News Articles

God’s providence seen in near-tragedy faced by 2 Southern Seminary students

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–John Barnett climbed into the passenger seat of Angela Scott’s car. They were headed to a fast-food place to enjoy two of the basic food groups of many seminarians: burgers and fries.
While driving through a parking lot at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., Scott sped over a speed bump — too fast. Barnett turned to make a snide remark about Scott’s driving when he noticed why she was speeding.
“I thought, ‘Angela is dying,'” Barnett recalled. She was slumped over the wheel with her eyes rolling backward and her leg locked, burying the gas pedal into the floor. She was shaking.
Barnett quickly realized his own health was in peril as the car raced head-on at 50 mph toward a retaining wall.
“It was like being in a crash dummy test,” he recounted.
Barnett jumped over the console, slammed on the brakes, jerked the wheel. The car bounced onto the curb and came to a screeching halt, missing the wall by inches.
Barnett always wears a seatbelt, but for some reason had forgotten to fasten it. This enabled his inside-the-car gymnastics.
“I don’t know how I jumped over the console and did all that crazy stuff,” he said. “God was definitely protecting us.”
As soon as the car stopped, Barnett turned to his attention to Scott, who had come to her senses.
“I didn’t remember anything,” Scott said. “I thought we were in the middle of the highway.”
As Barnett administered his admittedly limited medical care, two other seminary students who had heard the clamor joined him. Aaron Erskine and Charity Bowman, a fireman and a nurse respectively, ensured Scott was in no immediate danger. She is currently seeing medical specialists about her condition, which is yet unexplained.
“Had we gone into the wall, God was still protecting us because the next people on the scene were people with real rescue experience,” Barnett said. Scott agreed with Barnett that Bowman and Erskine’s arrival was another sign of God’s safekeeping.
“I just praise the Lord that John was in the car with me and that he was able to act fast. That just shows that God is in control. If there was ever a hero, it would be John Barnett,” said Scott.
Scott said she believes God had a greater purpose for her flirtation with death — her rededication. “I know that the Lord sometimes makes us go through things to get our attention. Knowing that I came close to death made me realize that I needed to be right with God,” she said. “It made me wonder if Jesus would tell me, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”
The aftermath of the near-tragedy on Jan. 30 spawned question after question for Scott and Barnett. Scott realized that “if one thing had been different, then John and I could have been seriously injured or worse.”
What if Barnett had fastened his seatbelt and could not reach the brake? What if he had not been able to react quickly? What if the incident had happened earlier in the day when Scott had twice driven by herself? What if it had occurred on the highway? What if there had been people or cars in the parking lot? What if a nurse and fireman had not been close at hand?
Most people would label these “coincidences,” as fortunate twists of fate, as the shining of Lady Luck. Scott and Barnett have a better answer: God’s providence.

    About the Author

  • Bryan Cribb