I got one of those calls the other night. You know the kind of call that drops your heart into your stomach and immediately changes your focus and attention. But what unfolded over the next hour was nothing short of miraculous. It was one of those experiences where everyone recognizes that 'only God can do that!'
It began with that phone call. My son Alex was calling to say he just got mugged. It was early evening and he was walking down a residential street in Washington, DC to catch the Metro. A man approached him and asked, “Hey, can I see your phone man?” Alex replied, “I’m so sorry, I’m in a big hurry. Sorry that I can’t help you out.” The man pulled a box cutter out and said, “Give me your phone and your wallet or I will cut you.” Alex immediately handed over his phone and wallet, began backing away from the man and took off toward the Metro Station. As he glanced back he saw two other men come out of the bushes and join the man who had just stolen his phone and wallet.
At the next large intersection Alex flagged down a car and asked the driver to dial 911. The police arrived moments later. Alex explained what had happened, gave a brief description, and was taken to the police station to fill out an incident report and give his official statement to a detective. That was when he called me. He was relatively calm but I could tell from his voice that he was upset and shaken. He was unharmed (the first miracle of the evening). He just needed some numbers to call the bank about his debit and credit cards. He did not give me any details in that first call – just that he was mugged but he was OK and at the police station waiting for the detective. We didn’t talk long.
I began to pray thanking God for his provision and protection over Alex. My mind raced with all the “possible” scenarios of what could have happened to him (what if he didn’t give up his phone, would the other men have come and beat him up or killed him?). Then I began to pray through the next day, Lord please provide a way to get cash, a way to get to work, lunch, etc (his money, credit and debit cards, Metro pass were all in his wallet). I just asked God to provide whatever he needed until he could get the replacements. I sent prayer requests out via e-mail and phone. I was praying when my cell phone rang and the caller ID said “Alex.” I thought, “Oh God, this is the crazy guy who took Alex’s phone – what do I say to him? God, please give me the right words!” I answered tentatively, “Hello?” To my surprise and delight it was Alex’s voice I heard, saying, “Hi Mom."
The conversation went something like this:
“Alex, how are you calling from your phone?”
“Mom, you’re not going to believe it – they caught the guy! I got my phone and my wallet back.”
I stammer in disbelief, “What?”
Alex states again, “They caught the guy.”
I ask, somewhat in shock, “How?”
Alex laughs and says, “I don’t know, but they got him – he’s in lockup.”
I ask, “So is your money and credit cards gone? What did he take?” Alex, says, “Nothing, it’s all here. It looks like he didn’t take anything.”
Wow! That is not the ending that I was expecting. I know it was not the ending that Alex was expecting. I never prayed that he would get his things back. The thought of that happening NEVER crossed my mind. That never happens. Do you know how many unsolved crimes there are in Washington, D.C.? How could this happen? How could this “mugging” end up with such a positive outcome – Alex unharmed and all his property returned? Only God can do that. Only God!
The verse that came to mind was Psalm 121:7-8.
The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.
Thank you Lord for this wonderful demonstration of your protection and sovereignty. You are amazing!
I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! Deuteronomy 32:3