Pastor Tapp announced recently that he would be starting a sermon series on Angels on Sabbath, July 12. In preparation for what promises to be an amazing series regarding God’s intervention in our lives, I have decided to share with you a story that I don’t often tell. In fact, apart from sharing it with my wife, I hadn’t shared it with anyone for several years. Even now, twenty three years after the event, my hands tremble and my heartbeat accelerates when I think and write about it.
In 1990 while serving as the secretary of the British union, the Union president and I attended a meeting in the city of Manchester, home of Manchester United soccer team, to work with the conference officers in addressing a problem that had arisen in the church there. The meeting ended at about 11:00 p.m. and I decided that I would drive the hundred and sixty miles home that night. That was a stupid decision because I was tired even before I started the journey home. My wife had previously urged me not to embark on such journeys late at night but the thought of sleeping in a hotel that night was unappealing.
It didn’t take me long to get out of the city to the M6 Motorway. For the first half hour I felt somewhat alert, in control of myself and in control of my Rover Vitesse car. Then the tiredness got the better of me. I employed all the tricks that I knew to keep awake – opening the car windows, singing, shouting, turning the radio up to full volume, slapping my face and the back of my neck, but nothing seemed to work. One “trick” I didn’t try was stopping and taking a nap.
I recalled passing the exit for Stoke and Trent, which is famous for the Wedgewood and Royal Doulton pottery companies. In fact, I had turned on my high beam at that juncture because that section of the motorway was not lit, but was poised to go back to low beam as soon as a car approached on the opposite side of the carriageway. That was the last conscious cranial activity of mine before I awoke about fifty-five miles further along the motorway. My high beam was still on, despite the fact that hundreds of cars went by me in the opposite direction. I made the rest of the journey home shaken but grateful to be alive. It was several weeks before I plucked up the courage to tell my wife what had happened that night.
Of course, some scientists have an explanation for “sleepdriving.” They see the phenomenon as being similar to sleepwalking and provide evidence that sleepwalkers often drive a car in their unconscious state. Well, I do not sleepwalk, so the only other explanation for what happened to me is that hands other than my own took charge of the steering wheel that night and guided my car while I was sound asleep at the wheel and traveling at over seventy miles an hour. I often feel that I did not deserve such grace. In fact, I used to feel guilty that my life was spared in such circumstances while others lost their lives in circumstances less perilous. However, at the same time I am profoundly grateful that God manifested His protective care in such a dramatic manner. Psalm 91:11&12 for me is not just a lovely idea; it’s been my experience: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” (NKJV)
(by Don W. McFarlane)