One of my favorite verses is Psa. 32:8: “The steps of a man are established by the LORD; and He delights in his way.” I believe the “stops of a man” are established (ordered) by the Lord as well. Solomon wrote, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps” (Pr. 16:9). As God directs our steps, I believe that He often enlists the service of his ministering angels. We read in Psa. 91:11, “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.” I was reminded of these truths as the following story (used by permission) was related to us by some friends in Portland, Corey and Debbie Stark. Debbie teaches at North Clackamas Christian School in Oregon City where our son Grant and his wife Arika both teach. The following account really emphasizes to me how God watches over us as the loving heavenly Father that He is. Here’s the story that Corey shared with us.
“Debbie and I were heading home after a late night Portland Blazer game. We nearly passed by my pickup truck that we had left at a park and ride earlier in the day to carpool to the game. Deb dropped me off and left for home. I had to walk a ways to locate the truck and as I crested the hill and spotted it I noticed my park lights were on. I quickly unlocked the door and fired ‘Farmer Jack’ up (that’s what the kids call my 1973 F250 Ford pickup). It sluggishly started so I was pretty excited about that!
I had planned to stop for some gas, but now was afraid that if I did, I may not get ‘Farmer Jack’ started again at the gas station but I took the next exit anyway. While sitting at the traffic light 200 yards from the Shell station, I looked at my phone to see it was 10:15 p.m. and then looked again at the gas gauge and thought I could get it home tuck the kids in with Deb (which I really enjoy doing) and just get gas before work in the morning. So, instead of turning left to the gas station, I went straight and got right back on the freeway.
I made it two miles from home and ran out of gas! Fortunately, I was near another gas station so I hopped out and started jogging down the off ramp I was on. I checked my watch to decide if I should call my wife and tell this reoccurring tale of me running out of gas! It was just 10:25 so I didn’t call. . After I got the gas I quickly walked back up the hill, deposited the two gallons and turned the key to find indeed the battery was too weak to get me started again. I called road-side assistance for a jump and noted the time once more was 10:45 so I called Deb to let her know of my delay. We chuckled about my predicament and then I began the hour wait for a jump. Ten minutes later someone swung in and gave me a jump and off I went to my sleeping family. I returned home at 11:30.
Little did I know till I turned on the news before bed that the frustrating end to my day had turned out to be a huge blessing. At the very time that I would have been at the gas station where I had planned to get gas, a drunk driver drove his van right through the store! My wife had given me $10 cash to spend which meant at that gas station that I would have had to go inside to pay. Also, at this particular station, the outer islands are closed after 10 p.m. so I’d have been next to the building and paying at the very moment the van came crashing into the store. The incident set me back in my chair because had I stopped for gas my dead battery would have certainly kept me longer than normal and I’d almost assuredly been in the path of this man’s drunken, drugged up rampage.” NOTE: You can see a picture of the van in the store at http://www.kptv.com/news/26784596/detail.html?treets=ptl1&tmi=ptl1_12pm&ts=T&mi=ptl1_12pm_1_02000102082011
God doesn’t protect us from all possible injuries, accidents or illnesses, for we live in a world under the curse of sin, and Christians are not exempt, but He obviously can do so when that fulfills His purpose. And even if it isn’t His purpose to prevent a difficulty from entering our life, He is always there to give the grace to endure it. God spoke through Isaiah saying, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you” (Isa. 43:2) It gives us great confidence to know that our steps are “established by the LORD,” that He screens every event that He allows to come into our lives and that we will be here until God is finished working in and through us. Corey, we’re grateful that God chose to keep you here at this time. Thanks for sharing your “God sighting” with us.