Whenever disaster strikes, stories of inspiration, bravery or miraculous circumstances begin to surface in the days and weeks afterward. Such is the case in the story behind the picture above. Photographer Rick Murray of Hendersonville, TN took the photo on Sunday, May 2, 2010 during the widespread flooding that swept the greater Nashville area over the course of that weekend. After he snapped it, he prayed. “Please Lord, don’t let me have taken the last picture of those kids alive.”
The two teenagers in peril that morning were Jamey Howell and Andrea Silva, who were on their way to church in Jamey’s jeep. When they found their regular route was not passable, they went another way to get to their destination. Emergency personnel cleared them to take another road. However, this proved to be treacherous as well. While crossing a bridge, their vehicle was overtaken by flash flood waters. In an instant, they had to decide what to do, so they decided to call 9-1-1. They were told it would be at least 20 minutes before anyone could come to their aid.
As the water rose quickly, they climbed on top of the jeep and held on for dear life…for a full 90 minutes. It was during this time, that Murray took the now-famous snapshot. He then witnessed as the two were swept away into the floodwaters. As he told his story to local media, he remembered, ““My head is spinning. I wish I hadn’t seen that.”
But, what he didn’t know at the time is that the two young people had decided they needed to let go…and see what God would do. After clinging for so long to the jeep, He gave them the strength to swim through the muddy, fast-moving waters to safety, where emergency personnel were able to get to them and pull them out. Andrea was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and was released. She later said, “I think the whole time God was with us…there’s just no other explanation but God.”
Andrea and Jamey may not have made it to church that Sunday morning, but they definitely felt His powerful presence as He met them in the water.