DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
PART ONE – THE KILLER INTERSECTION
August 1979 An Excerpt From: “CROSS + WISE – The Journal of a Walker” By: Henry Gruver
It was August of 1979 and we were moving our family from a small Oregon community along the Columbia River into a house in the St. Johns district of North Portland, Oregon. The house was situated on a heavily traveled five-point, double-curved intersection that led to the international shipping terminals for the Port of Portland.
The children were excited to see the television cameras from the local station filming the intersection and interviewing the neighbors. They ran into the house, calling out, “Daddy, come quickly; the news people want to interview you!”
When I went out to see what they were talking about, the media was interviewing the neighbors who lived across the street from us. Their distress was very evident as they related the account of the most recent tragedy, which had involved a young man on a motorcycle who had been decapitated when he failed to navigate the double curve going through the intersection.
The interviewer then turned to me, asking, “What is your name? And how long have you lived here?”
My answer, of course, caused them to immediately lose interest in the interview, and they had no more to say to me. However, my Heavenly Father would have much more to say to me in the following weeks.
It didn’t take us long to realize why the media had come to that intersection. All hours of the day and night there were head-on collisions, power poles knocked down, and victims trapped in cars and crushed vehicles. The sirens would blare from police cars, emergency vehicles and fire trucks. Time and time again, our house would shake from the impact of trucks and cars colliding, which sometimes shook the whole family out of a sound sleep.
It became commonplace for me to be stirred in the night by my Heavenly Father, who would call me to “Wake up and come and walk with Me.” Many mornings we would fellowship, as the new day would dawn, walking together along that curve. As He shared His heart with me concerning the passersby and the people of the community, I would pray.
The climax to these events came one mid-afternoon when I was sitting at the dining room table and the house thundered and shook, accompanied by the sound of crushing metal and breaking glass. I jumped to my feet, grabbing my coat as I ran out the back door, claiming and proclaiming, “The Blood of Jesus! The Blood of Jesus! The Blood of Jesus!”
As I came around the outbuilding on our property, I saw a sight I did not want to see. There was a small compact car literally dissolved into the face of a “Mack” semi-truck, fully loaded with steel from the Port of Portland’s international shipping docks up the road. The steam and smoke coming from it caused me to think, “I must move fast. This could go up in flames at any moment!”
Arriving closer to the scene, I could see two ladies, both unconscious, one draped over the front seat, the other fallen into the steering wheel, which was crushed into her chest.
As I forced the side door open, I was praying for the women, and she began to regain consciousness. At the moment the truck driver came climbing out the front window of his cab, down over the wreckage, calling out, “Don’t move her! I’m not,” I reassured him, “I’m praying for her.” At the same time, a little boy with blood all over him, crawled out of the wreckage, right up into my arms.
While carrying him to the side of the road, in order to get him out of the traffic, and trying to wipe the blood from his face and eyes, I began to pray for him. His shaking body became calm and peaceful. His crying stopped and he tried to look around.
“Where is Matthew? Where is my som?”
I turned to see the truck driver assisting the woman who had been bent over the front seat of the car. The crowd that had gathered was trying to calm her down.
“I can’t see! I can’t see,” she cried! “Where is my son? Is he alive?” The little boy in my arms was looking at her, when I said to her, “Don’t cry. He is all right. He’s right here looking at you.”
Her fears and questions persisted, as she continued to cry out, “But I can’t see! Is he all right? Is he breathing?”
I gently coaxed her, “Giving me your hand.” As she obeyed, I put it in front of his face, and said, “See, he’s breathing, He’s looking at you. He’s okay.”
While heading back to the scene of the accident, I put him in his mother’s arms. As I approached the driver of the car, who had been regaining consciousness, I heard her faint voice asking, “Who was praying for Matthew? Please pray for me. Please! Please! It hurts so bad I think I’m going to go out again.”
As I prayed out loud for her, she looked at me and smiled and said, “I don’t hurt anymore. The pain is all gone. Thank you. But I still can’t move. I feel like I am all stuffed in.”
