Saved By the Voice

By Hillary Escalon

Photo by Shutterstock

I stretched for what must have been the 10th time, pulled the covers back over my head, and turned to the other side of the bed. A ray of sunlight struggled to find its way through an opening in the heavy drapes, reminding me that it was daylight. I don’t want to get up! I groaned inwardly as I buried my head further into the pillow. Why can’t I just stay in bed? But I couldn’t afford to stay in bed any longer (literally). In fact, this wasn’t even my bed! This bed was in a room on the fifth floor of the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.

Taking one last long stretch, I flipped both legs off the bed and fidgeted my feet to find my pink flip flops in the semidarkness. I glanced at the other bed in the room where my two young children, a boy and a girl ages nine and 10 lay, dead to everything around them. Suddenly my eyes caught the clock on the night stand—11:20, that can’t be right. But the big, bright red numbers were glaring straight at me disproving my doubts.

“Hey guys, time to wake up!” I repeated at least a hundred times before two sleepy-eyed kids acknowledged me. Why did they take so long to obey their own mother’s voice? What if it were an emergency? I quickly got them dressed, hurriedly put on some clothes, and headed downstairs. As we emerged from the elevator, the clock on the wall at the front desk showed 11:59—only a minute left for check out.

While waiting my turn, my thoughts went back to the events of the night before. Oh, what a fun-filled party it was! My dear friend, Rita, was given a lovely 60th birthday party by her three children. Knowing in advance that the party would probably finish near midnight, I had made reservations to stay overnight at the hotel. I didn’t think it would have been a good idea to drive two hours home at that time of the night, especially with two young children.

Now that we had checked out, it was time to head on back home. As I normally do, I paused to pray for God’s protection as we traveled. Although it was the middle of February, it was an absolutely beautiful day—almost like early spring. The air smelled fresh and clean and there was a light wind blowing. Nothing could spoil this day. “Turn right,” came the pleasant-sounding lady on my GPS as soon as we approached the hotel exit. A few yards down the road I approached a wide intersection just as the traffic light turned red. There were hardly any vehicles in sight (probably because it was Sunday). Eventually a few came through from the opposite direction. After about 20 seconds, I thought, What a long light! I wonder if it’s always like this?

As I sat waiting, I noticed a silver Ford Taurus a good distance away, coming from my right. Just then I looked up and saw that the light was finally changing. Thank God. This must be the longest traffic light ever! It stayed on yellow for several more seconds then eventually turned to green. As I shifted into first gear (I’ve always driven stick shift) and prepared to move, I looked to my right and there was the Ford Taurus still coming down the road. Is it just my imagination or does it seem to be moving at the same speed? I wondered. Surely, the driver must have seen that the light has changed to red. I started to feel somewhat uncomfortable. There was nothing about the approaching car to indicate that it was slowing down but it wasn’t speeding up either. Maybe he’s one of those drivers who hit the brakes at the last minute. Yes, he’s probably one of those. But as I observed the car more intently, something inside my head said, Wait. I paused for a few more seconds, quickly checking my rear view mirror to make sure no other cars were coming in my lane. But how much longer could I stay stationary at an obviously green traffic light. I started to press the gas pedal again, and sure enough, something nudged me to wait. Through my right side mirror I could see a charcoal Toyota Highlander SUV making its way down the lane next to me. I’ll follow him after he passes. In a few seconds the vehicle passed and as I was about to hit the accelerator, I heard a male voice distinctly and emphatically say, “Don’t move!”

Bam! Bam! Crash! The sound of crushing metal permeated the otherwise silent atmosphere. Grey smoke erupted everywhere and the whole scene seemed surreal.

“Mommy, mommy, what happened?” My two kids immediately shouted from the back seat. I paused momentarily and with a slight tremor in my voice said softly, “God just saved us from an accident.”  As I took a few moments to gain my composure, I knew I had heard the voice of an angel and was thankful that I had listened and obeyed.