Earlier in June, my family and I traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We logged more than 2,700 interstate miles on worn tires that we replaced within two weeks of our return. (Smart of us to push it that far, true.)
We played in the ocean, safely avoiding areas with an undertow. We navigated restaurants, convenience stores and tourist spots full of strangers with our precious children.
How many times on our trip did God send His angels in regard to our ways? How many times did He enfold each of us in His divine blanket of security? In what ways was He our strong tower? We do not know how many times, and in how many ways in the span of nine days of vacation He protected us. Praise my God and Rock!
But I do know the children and I drove safely from Des Moines to Chicago to meet up with their dad where he had been at a company meeting, and we arrived happy and healthy. I know my son experienced no breathing problems, even though he swam in chlorinated water a few times. Often, chlorinated pool water causes reactive airway issues for him. We drove through busy cities with inattentive and risk-taking drivers, and over high, curvy mountain passes. Our teenage daughter drove shifts on the unfamiliar interstate, safely.
In the ocean, I safely swirled my tween daughter out of the way of a little jellyfish, and my son out of the way of a little red octopus. Just call me Mama Bear. But that’s only because God showed me the jellyfish and octopus, and gave me the instinct and bravery. I confess, the red octopus, I learned from an OBX resident, was likely a plastic deep-sea fishing lure. Funny.
God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe,
And he is the fortress where I feel secure.
God saves me and honors me.
He is that mighty rock where I find safety.
Trust God, my friends,
And always tell him each one of your concerns.
God is our place of safety.
Psalm 62:6-8 CEV
Bad things happen, though. I know. It’s not easy to sort out. We offer up many why questions to God. He can handle our honest, even angry, questions.
Sometimes God allows the hard days, and the mean in people to come our way to realign our priorities, to strengthen us for a new purpose, or to show those around you how He carries people through hard times. God must have a myriad of reasons for not swooping down like a helicopter parent every time the world throws us a curve ball.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2-4 NLT
Maybe that sounds like an excuse or a platitude. But I still can’t shake the truth of His divine protection.
Back to driving concerns. After our departure from the coastline, we headed inland to Fayetteville, N.C., to enjoy a barbecue with family we hadn’t seen in several years. On the journey, my husband looked over at me because a Bible passage I was reading touched my heart, and I cried a little (happy tears).
I tried to hide my emotions, unsuccessfully, while I was watching the road ahead. He looked up in the rear view mirror to give an approving look at our teen daughter for a sweet gesture she had made toward me. In that moment, the traffic in front of us came to a halt. Cars that were going 70 mph or so, came to a complete stop in a few yards, or at least what seemed like it. Oh, dear.
Well, my husband looked back ahead at the road, in time to see the danger, but not in enough time to stop. Praise God that the left lane stayed clear as my husband maneuvered the car into it. He avoided smacking the dark blue Honda Accord in front of us by about four inches. God made that possible.
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
So merciful, this God of ours!
The Lord protects those of childlike faith;
I was facing death and he saved me.
Let my soul rest again,
For the Lord has been good to me.
Psalm 116:5-7 NLT
How often am I under God’s shield of protection, though, unaware of my need for Him, and His authority to heal, block evil and divert danger?
Most of these incidents just didn’t seem like a big issue at the time, but realistically, some of them could have morphed into huge problems. I’m glad God brought to mind how He guards my family.
While we enjoyed everything from Kitty Hawk and the Elizabethan Gardens to wild horses and the Atlantic Ocean, I know God was our shield.
*This post is part two in a three-part series about how I experienced God during our family vacation to the Outer Banks.