Motivational Monday-Keeping a Promise
On a beautiful fall day in southwestern Michigan, my friends and I were playing a game of volleyball on the beach. Four of us, lingered a little longer after the game talking and enjoying the fall breezes blowing over Lake Michigan. Delisha shared, “I am going home to Indiana in three weeks. I would like my parents and family to meet a few of my college friends. Would you be willing to join me? We will leave Friday after classes and be back Saturday night.”
We all agreed we would go with her. She had previously invited other friends to go home with her and they had said yes but then backed out. She kindly added, “I will be letting my family know how many to plan for so please promise me you will be true to your word and not back out.” We all promised our word was true.
However, the next morning, in my quiet time with God, I was praying and asking Him to bless the trip to Delisha’s home for His glory and honor. As a new Christian, I was learning to listen to the Spirit’s promptings, and I immediately felt something was terribly wrong with this trip. I felt it was not in God’s will for us to go. I was living in the university dormitory and Delisha’s room was just a few doors down. I got up off my knees and went to her room. I said, “Delisha something is terribly wrong. We cannot go to your house in three weeks.” And I related to her the strong impression I had received. She replied, “Dana, you promised you would go. Here it is just the second day, and you are already backing out. You are just concerned you won’t be back for your date Saturday night. Nothing is going to happen.”
“I am not concerned about my date on Saturday night. I feel strongly impressed that something is wrong,” I emphasized and then added, “I think we should postpone the trip.” And again, related my prayer experience.
“You will be back on time. Nothing is wrong,” Delisha insisted, “I make time for everything.”
“Delisha, you can’t make time for an accident,” I replied, though the thought of an accident was not something that had been on my mind, it just came out of my mouth.
Delisha shook her head, “Oh Dana, there won’t be any accident. I will get you back on time.”
I went back to my room, got down on my knees and pleaded, “God I have a dilemma; I promised Delisha I would go with her to her house. I am sorry I did not consult You first before I made this agreement. You have said we are supposed to be people of our word and we are to live peaceably with all men. But I do feel this is not Your will. I cannot change Delisha’s mind, but You can. I am asking You to please do whatever it takes to bring a change to Delisha’s mind or change something so that the trip is either cancelled or postponed according to Your will. Please keep us all safe.”
I had recently been studying Deuteronomy and Joshua. I had learned how God had given Israel very specific directions to avoid making any alliances or treaties with the surrounding nations of Canaan (Deuteronomy 20:16-17). But God did say Israel could enter into a peace treaty agreement, under very specific arrangements, with countries very far away (Deuteronomy 20:10-15).
Now the inhabitants of Gibeon made as if they were from a very far country (Joshua 9). They put on old shoes and garments, took moldy bread and wine in old wine sacks and went to Joshua. Joshua was suspicious and stated, “Perhaps you actually dwell in the land of Canaan. Then we cannot make an agreement with you.” But the Gibeonites were very persuasive and showed Joshua their moldy bread and worn-out clothes and shoes as proof that they had come a great distance. Joshua believed them and “did not ask counsel of the Lord” (Joshua 9:14) and he entered into a peace treaty with them. After three days the truth was discovered, but too late. The treaty had already been agreed upon and they were to be true to their word even to their own hurt (Psalm 15:4) and would not change it, “lest wrath be upon [them] because of the oath which [they] swore unto [them]” (Joshua 9:20).
Years later Saul killed the Gibeonites and God withheld rain from Israel for three years because of the breach of treaty (2 Samuel 21:1). Therefore, I dared not go back on my word.
Three weeks passed and it was time to leave for Delisha’s home. It was a crisp, cool day, but everyone’s heart, except mine, was warm and happy to get off campus and enjoy some ‘girl time.’ Determined to keep my word as promised, I packed my things and joined the others, but I was terribly uncomfortable. I knew in my heart things were not going to go as planned. I sat in the back seat behind Delisha, very quiet and meditative. I added only a few words to the conversation.
We arrived that evening at Delisha’s home and were warmly welcomed by her family. They lived in a very serene, peaceful, countryside setting and there was a very joyous atmosphere in the home. Mrs. Medina served us a delicious, traditional, Hispanic evening meal.
Saturday afternoon Delisha announced, “I want to show you our old house where we use to live and then we will head back to school.” We all piled into the car and headed down the country road. The weather had turned colder and overnight a dusting of snow had fallen making the fields pristine white. Delisha’s old house looked beautiful in the white country setting. We could see that animals and birds had recently visited the home as well by their footprints in the snow. A brilliant red cardinal called to us from a white, snow-covered tree decorated with icicles.
The girls were enjoying a good conversation as we headed back to Delisha’s to pack up our belongings and head back to school. I could not tell you what the conversation was about because I was still in a quiet prayerful mode, interceding that all would be ok.
Suddenly, the car jerked sideways; we hit black ice and began spinning out-of-control. I remember actually relaxing, and saying to God, “Here it is, save us!” We spun into a ravine and then backwards and smashed into a cement bridge. My roommate and I were thrown out the back window (you would think I would have put my seat belt on, but I hadn’t). Still, God was merciful and sent His angels to literally push us back into the car! If He hadn’t intervened, I am sure Melanie and myself would not be alive to tell the story because our heads would have been smashed against the concrete.
Delisha looked back at us and saw her two friends in a bloody mess, and became hysterical, “I killed my friends, I killed my friends.” Our faces were badly cut from the glass. I am not sure if we broke the glass as we were thrust out or if the glass broke on impact and cut us up as we went through it, but all the same, we were not a very pretty sight to behold. We also could not answer Delisha because our mouths were full of blood. But Melanie waved her hand motioning she needed to get out. Karen tried to calm Delisha, “They are alive, Delisha. Let’s get out and see if we can get them out." Karen managed to get her door open, and Delisha climbed over the passenger’s seat to get out. Next, they tried to get Melanie out. She eventually was able to lean over to spit out the blood. Again, Delisha became hysterical, “She’s dying, she’s dying.” Melanie assured Delisha, “We are fine. Don’t worry. We are alive.” The car had been compacted and so it was difficult to get us out. Melanie and I finally made it out of the car. I too spit out blood and told Delisha I was ok, and all would be well.
A man in a truck came by and said he would call for help. We were all taken to the emergency room and put through a very painful round of X-rays. It hurt to touch any part of my body. And it seemed they wanted to put me in every possible contortion. But, all things considered, we had only minor injuries compared to what they could have been.
We were quite the sight leaving the hospital. Delisha and Karen were in slings and soft neck braces. Melanie and I had terribly swollen, cut, and bruised faces – Melanie’s being decorated with stitches to close her wounds – and we were quite stiff-necked in hard neck braces. But we were all alive by the grace of God!
God used the Gibeonites to teach the Israelites an important lesson about seeking the Lord for counsel before giving their word. The Gibeonites were permitted to remain in the land as a continual reminder for the Israelites to seek the Lord. Our accident also taught us the same lesson. Melanie has permanent deep scars on her face as a lifetime reminder of the accident. I had to drop out of school for a semester due to the problems and pain in my neck. The accident has cause me a continual ‘pain in the neck’ as a constant reminder to me to always ask God before making a promise or commitment. But Delisha is the one who suffered the most. After the accident, she was never the same. Within a year after the accident, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and shortly after was in a wheelchair. While we may never know for sure, I believe the stress of that accident stimulated MS. It was with sad hearts that Delisha was laid to rest at the tender age of 39.
Would you like to learn more about God?
Join us Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm CT at
Abundant Health Wellness Center, 240 Huntsville Rd., Eureka Springs, AR 72632