The fireman standing at my side said, “You certainly are, ma’am; but hold fast, we’re going to get you out of there in a jiffy.” With that, he allowed me to stay, comforting her, while they removed the hinges from the door in order to get her out. As they were putting her on the stretcher, she asked me not to leave her side. The emergency personnel then allowed me to come inside and sit beside her while they were preparing her for transport to the hospital.
Matthew’s mother then asked me if I would call her husband who would be coming home from work soon – and not know where they were. She gave me his phone number at work, thanking me for my prayers and for helping all of them. I asked the attendant which hospital they would be taking them to, and quickly left the ambulance and ran home to make the call.
After the call I fell down on my knees and cried out to my Father, pleading with Him, “Why won’t You stop this? Why does it have to go on and on?”
He spoke so clearly to my heart as He challenged me with these words, “Why don’t you claim the same protection over the intersection, as you do daily for your own house and family? You have no difficulty trusting the covering of the Blood of Jesus for protection from destruction and death for them. Why not believe it for this corner, as well?”
I related to my family what the Lord had shared with me; and we took Him at His word from that day forth – every morning, in our devotional time with Him as a family, we included the “Killer Intersection” in our prayers. From that time, until we moved away ten years later, only two accidents occurred. When we first start praying, there was an accident, on the average, of one every 36 hours.
The first accident occurred about four years later. We were holding a Bible study in the outbuilding we called, “The Chapel”, when we heard a slight screech of tires, and a “Bang!” As I ran out the door, a young woman came running in, saying, “Please, let me come in. I don’t want anyone to know I was in that pickup with him. If my husband finds out, he’ll kill me.”
Judith came up then and took her into “The Chapel”. We noticed her ear had a slight scratch on it where her head had bumped the window on impact. I went out the door hearing Judith, and the others who were there, praying for her.
Instantly an officer was at the scene, and he called a tow truck to come because the pickup’s fender had bent into the tire and it couldn’t be driven away. Upon the arrival of the tow truck, I overheard its driver saying to the officer, “What did I do wrong? You haven’t called me for several years; and I used to be called to this intersection at least four times a week. Who have you been calling instead of me?”
“No one,” the officer testily replied. “This is the first call I, myself, have had to this intersection in years. I don’t know about the other shift, but we haven’t been called to respond to accidents here anymore.”
I walked away, going back to “The Chapel” with a thankful heart, knowing that the Lord had really shown to the neighborhood His sovereign protection in direct answer to our family’s prayers.
Often, in my walks with the Lord, I come to areas where there have been many accidents. The evidence shows itself by debris, crosses placed there in memorial; or, people, as they hear these testimonies, tell me of tragedies repeatedly happening in certain areas of their lives. In the section on, “Remitting Sins”, this problem will be addressed in more detail.
The second accident on that curve occurred about 4:30a.m., around a year and a half before we moved away from Portland. I was awakened by the sound of skidding tires and a “Boom!” I jumped up, quickly pulled up my britches and headed out the door to make sure everyone was all right. I was shaking my head, and questioning, “Lord, what is going on here? We’ve been faithful claiming the Blood of Jesus and Your protection over this intersection.”
It turned out that a ’71 Ford Econoline van had a one-vehicle accident, involving two men on their way to an early morning of fishing. The passenger asked the driver what kind of bait to put on his hook. While he was answering him, he looked and pointed to the shrimp, which caused him to swerve and swing too wide for the curve. He ended up clipping off a telephone pole! They wound up on the other side of the road, heading into the curb. Neither of the two parties was seriously hurt; and they both were standing outside of the van, telling me what had happened, when the officer arrived.
As the men tried to explain to him what had taken place, he became very irritated and said, “How do you expect me to believe this? Who are you covering for? Where is the other car that hit the pole first? Who were you chasing? Or, who was chasing you? All you have is a very small dent – not even breaking your windshield, or bending into the body of the van; and you’re telling me that you clipped off that power pole? There has to be another vehicle that you are covering for.”
“No, officer,” the driver protested, “there is nothing over there for evidence of anything or anyone else. We don’t know either, how we broke the pole off so easily, without more damage to the van, or ourselves. We were only on our way to an early start for a day of fishing. You can check in the van. The shrimp and the worms are in there. I was telling my friend to use the shrimp for bait, when I swerved and hit that pole.” The officer finally seemed satisfied that there was no cover-up.