Last night I sat and listened to a conversation about the morals and ethics of self-defense between people of different countries and ideologies. While there were very different opinions involved, they all had good points. Instead of self-defense, however, I found myself thinking of the times in my life that I KNOW I have been defended, protected and looked after by someone far more protective than I could ever be of myself; my Father.
I remembered the night that we were robbed in Fiji while the kids and I were home alone and asleep. I heard a loud, "Crash!" yet felt something like a big, gentle hand settle me back down on my bed and I went instantly back to sleep. Not normal when you're the only adult in the house! We woke in the morning to discover we'd been robbed but we were safe, unlike the man just up the road who startled mostly likely the same 'bad boys' of the area a month later while they robbed him and was killed in the fight that followed.
The experience wasn't pleasant, but if we hadn't been robbed I wouldn't have had a the concrete example of how much we were in the palm of His hand.
I wrote a while back about a man that followed me home and into our flat. What I didn't mention is something that I only thought about later. While he kind of leaned up against me at one point it's like his hands were glued to his sides and he couldn't lift them. Strange. I now think that while the experience happened, I was being protected at the same time and that he couldn't grab me.
I had a number of terribly painful gall bladder attacks over the period of a year in Fiji. The attacks would come at night and while several times I went to the doctor the next day, no one discovered the problem. I finally got where I couldn't eat and still another doctor thought it was just a stomach related issue. As I walked out the door of her office she called me back and said maybe they should do a scan 'just to be safe.' They operated the next day and afterwards told me that I was 'lucky' because the stones were just about to start leaving the gall bladder and that would have been serious indeed. But my surgery was done in time!
When several years later I dealt with a family member's death from something that would have been discovered ahead of time in a more developed country, I didn't feel angry at the medical profession there. I knew that if it hadn't been 'his time' to go, that it would have been discovered. That wouldn't have been so clear to me except for what I had gone through myself.
There are other things; times that I'm not sure how I stopped the car in time, how my child that should have fallen from a great height didn't, how 'something' kept me from a decision that I knew later would have been a huge mistake.
We are gloriously, amazingly, steadfastly in His hands. And sometimes those experiences that we would rather have done without are the exact things that make us recognize and pause to be thankful for His hand.