The year was 1969, and I had just purchased my first car. It was a 1964 Ford Custom. It wasn’t anything to brag about, but it was mine. That car represented freedom—the freedom to go and come as I pleased, and the opportunity to pursue higher education. To do that, I needed transportation, since I was commuting back and forth to college.
My dad had gone with me to check it out, and when we test drove it we put the car through its paces, accelerating on the curvy country roads to see how it handled. The car was a beautiful teal green, and I spent the next morning washing and waxing it. After I finished the detailing, I got into the car to drive it back into the driveway. When I put my foot on the brake I heard a loud “whoosh”. I called my dad over to check the brakes and he confirmed that the brake line had ruptured. Then I remembered when the day before we had traversed those back roads at high speed. What if the brakes had failed then instead of when the car was sitting idle in my parents’ yard? How close we had come to what could have been a tragic accident! When you are young it’s so easy to believe near misses like this are just coincidences. I believe, though, that this type of intercession is God looking out for us. When you get older and look back over the years, a pattern seems to form showing God’s protection in all circumstances.
Another incidence happened in my life in the spring of 1978. My father-in-law, Ernest Avery, was the sole proprietor of a small country store about 12 miles from New Bern, NC. He sold just about everything from gasoline to washing powder. He spent long hours in the store, especially in the spring and summer months, in order to be available when his customers needed something. My husband and I lived in a mobile home behind the store, and to help his dad I would often take care of the store while Ernest took a short afternoon nap on our sofa. Sometimes during the entire time I wouldn’t see another soul. Then some days two or three people would show up. This particular day had been uneventful until a late model white car pulled up and its driver entered the store. The customer was a well-dressed black male who seemed rather serious-minded and didn’t say much as he purchased a sandwich. That’s strange, I thought. Most people would have bought a soft drink to go with the sandwich. He left to go to his car and then returned. I figured he had decided to get a drink after all. I was wrong. The next thing I saw was a .38 revolver pointed at me. “This is a stick-up, move over,” the man said. He then proceeded to empty the cash register. He told me to stay in place until he left. I tried to get the license number of the car, but as it bounced away from the gravel parking lot I was unsuccessful.
That case officially remains unsolved, but several days later a suspect in another robbery was apprehended that fit the description of the man that robbed me. In my heart I believe they are one and the same, but wasn’t confident enough to testify to that effect in a court of law. What made this extraordinary are the circumstances surrounding this criminal. Several years back he had been found guilty of murder and was serving his sentence when he escaped from prison, stole a car, and took off. His crime spree ended in Lenoir County where he was arrested. This man had a notorious past and he had nothing to lose by taking my life, but God prevented him from killing me that day. “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalm 91:11). Isn’t is a good feeling to know that the Lord is always working in our lives and sending his angels to go before us to overcome the evil that lurks there?