The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7
Sometimes our work involves a touch of risk, and I am awed when God provides ways of escape. A few weeks ago the city where we were holding a conference was under attack from warring cartels. We continued with our teaching and later discovered that the city had been shut down by gun battles after we left.
And then there was an instance when I was doing leadership training in an African nation. A dispute arose between tribes; university students were unhappy with certain conditions; and local laborers were in conflict with the government. Three riots broke out over a period of several weeks. On one occasion there was gunfire in front of the restaurant where I’d gone for lunch; another time opposing groups were shooting at one another at the bottom of the hill where we were in a policy meeting. But none of it touched us.
My friend Cissy* was driving down the highway with her ranch foreman when they were stopped by members of a group looking for a particular man. Cissy and the foreman were pulled out of the truck, hands and feet were bound, and they were held for a few hours while they were interrogated. One man grabbed the gold chain and cross on Cissy’s neck and started to pull it off. She stopped him while she unclasped and handed it to him.
Cissy and her foreman waited tensely not knowing if they would live or die. Later, I asked her about her thoughts and emotions at the time: Was she afraid? How did she feel? Cissy said she was praying the whole time, confessing, and repenting, but she felt only peace. Cissy told God she was ready to go at any time.
Finally, a phone call came back to the thugs to say that they had the wrong man. Cissy and her foreman had their hands and feet untied, and Cissy’s necklace was returned. God had kept them in body and spirit, and Cissy moves with confidence wherever she goes knowing that God is with her.
I see God’s hand regularly keeping us at home and abroad. From drivers who run red lights to household accidents to medical emergencies and everything in between… He watches over us all. One of my friends reminds me frequently, “The center of God’s will is the safest place to be.”
I also see saints bravely giving their lives in service to their Lord. They know that sometimes deliverance means going from this temporal life to being forever with the Lord. One of those brave ones who travels in one of the risky areas I mentioned reminded me this week, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8).
Father, thank you for saints among us who remind us that our citizenship is in heaven, and we are always kept by you. AMEN.
* Her name is changed for confidentiality.