For many years, I’ve enjoyed the solitude of walking my dog in the cool of the evening or the dewy wet sparkle of a crisp morning. It is often a time of inspiration and introspection for me. But tonight as I walked, my heart was ladened with another kind of dampening—news of another school shooting. And contemplation of this current horrific event reminded me of another such day about twelve years ago. At that time our country was reeling from the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting where 6 adults and 20 children died.
I remembered how it had been a cool winter morning when I was out walking and praying with a heavy heart about the Sandy Hook shooting. I had stopped short at a neighbor’s driveway as she was returning home. She was about to drive up her steep driveway, but stopped abruptly, reversed her car, and set the brakes so she could retrieve the newspaper. Then she noticed me. Leaning out the car window for a chat, we began sharing our thoughts on the terrible event of that day. Although we rarely had the opportunity to visit, it had been a rough week for her and the accurate timing of being at her driveway at that moment seemed to be ordained. My neighbor, who has two small children, was especially feeling the burden of that tragedy. Added to it was an extra dose of sadness with the loss of her dog that week. I was glad for the opportunity to be a shoulder of comfort at that moment. After talking for about fifteen minutes, we said our goodbyes and I started to recommence my walk.
“Are you going to walk behind my car?” she halted me. “You should probably wait” she said “ as sometimes the car rolls down a bit before going up this steep driveway.”
I had already considered being cautious while walking behind the vehicle, but hadn’t thought it a danger since she was well aware of my presence. However, I decided to heed her warning and waited for her car to go up the hill first. It was a good thing I did, as it turned out her large SUV was still in reverse and when she hit the gas to go up, the car went careening DOWN into the street. If I had walked behind her car, both my dog and I would have suffered severe injury and possibly death.
I stood there in awe of my Lord’s protective mercies. He had clearly spoken through my neighbor who is a believer as well.
We never know when or where peril may lie for any of us and it’s hard to fathom the evil that leads someone to take the lives of little children. But Proverbs 2:7-8 promises that our God “guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.”
If your heart is ladened with sorrow of any kind, I encourage you to take a stroll in the cool of the summer evening and let God fill you with the sweet breath of His word, love, and care no matter what you’re going through. You might want to also meditate on Psalm 119:105, which says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.” If you have a prayer request that you’d like me to bring to God, please let me know in simple terms in the comments here.