We were halfway there when the wind picked up and the van began to rock and shudder. Only the thought of my granddaughter Kristin’s call for help to vacate a troublesome apartment situation in another state kept my son-in-law, Frank, his family and I (her grandma) from turning around once the storm had moved in. Fear skittered across my shoulders.
The Lord and I are in almost constant communication so I’m sure He wasn’t surprised to hear me silently calling to him for protection and guidance, especially when the radio confirmed tornado activity in our path on the divided four-lane freeway. The chorus of Precious Lord, Take My Hand ran through my mind as I prayed, “Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the Light…”
Rain spatters came faster, pelting the windows with staccato warnings and flash after flash of lightening lit up the sky. The darkness and fierceness of the wind and rain kept the road hidden and only in those moments of lightening could Frank see the white line marking the edge of the highway. The tenseness in his shoulders and tight, silent grip on the steering wheel told me he also was greatly concerned, but determined not to frighten his three children. Together we silently searched each bright slash in the darkness for some ray of hope. Suddenly Frank leaned ahead and exclaimed, “What on earth…is that?” then I too saw the unusual twin red lights in the darkness ahead of us.
These taillights were not like anything we’d seen before. Rising above the trunk of the sleek black car, these lights, Frank guessed, were at least 1-1/2 feet tall. “Thank you Lord,” I whispered, as Frank’s shoulders relaxed and we continued to follow the two red sentinels. Still the storm continued to rage.
The rain became so heavy we could not see the lights, and Frank had to slow the van to a crawl. We grew silent until the patch of wind and rain subsided, and then were amazed to see the sleek roadster on the shoulder to our right, easing back onto the road directly in front of us, as though he’d been waiting. We pondered this and Frank wondered aloud if the unusual vehicle was some kind of “storm chaser”.
The second time the wind and rain enclosed us was near an exit, and Frank pulled off the freeway to a well-lit gas station where we waited 10-15 minutes, hoping the weather would let up. Back on the road, the wind had died down but the fierce rain resumed, and this time we were all leaning forward looking through the darkness, jokingly wondering if the black car was ‘waiting’ for us again. We gasped with surprise to see it this time easing out from the left shoulder. We’d never seen anyone pull over on that side before.
How ironic was that – to think that specific vehicle would have had to stop the same length of time as us, even though it had gone before us to be where we needed it! Our guide led us through the rest of the storm, easing out before us from the side of the road through each wave of a now not-as-scary situation because instead of watching the storm, we’d eagerly scan the darkness for the tall red lights. At last the storm tapered off just as the big sign welcoming us to Davenport, Iowa was visible ahead. Lights over the bridge revealed our shiny black guide stopped again on the left shoulder! We felt like he was letting us know it was safe now, we could go on. I glanced back over my shoulder as we passed the special car, memorizing details to the “music” of our collective sigh of relief and amazement at such a unique answer to our frantic calls for help.
The taillights were off, I’d noticed, and tinted glass hid the guide who had led us through a frightening time. I was thoughtful but not surprised as we climbed out of the van at Kristin’s apartment to realize the melody I was humming was the same chorus, “Through the storm, through the night, …”
And I wondered as we received Kristin’s relieved hug, if she knew guardian angels drive sleek black cars with tall red taillights.
Psalm 93:4 Stronger than wild sea storms,
Mightier than sea-storm breakers,
Mighty GOD rules from High Heaven.
Psalm 121:5 GOD’S your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—