Psalm 139:16- You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (NLT)
We were on our way to the birthday party of Gideon’s four year old nephew. After all his talk about the hidden reliability of his jalopy, Gideon was aghast to find his engine light on and the motor off. Close to my house, we coasted off the main road and parked on a side street. Once all roadside repair options were exhausted we decided Gideon should take a motorbike back to my house, retrieve my car and some chains, and return to tow his car to school. The birthday party was put on hold.
I was bone tired. I’ve been running on empty like typical Kenyan car-owner and the day was warm. My exhaustion was pairing with frustration at the change of plans and I was working myself into quite a grumpy disposition. I took a deep breath and reached out for some truth beyond my emotions: God is never surprised by our circumstances. He knows exactly where we’ll find ourselves every minute of every day.
Gideon returned and began attaching our cars. It took a few attempts to get the right tension and balance. I was in my car looking in my rearview and side mirror trying to interpret Gideons snaps and gestures that must pass for communication in the world of men.
And then there was a gun.
In my car window.
Pointed at me.
It was brownish gray and I was looking at the circle of metal inside the barrel wondering what the proper name for that piece of the gun might be.
The gun was in the hand of a man wearing a motorcycle helmet and a reflective vest. He was accompanied by a driver on a motorbike. He was telling me to hand over my wallet or he’d shoot me. I reached onto my passenger seat to remove my wallet from my bag. He pushed me back against my seat and snatched the whole bag out the car window.
Then Gideon was there. In between me and the gun. And I felt the first emotion I’d felt since I’d seen the gun: terror. The gunman demanded my phone, which we gave. He also took Gideons phone but left before getting his wallet. Only one minute had passed.
I sat frozen, staring out my windshield. I got out of the car and started walking nowhere. I guess Gideon called after me, but I never heard him. Eventually, I heard his feet pounding on the pavement to catch up to me.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur of phone calls, tears, police reports, findmyiphone.com, going back to the scene to actually tow Gideon’s car to school, freaking out and praying.
I kept thinking: God is never surprised by our circumstances. He knows exactly where we’ll find ourselves every minute of every day. He knew this was going to happen. We were never out of his will or his sight or his protection.
It happened Thursday, today is Saturday. I’m ok. Gideon keeps asking “what percent (out of 100%) I am?” It changes throughout the day. I’ve got enough background in trauma care to know how to reach out for help if I need it. I’m so grateful it didn’t happen during a routine activity and that the circumstances were so bizarre. I’m so grateful that the only things taken are replaceable. I’m so grateful I’m sleeping ok. I’m so grateful for my family and friends in Kenya and the US who are checking in. Mostly, I’m grateful that God and I committed to living outside of fear a long time ago, and this instance hasn’t changed that decision.
Thursday was the day God had planned for me. I trust he’ll use it for my good just like he always does.