Barreling towards us across the median, a pick-up truck slammed into the front driver side of our car. I was pregnant with our fourth child and my protective instincts were on overload. I screamed as our car was pushed sideways into another car containing another expectant mother and her two-year old son. It was extremely fragile circumstances, yet, in the very next moment after impact, I turned around and saw that every one of us was unharmed. “Thank you God, Thank you Jesus,” I said.
As the police and ambulance arrived, I began to wrestle with my own ability to offer mercy. Police explained that this man could be punished to the full extent of the law only if someone in either of our cars were seriously hurt. The fact that two of the victims were pregnant meant that even by our testimony of trauma, we had the potential to increase the charge from misdemeanor to felony.
After a visit to the emergency room assured me that nothing had happened to me or to my baby, I was released with instructions to return to the hospital if the baby stopped moving. For weeks I wrestled with the knowledge of how an exaggerated testimony could potentially put a drunk driver behind bars. Yet, I also knew that I would be acting out of vengeance and deceit instead of forgiveness and mercy.
A friend sent me a prayer and at the end wrote “For this man we pray too Lord, as he wakes up to the gravity of what could have been, that you would intervene in only a way that you are capable of.” I thought about how I could trust God to intervene when I had such a strong desire to see punishment. I was mad, this man was a drunk driver, and I wanted vengeance. But something didn’t feel settled inside when I thought about testifying in court. What would it look like to see mercy triumph over vengeance?
There was a court date set and on that day, I was still in perfect health. I did not set foot in that courtroom but I stormed courts of heaven that God would intervene with mercy. I prayed that the man who hit us would not live with guilt and shame but instead be aware that God had protected both families in the accident. To this day, I live in the freedom that I can that God is always merciful and invites us to do likewise.