It was "only by the grace of God" that Arika Stovall and her boyfriend, Hunter Hanks, survived a crash that should have killed them. After the truck Hanks was driving at 85 miles per hour hit a pole this Sunday, the Tennesse and Florida couple said the accident "should have chopped their bodies in half." But a 3-second drift occurred. In that 3 seconds, "God helped Hunter take the wheel and place his truck exactly in the center of the pole, so that we both went untouched, a feat, 'that just doesn't happen,'" shared Stovall.
"I'm in awe of the presence of God in this entire situation. Every part of this experience we went through points directly to Him," said Stovall.
"The way God helped Hunter to respond exactly the way he did behind the wheel, spinning the truck exactly where it should have to be able to smash into the pillar, directly in the middle of me and Hunter so we were both untouched...that doesn't just happen. God doesn't throw protection around like that for no reason. He does it because he's not finished with us."
Stovall said on Facebook she remembers looking over at the driver's seat to see Hunter's head through the windshield, his face covered in blood, and his body laying there, motionless.
"He keeps beating himself up for my pain but he saved my life. He keeps saying 'I should have protected you and I didn't do that' but he did exactly what he needed to do to make sure my life didn't end," said Stovall.
"The whole baseball player part helped him out...if he can hit a 95 mph fastball he can do anything. He took care of me. And when we were both lying in our beds in the ER he found a way to come protect my heart and give me a hug. Lord knows I needed that just as much as my safety."
Stovall said when she looked straight out the truck, there was a man...bright with a big white beard. "No other cars in sight...just this man. He was my guardian angel. He saw me and immediately told me that an ambulance was coming."
After Stovall jumped out of the car and ran over to Hank's side, she said she just looked at this man -- a seemingly uneventful element, but a fact that she claims helped her while Hanks was being cut and lifted from the vehicle.
"I don't know if it was a hallucination or me unconsciously dreaming or a glimpse of heaven...but all I knew in that moment was that Hunter was safe with me. This man..looking at him for a short moment..helped me not witness Hunter being peeled out of the truck. I believe if I saw that I would have had a heart attack," said Stovall.
Right when Hanks was actually out of the truck, Stovall had a brief understanding with the man regarding the ambulance and then he walked away. "I blinked and a flashlight was in my face. The paramedics were there helping me and Hunter and the anxiety and worry if he was okay disappeared because we were in good hands," shared Stovall.
She said the miracle part is that they both escaped with no broken bones or internal damage, just concussions and a few stitches. She said the paramedics wondered how they didn't die instantly in the truck, which looked like it had been through a tree grinder.
The only thing left behind at the crash scene was Hank's Bible, said Stovall, with it open to a page marked with scripture telling them to not be afraid, that Jesus is with us.
"I am amazed. Absolutely taken away by the presence of God. So blessed for him sending me an angel," shares Stovall.
She said she wants everyone to know the love, power and purpose of God. "We are put on this beautiful earth for a reason and the reason is to help people know Him."
"We are made to show and share His love. And if it takes a car wreck like this for me to get to do that then I would do it all over again," said Stovall.
"I'm praying that everyone who reads this can get a glimpse of God's faithfulness. He is GOOD. And working. And the plans he has for YOU and your life aren't going anywhere. Good or bad, what you want or what you don't want...it's God's doing. It's his plans unfolding. It's his kingdom coming. Embrace the struggles and the joys of this life!"
Stovall believes, without a doubt, it's a miracle she and Hanks are alive. "But more than that, it's simply God's plan for us. We're so grateful for this wreck and all it will do in our lives. We are blessed to be okay. And so in love with the amazing God we serve."