If He sees fit to take my arm, then He has a purpose and a way to survive without it. I don’t know how but, He will.”

I couldn’t believe I’d said that. That wasn’t me talking. Something had taken over within me. My right hand was as much a part of me as my head. I never could do anything left-handed … and I do mean ‘anything’.

Then, being ready to make the ambulance trip from Frankfort to Lexington, they strapped me on a stretcher. The gentleman, selected to ride in the ambulance at my side, was given orders to not let me move – for fear of severing the mechanisms in my arm.

I couldn’t explain what happened to me, but it was as though someone else was in that ambulance. I was just listening. There was such love for God swelling up within me that just simply burst. I told the guy in the ambulance how I loved God, how good He is, that He is wonderful, and of His greatness and majesty. I honestly do not remember all I said, but I rattled on like that for about thirty minutes (or at least the words seemed to be coming from my mouth). Something had possessed me. It wasn’t me at all.

(I had never talked about God like this. Visiting to get people to come to church, I didn’t know anything to tell them about God. That was the preacher’s job anyway. If I could get them to come to church, he could take over. Even though, I couldn’t give them a good reason for coming. I tried to get by with saying that we are supposed to go to church to please God.)

When finally finished, I began to realize that I hadn’t given him a chance to get a word in edge wise. I apologized for monopolizing the conversation.

He responded, “You don’t know what your testimony means to me. You see, I’m a Methodist Minister. I’ve been to seminary and all . I was pastoring a church, when I felt the Lord wanted me to work in the hospital and ambulance service. I see men dying and tell them about the love of God, most of them lying on their death bed cursing me. So, you see, it’s a pleasure listening to you.”

Thinking back, if he had asked why I had such love for the Lord, I couldn’t have told him. It was no longer me, but the Spirit which dwelt within me.

I must have passed out because the next thing I remember was … lying on my stomach with my right arm hanging down while two doctors put a cast on my arm. (They didn’t have to amputate after all.)

When the doctors were finally finished, they took me to my room … the ‘bone factory,’ they called it. (It was called that because everyone on that floor either had broken bones or some kind of bone ailment.) Arriving in my room around midnight, I was very much awake.

Looking around, I saw an elderly lady in the next bed. She looked to be about 80. Wondering if she was a Christian, my heart started to pound. I thought, “I have to ask her.” (It simply scared me to death. The Lord had made it easy for me in the ambulance, but this really frightened me.)

The next morning, I kept lying there trying to get enough courage to ask her if she was saved. I wondered what to say and finally just blurted it out, “Mam, are you a Christian?”

She replied, “Yes, I am,” looking kind of funny at me. I laid back on my pillow with such relief.

Then after thinking about it, I wondered, what if she had said, “No”? I didn’t know what I would’ve told her. I’d never ‘tried’ to lead anyone to the Lord, much less actually lead anyone. But then I concluded, I would have said something … that the Lord would have provided me with the right words.

My doctor came in shortly thereafter, telling me I had a nerve damaged in my arm. The radio nerve (whatever that is) and the ones controlling my fingers were injured. He had no way of knowing if the nerve was cut in two or just injured. The doctor made it plain that it would be two years before I got the use of my arm back, if ever. I was to wear the cast for twelve weeks and sit up while sleeping so the weight of the cast would pull that large bone down to prevent it from growing crooked.

After that, it was bath time. And, not only was my head sore but, I found that I had black and blue marks on both sides. It seemed the seat belts had held me against such force that the belts left my body badly bruised.

A month later, my sides were still so blue they looked freshly bruised . Evidence seemed that had Lawrence and I not had seat belts on, we would have gone through the windshield. The girls, had they not been lying down, would surely have done the same. However instead, they were thrown on top of one another. I would say, the mighty hand of God was protecting us.

A couple of days after arriving at the Lexington hospital, I had a new roommate. (The elderly lady got to go home.) This new lady and I had a ball sharing the Lord with each other. To everyone I came in contact with, I would tell about the Lord. I was as near to heaven, that week in the hospital, as I’ll ever be on this earth … and loved every minute of it.

When ready to leave, the nurses said that they would really miss me and that I was the ‘life’ of that floor. I really wasn’t though. It was that new person in me, because no one was more surprised than me. I still didn’t understand what had happened to me. But, I praised the Lord for it anyway. Of course, I didn’t stay confined to my room; visiting all the rooms I was allowed in, while sharing this new found joy.

I even got the privilege of sharing with a Methodist preacher who was visiting at the hospital. I decided he was way off beam. He hoped he would make it to Heaven. I felt sure one could know if they were going or not. It isn’t according to how worthy you are.

A week later, I finally made it to Corbin. Lawrence had taken the girls on to mother’s, to stay while I was in the hospital.

Finding out our new car was totaled and that it would take too much to fix it, they gave Lawrence a new one … only it was green. It was the only one they had on hand.

(It’s surprising how six people came out of that car alive.)

After spending twenty-four hours at mother’s, we headed back to Indiana … though, not with her blessings. She felt I needed someone to take care of the kids and me. Being as high as I was, I felt we could lick the world as long as God stood by our side.

