On our trip to Texas, we traveled on route 40 through Arkansas, which is one of the most desolate stretches of highway I have ever seen. There is nothing but flat farm land as far as the eye can see, and about 20 miles between each exit. To make matters worse, there had been a drought. Not only was it a barren landscape, but it was dry, hot and dusty with huge dust clouds being blown around by a severe windstorm that day.
The traffic was heavy, and we were boxed in by a couple of semis. The truck immediately in font of us swerved to avoid a piece of curved sheet metal as big as a kitchen table. When my husband pulled onto the shoulder to drive around it, the strong winds blew it under our van. All power to the engine was cut off, and immediately Eric started asking God to help us.
We didn't know what was wrong with the van, but it was still rolling so we were able to coast along the shoulder. Thankfully, there was an exit right there, and we drifted down the hill onto a small country road. Unfortunately, the only thing we could see was a HUGE billboard advertising the triple X adult store off the end of the exit ramp. Great, we thought, four small children and the only shelter was THAT!
Eric and I got out to inspect the damage and saw that the fuel lines were severed. We spent only a few minutes crawling around on the ground and already the severe wind had blown grit and dust into our eyes, teeth, hair, and any other place imaginable. We miserably took shelter in the van to reassure the children and discuss options. That was when we noticed what looked to be a run down garage with a lot of junk cars laying around. Eric went to see if there was anyone around who could help.
While he was gone, I was praying with our girls that God would take care of us. Audrey said that she wished God would have kept it from even happening, and I told her that we needed to trust that God had His reasons for this situation.
Next thing I knew, Eric and another fellow came along with a large fork lift. I figured that it was probably a good time to bail out rather that be eight feet in the air, so I took all of the girls to the garage office. It was exactly what you would expect a junk parts shop to be, but it had a clean blanket laid over the couch, and it was out of the stinging wind.
Eric and I started talking with the shop owner while the mechanic ran to get some parts. It turned out that the fellow was a Christian, and he told of all the times God sent people to the door of his shop in situations much like ours. He said it was his ministry to help stranded motorists, because his was the only shop for miles around. He said he should have left for Memphis 20 minutes before we arrived, but was delayed by an unexpected visitor. He even talked to Audrey, telling her that God often allows things to happen to keep us from being at a certain place at a certain time.
When the mechanic came in to say everything was fixed, Eric asked what we owed them, and the owner said, "Nothing." We were overwhelmed. After praying with them, we got back on the road. Another twenty miles of driving brought us to the scene of a major wreck where a tractor trailer had caught on fire and burned completely to the ground. God certainly kept us from being at that certain place at that time.