Strangers

Strangers

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
— Psalm 91:7

The Lord protected me when I was hit by a car as a young child (Are you Lucky?). There was another time in elementary school when what could have been another dire situation, God swooped down and said, “no.”

It was during the days when children walked to and from school without being accompanied by a parent. I didn’t wear my eyeglasses to school and asked my teacher if I could go home and get them. I could have made it through the rest of day without my glasses, but the sun was shining and frankly, I didn’t want to be in class.

I left school, dragging my feet to delay my return to school. I was half way home, about two blocks to go, when a green car, with three of young adults (possibly early 20’s), slowed down alongside me. The windows were rolled down and they yelled, “get in the car.” I kept walking and they slowed down further, creeping alongside me. Once again they yelled at me, “get in the car.”

Fear set in and I remembered my mother’s warning what to do if I was approached by a stranger or strangers. “Run!” “If a stranger approaches you, don’t talk to them.” “Run to somebody's home and act like it’s yours,” mom would say. I did what my parents taught me and as my father would say, I “ran like a bat out of h*?l!”

There was no car in the driveway of the first house or sign that anybody was home. My little mind not yet understanding what it meant to be vulnerable, knew enough that if I knocked on the front door and nobody answered I could still be in danger.

I ran to the next house. The garage door was open, but there was no car inside. I decided this was the house that was going to be “mine.” I ran frantically into the garage and knocked on the inside door. Nobody answered.

There were no objects to hide behind, but I felt it was more dangerous to leave. I hunkered down in the corner, afraid the green car would drive by, see me, and take me. I prayed even though I didn’t know what that really meant.

I waited for what felt like an eternity until I thought I was in the clear. Shaking, I ran out of the garage and was relieved when I rounded the last curve where my house was in view. I ran into my house, but I was too afraid to tell my mother what happened for fear of repercussions.

With those thoughts at the forefront of my mind and whether to speak or remain silent, I grabbed my glasses, walked out the door, and headed back to school. I rounded the corner, my home no longer visible, when I saw a man sitting in a white vehicle stopped on the side of the road. I took a few more steps and when panic hit me, I made an about face and cut through my neighbor’s backyard. I climbed the fence that bordered my yard, and flew the backdoor open, shaking uncontrollably. This time I told my mom everything and now she was visibly shaken.

Mom called the school immediately and when she informed them about the green car, she was told that I was the second student in the area that a group of young adults were trying to pick up. The school distributed flyers and notes to call the police if the car was spotted again.

Who knows what those three individuals would have done, but for the one who went through the experience, without question, I know God watched over me. Some have said, “it was nothing.” Or, “how do you really know something bad would have happened?” We will never know what the outcome might have been, but I don’t want to discredit that it was God who intervened in my life.

I imagine the majority of what God has done in our lives will remain in the shadows until we reach heaven. Nevertheless, I don’t want to ignore the importance to thank God for all things, not just the obvious.

How many times do we take the happenings in our lives for granted because they are routine? It’s easy to dismiss the events of our day when most often what we do takes no mental effort.  

Some decisions are made for us and some are by choice. You may credit good ole common sense to the decisions you make. If so, don’t forget to “ Thank God for your good sense!” I Samuel 25:33  

When we give God credit, even for the no-brainer decisions, God refreshes our souls and we begin to live in an overabundance of his presence. God’s presence gives us the wisdom, the direction, and the common sense to do the right thing.

“My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.   Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. They keep you safe on your way,  and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster  or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,  for the Lord is your security.   He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.” Psalm 3:21-26

A heart of thanks makes us strong and builds our faith. Colossians 2:6-7 (See The Strength of Thanks)

“Lord, help me discern your presence in my life. Open my spiritual eyes to see as you see and to comprehend how you have intervened in my day. Lord, do for me what you did for Moses. “The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh,  before you. Exodus 33:19 Lord, “You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.” Psalm 119:73

What are some of the things you can give God credit for today that you haven’t in times past?

Spend the next week or two focusing on giving thanks to God for the good that came your way and the decisions you made that worked out well, not only for you, but for others. No matter how big or small, routine, or extraordinary, find joy giving God thanks. Notice how his goodness has been following you every day of your life. Psalm 23:6

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It wasn't by chance the home I hid in had their  garage door open. God brought to memory the words of my parents and he gave me the sense how to flee. I thank God that I am here today because he swooped down from heaven to earth to care for me.

The Bible says that God “will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.” Psalm 91:11 (See Are Angels Real?)

Photo by Asher Ward on Unsplash

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