Arriving back home on Saturday, the first thing that happened, a friend of mine (who was a beautician) came over and cut all the girls hair – so I could comb their hair with my left hand. Already, the Lord was blessing.

I called our pastor (we finally got one) and asked if I could come to church in a house coat … explaining that I was not allowed to move my arm even to change clothes.

He responded, “Anyone wanting to go to church that bad is welcome, even in a house coat.”

For the first time in my life, I really wanted to go to church. I couldn’t imagine not going to church for twelve weeks.

Lawrence and I set out to find something for me to wear to church. We found a duster that was full enough to go over my cast and still button up. Later, a friend took a sleeveless dress and put snaps on the shoulder so I could have a dress to wear to church. Wow! I wore that dress everywhere I went, until my cast was off.

When my family and I went to church that first Sunday, it felt so good to be there. From the beginning of the service, I wanted so badly to get up and testify. I knew full well that our pastor never gave an opportunity for this. I didn’t know what to do because something kept telling me to say something. Once we had sung a couple of songs, the pastor made the announcements.

Then lo and behold, he asked, “Are there any other announcements?”

I leaped to the floor and said, “Pastor, could I say something?”

“Well, ugh, yes,” he said.

I testified, “I just love the Lord so much. He has done so much for me. If anyone isn’t saved, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

One good old lady, across the isle, spoke, “Amen!”

The pastor never acknowledged either of us … just continued with the service. Though, I felt such a load lifted from me.

After benediction, this dear lady said she certainly enjoyed my testimony.

My Sunday School teacher suggested that I felt the way I did because I was so grateful the Lord had spared my life. The thought hadn’t occurred to me until she suggested it.

We sure had some hectic days following. Patty, my baby, preferred to go barefooted. You could put her shoes on and, in ten minutes, she would have them off again. It was winter time and I couldn’t let her get sick. Bonnie, my four year old, and I worked out a system. I used my left hand and showed her what string to pull. So that’s the way we kept Patty’s shoes tied.

I even wrote a letter left-handed. It took me hours and still, I’m not sure anyone could read it. Though, I certainly was pleased in that accomplishment.

It also got to the place where I learned to iron a piece at a time. I still couldn’t iron left-handed. Taking my left hand and getting a hold of my right, I placed my right hand on the iron. In about thirty minutes, I could have a pair of trousers pressed.

In months to follow, I was one hand and the girls were my other. I could vacuum, dust, cook, and clean things off things. I also managed while the girls washed the dishes.

(Three weeks after the accident, I was so happy. My previous problem seemed to have vanished. I wondered what happened to them.

Having been hungry inside for a long time and very unhappy, I thought it my destiny to live the rest of my life like this. I couldn’t change all of these people or make them love me. To my surprise, I found no one had changed but me. My entire outlook on life was different. My deepest apologies go to my husband. How he lived with me, I’ll never know. I know I wasn’t easy to live with. Thank God, He made the difference. He didn’t do away with me. He just moved right in and over-shadowed me.)

In the mean time, my bone specialist (who the doctor in Kentucky had referred me to) was looking over my case. He said they could do nothing for the nerve until the bone was healed. Then he’d send me to a nerve specialist in Fort Wayne or Indianapolis. They would do surgery on the nerve and hope it could be mended, depending on the extent of the damage.

In December, 1964, my fingers were becoming fixed. The doctor was afraid I’d never use them again, if they didn’t do something. He sent me to Indianapolis to be fitted for a brace.

They fitted me alright … right over top of my cast. The little gadgets, with rubber bands that my fingers fit into, kept my finger straight. Using my left hand, I was to pull my fingers down. The rubber band took them right back up. This exercise continued several times a day.

In January, I got my cast off. By that time, I had a little feeling to my fingers. The doctor was amazed. He said that I didn’t know how lucky I was. In his opinion, I hadn’t been the slightest bit concerned, nor did I have a fight at all. He thought I was a lucky lady.

I told the doctor, “I gave the Lord all the credit.”

I hadn’t been worried. I was trusting Him to take care of my arm.

“Well,” he said, “You can give anybody the credit you want to, but you are (bleep, bleep) lucky. You could have never regained the use of that arm!”

I left his office in tears, thinking, “He may know a lot about bones, but he sure doesn’t have much personality.”

Continuing to wear my brace through March, 1965, I was gaining more and more strength and use of my arm.

In January, 1965, we’d begun a Fellowship Bible Class in our home on Sunday afternoon. (The girls helped me keep the housework done. I owe much thanks to them.)

We could see right away that the people weren’t interested in a Bible Class. They wanted preaching. Lawrence and I had talked to the pastor about this. He seemed to think we should stay with the Bible Class.

Just one day later, while studying my Sunday School lesson, a verse in the text just seemed to leap out at me.

The Lord said, “Oranell, do not give up. In due season, you’ll reap the harvest.”

Little did I know just how much I’d be needing that reassurance.

