By Annette McDaniel
The bicycle was old with faulty brakes. It had weathered three older siblings and had been a hand-me-down when our family acquired it. When I was ten, it was my turn. My favorite location to ride was a stretch of hard-packed dirt road south of our farm. It had the perfect hill from which to launch The difficult trek to the top of the hill was worth the forty-five seconds of utter exhilaration, wind-blown hair and air-cooled face, flying at breakneck speed. Then at the bottom, another smaller rise, rocketed the bike air-borne across the intersecting road below.
Thirty yards later, (because the brakes were gone), gravity brought it to a gradual stop.
At the beginning of my third run, the bicycle toppled over. As I attempted to lift it, I could not. It was as if someone had a foot on the handlebars. For an instant I felt a presence, and then the moment was gone. I finally mounted my bike and prepared for another wild ride when a heavily loaded grain truck hurtled by the intersection where I would have been, but for that short delay.
Fifteen years later I would experience a similar event.
Three of us, just beginning our working careers, shared a small house in Wichita. We split expenses and took turns cooking. Dee’s go-to meal was broiled pork-chops cooked on a gas stove with a temperamental broiler unit on the bottom. These meals were called Dee’s “burnt offerings”, because invariably the grease from the meat would start a fire which we extinguished by throwing baking soda on the food. Rinsed off and patted dry, the chops were edible– just barely.
I was setting the table in preparation for another meal of baking-soda glazed pork chops and Jane was on the phone when Dee’s screech announced the expected disaster.
“Fire!” I hollered and ran for the baking soda. The box was empty!
I am neither brave nor foolhardy but this required immediate action. As Dee stood wide eyed, hands across her mouth, the flames mounted. Jane still gripping the phone, looked on in shock. Grabbing oven mitts, I snatched up the fiery pan and headed for the back door. As I pushed open the screened door with my elbow, a strong wind slammed it against the pan, dumping the contents down my front. I felt bathed in an unfathomable calm. When my roommates reached the door, the fire was out and I stood in a semi-circle of splattered grease and scattered pork-chops. I was untouched. No painful burns. Only a feeling of indescribable serenity.
My third narrow escape involved a dump truck and a blind intersection. I had only a second to breathe a prayer before the vehicle would T-bone my driver’s side. In the next second I observed the truck in my rear-view-mirror and an obviously stunned driver shaking his head.
I can’t explain these events other than God’s intervention. Psalm 18:30 (NLT) tells us that “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises are true “He is a shield to all who look to Him for protection”.
That promise encourages me to continue anticipating angels and to praise God daily for his everlasting mercy.