The Hug of Heaven // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

On a drizzly March afternoon, when I was a nine years old, my parents were seriously injured in an automobile accident. An inattentive semi truck driver lost control of his rig. His trailer bed skidded into their lane and they hit it head on.

Mom was thrown through the windshield and landed on the wet asphalt. Dad was pinned and mangled inside our vehicle.

They were life-flighted by helicopter to the big city, and placed in intensive care, where Dad’s life hung by a mere thread.

I was in class doing an art project, when the principal came to the door, saying he wanted to see me. I thought I was in big trouble, and practiced my excuses as I followed him down the long hall to his office.

Arriving, I saw two ladies from our church sitting there, nervous and puffy-eyed. With choked voices they told me of the terrible accident, and that they had come to bring my brother and me home.

Lots of friends and familiar strangers were milling around our house as we drove up the driveway. They greeted us with morose hugs, pinched our cheeks, and and told us they’d be praying.

I saw them whispering to each other, and as they looked our direction, they shook their heads with pity. Looking back on it now, I know they were just making arrangements for taking care of the poor Wilson children during this horrible ordeal.

Ironically, that kind of comfort wasn’t the least bit comforting to a third grader.

Quietly, I slipped away from the noisy intruders, to the dog house out back, and sat down beside my best friend Pepper: a furry and friendly collie.

I put my arms around Pepper’s neck, buried my face in his warm, soft side, and cried my heart out.

Somehow, Pepper understood, and silently, he told me so.

Right then, for the first time in my life, I felt God hug me.

It seemed like big loving arms from heaven reached down to me — and drew me in — Pepper too! I felt loved. I felt strength. I felt peace.

Then, I knew that everything was going to be o.k.

My parents did survive the accident, though it was a long and difficult recovery.

Several times since, during the course of my life, when facing a difficult or painful situation, I’ve remembered that day I sat down next to Pepper — and I’ve felt the hug of heaven all over again.

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Hayward, WI 54843

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