We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to him, and as we gaze upon his streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, “It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness.” ~ Spurgeon

The enemy of our soul knows how the truth can often be more powerful than a lie. I had been a fool – a pathetic naive, immature, and immoral fool – and I was about to be reminded.

The judge turned his attention to the man sitting in juror seat one. Mr H__, in what part of Glades County do you live? Do you work? Are you married? The judge ran down a list of general questions he would eventually ask all of us about our home and family, where we and our adult children worked, if any family or close friends were in law enforcement and if our feelings about law enforcement might impair our ability to make a fair decision in this case. He then began the probing questions. Affirmative answers required details. Ms S__, you indicated that you have been the victim of a crime against your property. Can you explain? Was the person responsible for the crime caught? Did it go to trial? Were you satisfied with the resolution? Do you think that experience and the court’s decision will impair your ability to make a fair decision in this case?

My heart pounded and the palms of my hands began to sweat as I fidgeted in my seat. What kind of person doesn’t learn from mistakes and puts herself in harms way – again and again? My mind raced with accusatory thoughts.

As each prospective juror submitted to the judge’s questioning, the more uncomfortable I became. Though I had initially been annoyed at being chosen, I had walked into the courtroom curious about the jury selection process and confident that I would make a good juror. Now I felt as though I was on trial and about to be humbled before a courtroom of strangers when I had to explain those “crimes against (my) person.”

I’d been a teenager the first time – a senior in high school, and a ward clerk on the night shift at the hospital on weekends. Shortly after eleven o’clock one cold January night, my boyfriend Greg offered to pick me up from work. I didn’t have a car and my parents were having a party. It would make things easier on my parents if Greg brought me home. Our intentions were good, but as we pulled into my driveway and realized that most of the guests were still at the party, we made the foolish decision to drive to a grove a couple of miles away to be alone.

Just minutes after Greg drove his car down the dirt road and stopped along a row of orange trees, glass shards flew across the dashboard and onto our laps. The driver’s side window had been smashed, and a stranger in dark clothing stood before us. “I have a gun,” his voice muffled by the stocking that covered his dark face. He demanded our wallets and jewelry, and we trembled in the cold night air as we gave him what he had asked for, hoping he would then leave us alone. Instead he began hitting Greg in the head through the window. More than once Greg fell across the console and against my chest. With one arm momentarily holding the man at bay, he started the car and pressed the accelerator to the floor.

I don’t remember the impact, but within seconds, the assailant had pulled Greg out of the car, the hood now wrapped around an orange tree. Instinctively, I opened the door to run, but as I stepped out onto the sand, I fell to my knees. Too frightened to notice, I had broken my leg when the car hit the tree.

I managed to get to my feet and hobbled a short distance before the attacker caught up with me, knocking me to the ground. My memory of the next few minutes is sketchy. I remember that he demanded that I get up and go with him,, and that I pleaded with him to leave me alone, but he grabbed my hair, forcing me to stand, and I screamed. I remember hearing footsteps and a whirling sound and thinking that there must be more attackers coming. And somehow I managed to escape his grip, run away and find myself standing alone in the middle of a two-lane highway.

That there were any cars on that highway at that time of night is a miracle, but as providence would have it, there were three – all coming from the same direction. I stood barefooted, my white uniform shirt splattered with Greg’s blood, and frantically waved my arms at the the approaching cars. Two of them sped past. The last one stopped.

The whirling and footsteps in the distance had been Greg. He had been beaten with a crowbar and was lying in the dirt, drifting in and out of consciousness, when he heard me scream. Clearing his head, he stood, picked up a a long cable he found partially buried in the sand and whirled it in the air as he ran in the direction of my scream. As I approached the car that had stopped on the highway, Greg appeared at the edge of the road, bleeding from his wounds, still holding the cable. We had been rescued, and our assailant was finally gone.

Police were called, a report was filed, but our attacker got away. No arrest. No trial. No resolution.

We had escaped with our lives, but I was left with crippling emotional wounds that would affect nearly every decision I would make for years to come. Controlled by fear, I was terrified of being alone, and foolishly thought that any company was better than no company at all.

To be continued next week…

8 Responses to “Providence…”

  1. Pat. I'm praying for you right now, that Jesus will wrap you up in His loving arms and take the memory of fear from you and replace it with joy and thanksgiving – I know how the memory can come back again and again – how hard it must be to share this. How thankful I am that you're here.

  2. Dearest Allie, I do appreciate your prayers, but please know that I no longer live in fear. These things happened to me a long time ago – a lifetime really. They are so far in my past, that I was taken by surprise by the judge's questioning, and as you hang with me through this series of posts, you will see that I live in victory over fear…that God to His glory is faithful to rescue His people from sin and shame…and delights in doing so. (((Hugs)))

  3. To God be the Glory for saving your life and giving you victory. Blessings,Ruth

  4. Thank you for sharing your story…for your willingness to relive the pain so that others might benefit. God truly is the Great Healer! I too was delivered many years ago from the grip of fear. To God be the glory! God Bless you!

  5. =0Sounds like a scene from a movie Pat.Thanks for sharing. I can't wait for the rest of the story now.

  6. I can't help but think about what Joseph said to his brothers in Egypt, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result".God is so good to have spared your life even though you were doing wrong at the time. That is a beautiful picture of God's amazing grace and mercy.You are a wonderful writer and story teller, Patricia.

  7. I don't think there are words to describe what I feel having just read what you have written. Thank you for being so brave in the Lord. I marvel at His faithfulness. His grace has surely covered you and kept you. If I liked you before — I love you now!!! May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you! Your friend & sister, Christina

  8. Your sweet comments are very dear to me, every one of them.Ruth, it is indeed to the glory of God. It is all grace. Every good and perfect thing.Learningtofollow, fear is such a paralyzing emotion, isn't it. It is truly a testimony to God's love and grace and mercy that He empowers us to overcome. I'd love to hear your story, too.Robin, I think that this small part of my story (and in the scope of things, it is small) perfectly illustrates Romans 5:8 "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Thank you so much for your encouragement.Christina, I love the words to the song that says, "His grace flows down and covers me." Amen, and amen, and amen!!!! It is ALL grace. Thank you for being my loving sister and friend.

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