Prayer after a car accident
I’d been sitting at a red light when a van undershot its turn into the lane next to me and hit my car head on, sending my car about ten feet backwards.
“Don’t cry,” I told myself as I got out of the car to examine the damage. “Just remain calm.”
I wasn’t hurt, but I was angry at the driver and concerned about what bad shape my car was in.
As apologetic as the other driver was, I didn’t care. I felt out of control, and like I’d become a victim of circumstance, and it was hard not to be upset.
I knew my anger wasn’t productive and that it wouldn’t help me think clearly, so as we waited for the sheriff to show up and take a police report, I began to pray. As a student of Christian Science, I’ve always found guidance and healing when I’ve turned to God in difficult situations.
I felt like I’d become a victim of circumstance, and it was hard not to be upset.
The first thought that came to me was, “You were completely protected.”
It’s a strange thought to have after an accident. But I knew it was from God because it was a welcome change from my frustrated thoughts, and the words brought a feeling of God’s presence. And I could see that I really had been protected. Neither the other driver nor I was hurt, and that was something to be grateful for.
When I got home, I called my parents to let them know that in spite of my eventful morning, I was safe. While we talked, my mom said something that stood out to me. She told me that God had taken care of me and that He would continue to care for me through the rest of this experience. I knew that my mom was right because I’d been in many other tough situations and had seen how God had taken care of me.
Still, I had trouble getting over the initial shock. I couldn’t stop shaking, and every time I closed my eyes, images of the accident replayed in my head.
So I started praying again. A helpful idea from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy came to mind: “We may well be perplexed at human fear; and still more astounded at hatred, which lifts its hydra head, showing its horns in the many inventions of evil. But why should we stand aghast at nothingness?” (p. 563).
The accident sure didn’t feel like “nothing.” But I understood from that passage that I needed to look at things differently. The fear and shock I was feeling were trying to tell me that God, good, wasn’t all-power, and that I, as God’s expression, had been separated from Him long enough to be in an accident. I knew that neither of these was true. So, I reasoned, why am I feeling shocked by, and scared of, an experience in which I had actually been completely protected?
As I continued to pray, I stopped shaking and the images stopped replaying in my mind.
But that wasn’t the last hurdle. When the insurance process began, I learned that the driver who’d hit me wasn’t answering any calls from the insurance company. I began to worry that he wouldn’t take responsibility and pay for the damages. As my anxiety surged, my body felt incredibly sore, especially my back and right leg, and the uncontrollable shaking returned.
The sheriff had mentioned I’d feel sore the day after the accident. But I hadn’t felt sore until now—a week after the accident. This was a clue that my fear and concern were behind the way I was feeling physically.
There was nothing I could do to control things, but I could know that God is completely in control.
Once again, I was facing the suggestion that I was a victim of circumstance and that everything was out of my control. So I turned wholeheartedly to God and also asked a Christian Science practitioner for support. We talked about how, as God’s children, we are never separate from Him. This means we all, including the other driver, are obedient to Love. I started to feel more confident that the other driver couldn’t be dishonest or immoral because he expresses only God, good.
I ended my prayers by reaffirming that God is the only power and that the whole situation was in God’s hands. There was nothing humanly I could do to control things, but I could know that God is completely in control.
I woke up the next morning free of anxiety and soreness. Just a couple of days later, I found out that the driver had paid for the damages.
It’s hard to feel like God is taking care of us when we experience things that feel random or scary. But what I’ve learned is that leaning on God’s everpresent love and feeling the reality of His presence will help us see that good truly is in control no matter what circumstances we face.