Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

The Car Accident Incident

with 3 comments

A strange thing happened the other night… I was out for a walk late at night, and I found that the intersection by my house was all blocked off in police tape because of an accident, walking by I could clearly see two cars involved, and a body in the street covered by a tarp, somebody had died. I walked by slowly, for once appreciating the opportunity to see how collisions are  handled  without holding up traffic, and noticed one of the parties involved was being questioned by the police with her family. I decided to continue with my walk, musing as I went about the fragility of life and the fact that at the moment this happened, I was less than a mile away telling jokes with my neighbors.

By the time I returned en route back to my house, one of the lanes had been cleared, most of the shrapnel had been cleaned up, and the family was sitting on a bench outside the police line, One woman who had clearly been driving, was bent over in tears. My heart went out to the woman and her family, she had killed a man that night, she knew it, and she obviously felt the full significance of that. I heard someone way “Well, they say we’re free to go” and the woman looked up from her tears and choked out the words “You mean, they’re not gonna pit me in prison?” almost in unison the family responded “NO! you’re okay it was an accident, the police know that” As her they tried to comfort her I quietly and politely walked by, or at least I tried to.

This is probably a good time to mention that I’m pretty skeptical as Christians go, I don’t do a lot based on emotion or tradition, I like facts and figures. This translates poorly into certain doctrines and certain spiritual experiences. For instance, I have never been “slain in the spirit”. I don’t speak in tongues, I hate it when people investigate first dates in terms of “God’s will for their life” and I have never, ever, felt supernatural pressure to talk to, pray for, or evangelize a stranger. Ever!…until the other night.

So God and I had this argument in my head that went something as follows. (if you’re reading and you’re not a Christian, The voice of God sounds to me much like a thought in my head. Sometimes I get the two confused, but in situations like this where I’m apparently thinking things I disagree with it’s easier to tell)

So In my head I said  “Boy I sure hope God puts some people in her life that can help her through her grief” and the idea arrived in my head that went something like “I just did”

This all happened very fast, and I’d love to say that at that moment I realized that it made no sense to be arguing with the almighty in my head and proceeded to make the right decision, but i didn’t have time to think that through before I retorted back “No I mean like a grief counselor or something, someone who’s an expert in this…” and almost as soon as the thought was formed it dawned on me…” You’re a Pastor”…

“Shoot, missed opportunity, I’m already passed them now”

“You could go back”

“I can’t go back, that’s awkward, that’s weird, this person does not need another stranger who…”

“What did you think you were on this walk for anyway?”

…Well now that shut me up. I don’t know, I had just felt the need to take a walk, It’s not normally my style to leave a social environment to go for a walk but sometimes you just need a walk, and now I’m here, and there was this accident and this woman needs someone to comfort her, and I’m arguing with myself that I need to go back and…Got it, I need to go back.

So I turned back towards them, the oldest son caught my eyes and I felt completely creepy, I was a total stranger, younger than anyone there, wearing  jean shorts and a cotton green sportcoat from a thrift store, walking towards them… barefoot…

“Hi… I’m so sorry to but my nose where it doesn’t belong, but… Is there anything I can do To help?….I’m a pastor, Can I pray for you?

The man didn’t pause “Yeah!” he said nodding “That’s okay ma?”

She looked up at me “Yes….I’m Jewish, but…”

I smiled, “That’s okay” I said waving my hand

The group gathered around in a circle there was about 8 of us, I put my hands on the backs of the women to either side of me, the driver was across from me, her name was Fran, and we all prayed together, a Christian pastor, a Jewish mother, certainty some people who hadn’t prayed in years if ever. It was a simple prayer, lasting no longer than a minute, I called on God as Father, to hold us closer in the wake of this tragedy, and to help us to life out our days in this fallen world, I prayed specifically for Fran to be filled with a sense of his love and forgiveness of her, that she’d know she is always loved and always accepted.

When the prayer was over she looked at me, holding back tears. “Thank you! Thank You….thank you.” and she gave me a hug and then headed to her car to go home.

As I left another woman approached me “You’re a pastor?…Where do you work.” I briefly explained and she said “I mean where can I find you? I’m a lost lamb, I need a church” So I have her my contact info to help her find a place locally.

And that’s the story, that’s it. No fire from heaven, no spirit descending like a dove, she didn’t accept Christ that night, she just prayed with me, and I think it helped.


Written by RyanGaffney

August 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Interesting follow up.

    I had another experience yesterday when I felt God was asking me to call out a group of Christians on some closed mindedness and being more Republican than Christian.

    I did it again, It worked again.

    I’m praying for the gift of prophesy, perhaps this is the answer.


    August 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm

  2. Hey Ryan. Thanks for sharing this story. It does seem to me that you are learning obedience to the voice of God rather than prophecy, as prophecy would be giving a specific message. Perhaps that was the case with the second incident. No matter. As we pursue God, He works these things out in us. I’m glad you’re experiencing Him in a new way. Cheers.

    Katie Brooks

    August 31, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    • Thanks for your Input Katie. Yeah I guess I keep broader definitions of these terms


      August 31, 2010 at 7:40 pm

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