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God Was Right Under the Wheel

    It was July of this year, and Susan Archie was out in her back yard, looking at the big tractor her husband used to cut the lawn. He had always promised to teach her how to drive it, but with all the outside chores in their rural area in South Carolina, he hadn�t gotten around to it yet. The lawn needed cutting, and the tractor didn�t look all that hard to drive, Susan mused. Maybe she should try it.

    She checked on her six-year-old son, Joshua, who was driving a little motorized car on the other side of the yard. He was enthralled with all things mechanical, and probably knew more about the tractor than she did. �Stay over there, Joshua,� she called to him. �I�m going to cut the grass on this side.�

    Up and over and into the seat before she had time to reconsider. The wheels on the tractor were up to her nose, and the cutting blade was seven feet long.. She wouldn�t think about any of that. Plenty of country women drove tractors. She turned on the ignition, and the engine sprang to life.

    One pass along the outside of the grass, turn, and then another pass. Susan was doing just fine. Joshua had approached once, yelling that she wasn�t cutting the grass just right, but she had waved him away. Now he was back on the safe side of the lawn. Or was he? Suddenly Susan realized that Josh was not where she�d thought he was. Frantically she looked around. There he was, riding up alongside of her! �Josh, get away!� Susan stepped on the brakes.

    �Mom, you�re not cutting it right!� she heard him shout. Then Josh attempted to jump onto the tractor. In a horrified moment, she saw him slide beneath the tractor, and felt the huge wheel go over him. �Josh!� she screamed, cutting the engine. Her husband came running from the front yard. �He�s under the tractor! I�ve killed him!� Susan screamed, as she ran for the phone in the house.

    The shock of the unbelievable scene stayed with her as she babbled to the paramedics. Why hadn�t she been more careful? What damage had the blade done to him? God, God� She couldn�t think of any formal prayer, but her heart seemed ready to burst.

    Since the Archies lived so far into the country, the paramedics told Susan they would meet her and Josh at a country store several miles away, rather than waste precious time looking for the house. Susan ran back to the accident scene. Her husband had somehow gotten Josh out from under the tractor wheel, and he was lying on the ground. Stunned, she realized the six-year-old was conscious, and there was no sign that he had been cut by the blade. �I�m okay, Daddy, it doesn�t hurt,� Josh was protesting.

    �Lie still, Josh, and don�t talk,� the adults told him as they carefully carried him to the truck. He couldn�t be okay, Susan thought. She had felt the huge wheel go over him. His lungs must be crushed, and as for internal injuries�.she didn�t want to think. She had phoned her mother to alert her church�s prayer chain, and she knew word was going out over the hills and hamlets. There was power in prayer. But could it save her son�s life?

    The truck sped down the country road. Before they even reached the store, Susan saw the Lifeflight helicopter fly over them, and set down in the parking lot. As they turned in, the paramedics were waiting, and in minutes they had Josh ready to be airlifted. Susan watched the plane take off, asking angels to circle it. As she and her husband pulled out of the parking lot to drive to the hospital, Susan noticed that the lot was almost full. People�.people she knew, and those she had never seen before, all alerted to Josh�s condition, she realized. They had come to the store to offer silent support, just to let her know they were praying. Tears streamed down her cheeks. God, God�.

    Joshua spent three days in the hospital while physicians checked every inch of him. They discovered that his liver had almost been cut in two, his lungs were bruised and two ribs cracked. It was almost unbelievable that he did not have more serious injuries, but these were troublesome enough. And yet Joshua seemed to have no pain. �I want to go home, Mom,� he kept telling Susan. �I feel fine, honest.�

    �He seemed completely normal,� Susan says. �After the first night, he actually roamed the halls, looking for something to do.� The liver mended without surgery. All in all, doctors felt he had been a lucky little boy.

    Susan knew it was far more than luck. From the moment she had asked for prayers, they had come. People met her at the hospital, dropped off notes at her house, wrote letters from faraway places, people from all faiths, all assuring her that they were praying for Josh�s healing. And one evening Josh confirmed it. �God was with me,� he told his mother. �He was under the wheel, right with me.�

    God, and a host of angels, shielding him from injury. Susan gives thanks every day.

    � 2003 by Joan Wester Anderson

    For more stories of God's love, visit the website at:www.joanwanderson.com
    joan@joanwanderson.com