Toward the end of the year, our pastor suggested that we drop the whole thing. “It just isn’t getting off the ground,” he said. We talked to the pastor about preaching instead. He couldn’t see it. I burst into tears. I was so hurt, I couldn’t help it. Neither could I accept his response without sharing the passage where the Lord had spoken to me. The preacher responded, “Seeing as how you have your minds made up, we will begin in January (1966).” So, that is how the Calvary Baptist Church of Gas City, IN was begun.

I’ve reaped the harvest time after time again.

A couple years after the accident, the mission purchased a church and called a fine pastor.

As we were preparing for a revival, the evangelist (a friend of our pastor’s) shared what he was like before he was converted and also told his conversion experience. As I listened to him, I thought how much it sounded like the experience I’d had with the Lord in the accident.

Thinking about this for several weeks, I wondered if I was saved in the accident. I believe the Lord did show me that I was really saved. Finally, I talked with my pastor about this. He was convinced that I’d drawn a closer walk with the Lord, having been saved when I was twelve. Well, I left it at that.

Then as time passed, when our pastor and his wife left for the Foreign Mission field, we called a another one. This idea kept nagging at me until finally I went to this new pastor and told him the story. He gave me the same answer.

Yet, as much as I wanted to let it drop, knowing I was saved no matter when it happened, it would still come to mind.

I could think back, remembering how I couldn’t teach at all. Then, after the accident, that was the first thing the Lord laid on my heart to do. Believe it or not, it’s exactly what I wanted to do.

Seven years to the day, the anniversary of the accident, I was studying my Sunday School lesson (teaching teenagers; our lesson was from John) when my heart started to pound. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The writer was saying, “Everyone that loveth is born of God and you can know you belong to Christ if you love the brethren.” My heart simply leaped. Why, seven years ago is when that took place!

Then, he seemed to say, “We have fellowship with Christ when we are one of His. “Oh, boy! That’s when my fellowship with Christ began!

He topped it off by saying how we would have life abundantly. Man, life abundantly for me began October 9, 1964! I could come to no other conclusion.

Before, God had always seemed to me like He was way out yonder. It was never a personal fellowship and closeness. I thought about this and prayed that the Lord would show me what I should do. I know that the Bible taught obedience in baptism after salvation. But, I had worked in mission work for seven years! What would that look like? What would people say and think?

So, I said, “Okay, Lord, if you want me to be baptized again, I will. If I am to do this thing then, give the pastor this message.”

The next morning, He did … and our pastor did a splendid job. I stood there during the invitation knowing full well I should go up, but I wasn’t through trying to figure it out.

That afternoon, I shared my feelings with Lawrence. He understood, but asked, “After all these years, what good will it accomplish?”

I answered, “Honey, I don’t know except to be obedient.

Two going forward (that night) for baptism, my sister also came forward (to be healed from emphysema). She just knew God wanted to heal her. Well, let me tell you, the angels of heaven rejoiced with us that night!

A young man, of about 24, came forward: a very strong man, weeping, broken; saying he had been saved about three years before, but had been baptized as a young teenager. The pastor, at the time, had mistaken his conversion for rededication and he’d never shared it with anyone. Several were at the altar searching their own hearts and praying. The spirit of God was surely there.

After we went home that night, I said, “Honey, you asked what good would come if I went forward and I answered ‘to be obedient’ is all I know. Well, do you see the good that has come?”

“Yes,” he said, “I do.”

‘Till this day he still says, “No matter how small it may seem, you never know what good will come of being obedient.” He says, “It pays,” and it does.

The following Sunday, four others (members of our church) were saved, one of which was my own daughter. The presence of the Lord was evident.

As proof of the healing, my sister had tests run on her. The doctor confirmed that her emphysema had been cured. Her lungs were perfectly clear.

A few weeks later, the Lord laid it upon my heart to speak to my former church and share with them what had taken place in my life. Though scared, I called the pastor and made an appointment to speak to the church. I felt sure there could be some church members that had never been converted. The benefits that come in obeying the Lord is so wonderful, if I could just help reach some searching soul, it would’ve been worth while.

© by V. Oranell Cupp

has no email address – this is my mother


Summary by: Joyce C. Lock

In visiting the scene of the accident, on our way back to Indiana, one could view the many surroundings invisible in the night: the embedded imprint of the never seen original warning sign (which lay on the ground the night of the accident), along with shredded rubber debris … evidence of a previous accident (occurring the night originally planned to travel); the curved ramp to avoid unfinished interstate road construction (with no clue it would come to an abrupt halt in the midst of a curve facing a rock wall); the road the ramp had been intended to lead us to; and no sign of light or life in sight.

One wonders what happened to the people in the first accident; if they ever knew how God saved them from a two car accident, if their accident might have otherwise turned out worse, or if they even know God … and, if they do know God, if they know how amazing He is.

Humble beginnings can sometimes grow into a Bible Class, a Mission, and then a Church, and five Christian daughters serving in various areas of ministry… altering people’s present, future, and eternal destination; going far beyond the scene of an accident, creating seed that continues to multiply beyond number.

I wonder how many people know their lives have been either touched, saved, or changed from provisions that were made before their time … a broken denture, a searching heart, a loving God, and an accident that was no accident.

© by Joyce C. Lock


The Accident Was No Accident