NASHVILLE - They say a picture is worth a thousand words and the powerful photo of a couple reuniting in the hospital after a near-fatal accident proves that.
Arika Stovall and Hunter Hanks were driving home on New Year's Day when the couple's Toyota Tundra hit a bridge support while they were going somewhere between 70 and 80 miles per hour. Paramedics wondered how they didn't die instantly from the wreck.
The couple, lucky to be alive, were taken to a nearby hospital in Tennessee. They were separated and when they finally reunited a photo of them was taken in neck braces, face to face while locking eyes with one another.
"Even though they kept giving us the reassurance that we were okay we just needed to see that for ourselves. So that was the moment we were able to," Stovall told FOX News.
Stovall shared the picture on social media and it quickly went viral. She said she remembered seeing an old man with a white beard at the accident scene, who she believes was God. Stovall told FOX News the guardian angel gave her an overwhelming sense of peace.
“I'm overwhelmed at how little damage was done to Hunter and I in a wreck that should have chopped our bodies in half. 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,” Stovall said.
Immediately following the car accident, Stovall looked over and saw her boyfriend’s head through the windshield. She said it was covered in blood and his body wasn’t moving.
“I looked straight out the truck and there was a man.bright with a big white beard. No other cars in sight...just this man. He was my guardian angel.”
Stovall said the man stuck by her side and helped her remain calm. Then she said he walked away once paramedics arrived and she knew she was in good hands.
“Here is the miracle part: no broken bones, concussions that lasted not even 24 hours, no internal damage, and just a few stitches in my knee and Hunter's face”
Stovall and Hanks were both released from the hospital less than 48 hours after they arrived. Stovall said almost all of their belongings were in perfect condition and the only thing that was left behind at the crash scene was her boyfriend’s bible.
“With a page marked with scripture telling us to not be afraid; Jesus is with us,” Stovall said.
Hanks told FOX News the experience strengthened his heart and his faith more than anything.
Stovall said she wants everyone to learn about the power of God.
“He has a purpose...and it's so clear that NOTHING...not even a car accident like this one will cause his plans for you to change. 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. I'm praying that everyone who reads this can get a glimpse of Gods 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! Without a doubt it's a miracle we're alive, but more than that it's simply Gods 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.”
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