For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12 (KJV)
Police dispatchers are prepared for just about any situation. Even so, last Wednesday around 4:00 in the afternoon, the person on duty in Paw Paw, Michigan was unprepared for what he initially thought was a prank phone call. Who can blame him? Nobody, not even the most seasoned veteran, ever expects to get a frantic phone message that begins, “You are not going to believe this. There is a semi-truck pushing a guy in a wheelchair on Red Arrow Highway.” Phone calls from other concerned citizens confirmed the first message. A man buckled into his wheelchair was being pushed down the highway at 50-miles-an-hour.
The police were finally able to stop the truck and lead the doubting driver around to the front of his rig. There they introduced him to his wheel-chaired hitchhiker. Eventually they managed to reconstruct what had happened. The incident began when the trucker had stopped at a gas station. While the trucker was parked the man in the wheelchair had stopped for a moment in front of the 18-wheeler. In that moment, the wheelchair rolled back a little bit, or the truck rolled forward a little bit. Either way, the handles of the man’s wheelchair became lodged in the grill of the truck and the unlikely pair went off on their wild ride.
When I first read that Associated Press story, I began to mentally list all the terrible things that could have happened to the man in the wheelchair. “Suppose a wheel had flown off the chair? Suppose the trucker had tailgated the motorist in front of him? Suppose the driver had made an emergency stop and sent the rider flying?” I supposed a lot of things might have gone wrong. But the reality was, the worst that happened was that the man in his wheelchair had spilled his soda-pop. I supposed many things, but the reality was, as our text says, “(God) shall give his angels charge over thee.”
This reality remains. God, who loved us enough to send His Son to take our place under the law and who allowed His Son to die the death we deserved, continues to watch over and protect us. Luther knew the Savior’s empty tomb is proof that we have a Lord who, in Fatherly Divine goodness and mercy, defends us against all danger and guards and protects us from all evil. Of course, having such a God and His heaven-sent angels doesn’t give Christians license to put themselves directly in the path of danger. It does mean they are free to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that You have kept me from tragedies that never happened and catastrophes that never occurred. For Your holy angels who preserve me, and Your Son who has redeemed me, I praise You today and forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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