The crowd parted as I neared. After all, it was my daughter laying in her own blood on the street.
Minutes before, Mark and I had been watching a subtitled version of “Lawrence of Arabia” in the hotel room. We’d brought our teenaged girls to the beach for vacation and chosen to have separate rooms with them, since we knew we’d be keeping separate hours. Indeed, the girls had stopped by to let us know they were headed out.
Kenting Beach was popular with all the families of Morrison students. Only a few hours away by car, it was still warm enough to enjoy the Pacific ocean, despite being Christmas break. Many of our daughters’ friends were there, so they swam during the day and hung out downtown at night.
Only three weeks shy of her eighteenth birthday, Mark had agreed to allow Hilary to rent a scooter so she and her friend Kristen could explore. But when the throttle stuck on their 50cc Suzuki, they narrowly missed a passing tour bus and slid into a parked car. This event would change my prayer life forever.
When Mark’s phone rang, I could tell immediately that something was wrong. Mark’s body language tensed and his question scared me. “Is she still breathing?” I overheard him say.
As he hung up, he looked at me gravely. “Hilary’s been in a scooter accident. You’d better put on some clothes. It’s going to be a long night.”
Because Mark was still dressed, he was able to get to the scene before me. As I dressed shakily, I tried to form the prayer that wouldn’t come. “Please don’t let her die,” I finally whispered.
As I walked out the door of the hotel into the dark, my mind continued to blank. Finally, as I made out the shadowy crowd of bystanders, I asked aloud, “God, just what do I pray?”
Then, the Spirit, in a Voice more precious than the noises around me, said simply, “Pray for no mistakes.” It became my cry over the next four months.
I saw that prayer answered as Hilary’s school nurse ran to the incident after watching it take place. Beth insisted that the Taiwanese EMT personnel fit both girls with neck braces, the absence of which could have paralyzed our daughter.
I saw that prayer answered as the group gathered around her body actively prayed for us at the accident site.
I saw that prayer answered through the presence of an American missionary doctor, who “surprisingly” worked at that particular rural, beach hospital and insisted upon review of the hastily dismissed X-ray’s.
I saw that prayer answered as the Taiwanese doctor pierced Hilary’s temple’s to insert tongs for her twelve-day immobilizing traction.
I saw that prayer answered when I said no to one of the doctors, who wanted to do a chiropractic adjustment to what we found out later was a fractured neck.
I saw that prayer answered by the insistence of American-based physical therapists, who almost demanded that we send Hilary’s MRI to a stateside Christian neurosurgeon for review.
I saw that prayer answered in the states after surgery, when the neurosurgeon removed a shard of bone resting precariously on Hilary’s spinal cord. “One fall and this could have severed her spinal cord,” he announced.
Hilary recovered and graduated from Morrison High School on time that year. I believe it was in part because of the many prayers offered in the form of “no mistakes, Lord.”
What crisis are you dealing with? It could be a wayward son, a lost job or an unstable marriage. Have you prayed for no mistakes? If not, now is as good of a time as ever to start. Believe me, the rewards are endless.
Read more about this journey: Part Two