One night many years ago, I was walking home from work on a cold Anchorage night. I was house sitting for a friend who lived down a long, dark street in southwest Anchorage. It was late in the year, and Jack Frost had settled in for the duration. I was bundled up, but my nose and ears stung from the cold.
The night was quiet; I could hear nothing except the crunch of fresh snow under my shoes.
The road I was on was 300 West Klatt. It was little more than a feeder road that connected Old Seward Highway with a small residential neighborhood sandwiched between an industrial park and the southern end of “C” Street, a major north-south thoroughfare.
As I walked along, I detected movement in the shadows off to the left side of the road. I glanced over and saw two figures walking, their arms swinging. Somehow I knew instantly that they had just quickened their pace, intending to rob me and perhaps hurt me afterward. I knew it with such absolute certainty that I immediately started walking as fast as I could go. I was ready to start running if I saw them come up onto the road. I still had a 15-minute walk ahead of me before I reached my friend’s trailer and safety. In the meantime, this stretch of road was as desolate as could be. There were no houses or businesses directly on the road, and streetlights were few and far between. I had been walking for 20 minutes and hadn’t seen a single car.
I do not scare easily. I have gone on countless walks on dark, lonely roads and never been half as afraid as I was now. Somehow, the threat these two men posed to me had been revealed to me supernaturally. The hackles on my neck stood straight up. I could almost smell the mayhem in the air. I felt sure that if these men were to catch up with me, they would leave me bleeding out in the bushes.
Suddenly, a car came along and pulled to a stop just ahead of me. I walked up alongside the vehicle and peered in through the passenger window. The driver lowered the window and tilted his head to look at me. It was a young man in his twenties.
“Hi,” he said. His manner was sheepish, as though he felt odd about stopping to speak with a stranger. “Something told me to stop and give you a ride.”
In the same way I had known what the men on the roadside were up to, I knew that God had sent this young man to stop and help. Why else would this be happening? What he had done — stopping to offer a grown man a ride — was not only quaint and even intrusive by 21st-century standards, it is considered downright unmanly. Furthermore, it carries a certain amount of risk, both of physical danger or of simply appearing buffoonish. He would surely have felt foolish if I had given him a wary look and said, “No thanks, pal. I’m fine.”
But I didn’t say that. I climbed gratefully into his car with a simple “Thank you.”
I don’t remember if anything else was said, aside from the usual social rituals. The fact was that I would have found it difficult to hold up my end of a conversation right then. I was absolutely blown away by God’s provision for me.
It isn’t unusual for the believer to give intellectual assent to God’s attributes — his infinite awareness, his perfect sway over the earth, over every creature and the details of our lives. This is standard Sunday school talk. But it is another matter entirely to watch God display his power right in front of you — especially when you are the beneficiary. I was speechless.
I have to acknowledge the possibility that those men may not have been about to rob and kill me, that the young man in the car may have been a dramatic type who simply wanted to do something nice. But I know better. For the reader who wasn’t standing in my shoes that night and has another explanation, I totally understand. I hope at some point you have the opportunity to see God’s power at work. It is truly something to see.