And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

It was Sunday morning, Father’s Day.  I woke up with plans of hearing a good message at church, and then spending some precious family time together, grilling, maybe watching a movie.  Just relaxing.  But that day would soon be anything but relaxing. 

My husband was already up, and a minute or two after I’d gotten up he looked at me with a slight grin and told me our son hadn’t come home.  He’d left the night before, presumably to hang out with some friends.  One particular friend came to mind and I figured he’d gone there and just decided to stay the night.  He’d probably be home any minute. 

My husband began texting him, and we waited.  He texted again.  Still nothing. 

“Forget the texting.” I said, and I made a mad dash to my phone and started to punch in the number, but my husband was already calling.  He finally answered, and the side of the conversation I heard I didn’t like. 

“Where are you?” my husband said.

He suddenly had a confused look on his face. “What’s around you?”

Panic started to form a lump in my throat. 

A few more minutes of their back and forth and I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I pleaded to talk with him.  I asked him all the same questions.  “Where are you?  What do you mean you don’t know where you are?  Are you still driving?”

“Yes.”

We lost our phone connection.  I couldn’t imagine where he was or how he’d gotten there.  And the scariest thing was, neither could he. 

I finally got him on the phone again.  He thought he was on his way to a certain town.  That couldn’t be.  It was so far away.  He kept saying his face hurt.  His phone cut out again. 

We looked at each other and wondered out loud if he really could be on a road so far away from home.  And why did his face hurt? 

After another 20 minutes or so of 30-second conversations between being cut off, he said he was passing a sign with the name of the town he was entering.  Yes, he really had been headed in that direction, away from home. 

He said he was almost out of gas and we were sure his phone was ready to die.  He said he was pulling into a gas station to fill up.  I prayed with him and told him to stay there. We were coming to get him. 

He said he just wanted to get back on the road and come home.  His face hurt. 

I knew I’d have to call on my “mom voice” and demand that he stay put. 

“Are you on the road?” I said.

“Yes. I just want to come home.”

“Turn around and park and stay there!  We are on our way.”

The tone and decibel level of my voice told him I meant business.  He turned around and parked in a parking lot by a certain restaurant and that gave my husband just enough information to know where he was. 

We both ran around the house grabbing ice, water, ibuprofen.  I asked friends to be praying for us.  And in minutes we were in the car driving the almost two-hour trip out of town to get our son.  The trip was taking too long.  I had to remind myself to breathe. 

We finally got there, searched the parking lot for a minute and spotted his car.  All three of us hugged.  His face was scraped up and a corner of his tooth had been left on a sidewalk somewhere, but he was okay.  We took him to the emergency room around the corner to have him checked out.  His CT scan came back fine, but we figured he must have had a slight concussion. 

When we got back home my husband was able to map out his route with the few landmarks he could remember, which included a dirt road, cows and an Indian reservation. 

The worst part of looking at that map was knowing that in order for him to get where he was, he had to have taken the road we took–a road that for miles and miles wound around some mountains and had plenty of drop-offs.  Even when we showed him the route he must have taken, he still didn’t remember. 

It was nothing short of a miracle that he had made that three-hour drive.  Many miracles, in fact. A miracle he didn’t get into an accident.  A miracle he didn’t fall asleep. A miracle he didn’t run out of gas.  A miracle his phone didn’t die.  A miracle he didn’t drive off the side of a mountain.

His tooth was fixed and his face is healing well.  He had been goofing around with a friend, jumped on his back and they both fell onto the sidewalk. He apparently cushioned his friend’s blow. 

Course we had to ask him if he stopped along the way to go cow-tipping.  We got a bit of a grin out of him. 

My prayers for the next week or two consisted mainly of two words—“Thank you.”  I knew we’d been gifted with a great deal of grace that day.  The day wasn’t relaxing, we missed church and there was no movie.  But we had the best Father’s Day we could have.  We’d been given the gift of more time with our son.  So much better than any old tie. 

We don’t always have such a dramatic reminder of God’s constant presence, but He’s there just the same.  No matter where we go or what we do, He’s with us.  And even when we don’t know where we are, He does, and He’s there.

Always.