I Shall Not Leave You Orphans

By Shirley Sherrill

We were on a narrow Minnesota highway where we saw dust rising to one side of the road.  As we neared the spot we saw a large truck on its side, seams split to expose its heavy load of hanging beef.  Stopping, we heard a voice crying,  “Help!  Help me!  Help!”  And then we saw the bloody man pinned beneath the cab of the truck.

In a moment of near panic I ran toward a farm house, praying for help, while George, my husband, ran to the truck.  No one was home.  When I returned to the accident another man had stopped, and George and he had jacked up the cab and pulled the young man out.

We got a blanket from our car to cover him as we waited for an ambulance.  Another trucker had arrived and radioed for help.

Leg broken and partially scalped, the young man was trying to prop himself up on an incline and hold his head so the blood wouldn’t run into his eyes.  I sat down behind him and put my arms around him so he could lean into me, and started talking quietly.

I was vaguely aware that many people were standing around, but I felt we were in a cocoon away from sight and sound.

In pain he swore, “Jesus Christ!”  “Yes,”  I said,  “Jesus Christ.”  And then, miserable and in shock as he was, he apologized.  Gradually his body relaxed and he let me support him there on the hill until the ambulance came.

God Takes Care of Those in Need

Usually when a crisis is over I shake a little, cry a little, wear the adrenalin down.  But this time I felt peaceful, filled with quietness and wonder.

I believed that God took care of that boy in that moment in time through me.  And for that moment in time my only function was to be what I could be, just as the men who had rescued him did their part.

When it was all over, one man warmly expressed amazement and gratitude at the simple thing I had done.  I saw the tenderness in his eyes but didn’t understand until George told me they all felt so helpless, didn’t know what to do, and that seeing me sitting there holding that bloody boy made them all feel quieter, not so anxious.

Through the years I have wrestled with questions about trusting God to take care of us, when I could see that He doesn’t prevent tragedy from happening — not even to Christians.  I have learned that worry about my husband and our children doesn’t help them and only harms me.

But what good does it do to turn them over to God?  What is He going to do?

What God Does for Us

This day I found an answer.  When I give someone I love (or don’t love) into the care of God, I am blessed by the knowledge that His spirit will be present in our lives as counselor, comforter, helper, intercessor, standby, strengthener, or in whatever form we need.

And His presence not only affects the person in need but ripples out through the people there, as it did that day in Minnesota, to create an atmosphere of quietness and serenity in the midst of tragedy and fear.


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