It was a cold winter night in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada as my wife, then fiancé, and I drove a lonely highway to visit my parents. We had started late afternoon for the six-hour drive.
Other than a car following behind us, there wasn’t much traffic. But two flickering lights off in the dark distance warned of an approaching vehicle.
As the car got closer, it suddenly veered into our lane. Panicked my wife who was driving wrenched the steering wheel to the right and our car plunged into the ditch.
We hit the ditch at full speed and the deep snow gripped our front wheels and our car rolled. Not sideways, but end over end — back over front.
Suddenly my wife and I were hanging upside down in our car. I remember fumbling with the keys and turning off the vehicle. We released our seat belts and collapsed on the ceiling of the car.
Other than being in total shock about what had just happened, we were unhurt.
But the deep snow, that had cushioned our crash, was now completely covering our side windows and we couldn’t budge the doors.
The vehicle trailing behind us immediately pulled over. Two men tramped through the snow to find out if we were alright. They cleared away the snow blocking our car doors and pulled us out.
They offered us a ride to the next town where we could phone my parents to come and pick us up. The car would need a tow truck.
As my wife and I sat in the back seat, they asked what had happened. My wife told them about the car veering into our lane and forcing us off the road.
Didn’t you see what happened my wife asked, since they were following close behind us.
The driver, sounding a bit surprised, said there had been no car coming from the other direction, which the man in the passenger seat confirmed. They had just suddenly seen our car hit the ditch and our tail lights flying high into the sky as our car flipped.
But there had been another car, we insisted.
After that awkward discussion, the rest of the trip was pretty quiet. We thanked them as they dropped us off at a hotel, where we waited for my dad to pick us up.
The next day we phoned a small rural gas station who picked up our car. They tried the key that was still in the ignition and the engine fired. Other than a bit of a wow in the roof, you couldn’t even tell it had flipped, and they just pushed that out.
When we picked up the car, the garage owner said we were quite fortunate, because we had landed in a large build up of snow, several feet deep, that had cushioned our blow.
A few feet away the snow was only inches thick.
It was one of those puzzling events that sometimes needs a Bible verse to explain it.
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul said he had tried twice to visit the Thessalonians, but Satan hindered him.
18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once (Greek literally ‘again and again’) —and yet Satan hindered us. (1 Thessalonians 2:18 NASV)
According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the Greek word ‘egkopto’ (translated hindered) means “to cut in to, to impede ones course by cutting off his way.”
The word was also used in Greek athletics when runners would literally elbow their opponents to force them off the race track or push them back — to hinder them in their race.
So Paul was saying things were happening in the physical world that were hindering him from visiting the Thessalonians, but the source was satanic.
Looking back at what happened that cold winter night in January many years back, I wondered what was the source of those two lights that cut us off?
Though at times it seems that Satan is hindering us from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives, God always has another plan.
Because of Satan’s hindrances, Paul wrote a letter to the Thessalonians instead and that letter has been a blessing to hundreds of millions of people for the last two thousand years as it was included as part of our Bible.
The Apostle Paul mentioned in another letter that he had also been hindered (egkopto) from visiting their congregation, so he wrote them as well (Romans 15:22).
In retrospect, Satan probably regrets those hindrances.
And since that eventful night, my wife and I now pray before every trip committing our journey to the Lord.