David L. Washburn
Copyright 1998 by David L. Washburn
All rights reserved


It was the most horrifying sight any parent can imagine. My wife, Kathy, did all she could to avoid the dog that wheeled and ran in front of her bike, but it was impossible. She hit the dog broadside and went down. 14-month-old Malinda was in the baby seat on the back of the bicycle. Her head literally slammed into the pavement.

Seconds later, all we could say was "Thank God for that other crash."

It happened about two months before, on our way home from church. One of the kids was carrying our Bibles in her basket and hit a bump too hard. Books and papers flew everywhere. Kathy tried to stop and go back to pick them up, but as she applied her brake and looked behind her, her front tire hit a patch of gravel and skidded. In an instant it caught the pavement again and the bike threw her off. She hit the deck, coming up with a severely sprained wrist and several bruises. Thankfully, Malinda was on my bike that time.

When we got home, Kathy said, "I want to buy Malinda a helmet. I can't imagine what would have happened if she had been on my bike when I crashed."

We really didn't have the money, but that fall reminded us that the weirdest things in the world happen when you least expect them. We reduced the food budget a little, cut out some of my writing money and bought a helmet.

Malinda was wearing her helmet when that dog ran in front of them. Because of that, she came out of the spill without so much as a scratch. The fall scared the liver out of her and she may have had a touch of whiplash (it's hard to figure out where it hurts when the only word she knows is "WAAAAAAAAH!"), but otherwise she's fine. As hard as she hit the street, it is no exaggeration to say that helmet saved her life. Without it, we would be burying our baby right now.

These days I read the story of Joseph in Egypt, betrayed by his brothers and literally sold down the river, with a new appreciation. His words "But God meant it for good" have taken on a much more personal meaning, and remind me that God can and does use apparently inexplicable circumstances and events to bring about His purposes. He allowed that first crash to get our attention and teach us that our baby needed protection. It was a trial run for the big one, the one He knew was coming, the crash that would have taken our beautiful baby from our arms if not for that sprained wrist.

Yes, we really didn't have the money to spare at the time. But the Lord let us know that we needed to spend it anyway. Now we figure that helmet has paid for itself a million times over.

And we look just a little deeper to find His hand in the everyday events that cross our path.