“. . . Nor the Moon by Night.”
Unseen Providence Marks and Directs Our Ways
Psalm 121 distills several thoughts in the compass of just eight verses. I do not make it a habit to frequently post details about myself, but I thought it would be helpful to some readers if I were to share some thoughts on God’s overruling providence in recent days. But first, consider the words of Psalm 121:
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
Ever since I was a boy, the phrase “Nor the moon by night” has held some fascination for me. As the psalmist writes of the preserving power of God, he notes this very point–that nothing under God is unforeseen or out of His direct care and providence.
Driving an elderly car–a 1996 Volvo which has traveled more than a quarter of a million miles–can lead to some interesting experiences.
Last week, unsuspectingly driving along, I heard the squeal of a fan-belt. The traffic was modestly heavy. “I wonder whose car has a squealing fan-belt,” I thought out loud to Sue and Matthew who were with me in the car. And with that, there was a vast burst of vapor from under the hood of the Volvo, along with the sizzling and smell of coolant on the engine cowling. Thankfully I was able to coast over the ridge of the hill and down the other side to a parking lot where I could inspect the damage. It was a relief that, when I went to a nearby shop, coolant was available for sale, so I trekked back to the car, filled it, and, notwithstanding whatever catastrophic event had taken place, I was glad to find that the system was able to hold enough fluid to enable me to drive home and get my car towed to the garage the next day. No harm, no damage, no danger to life, and a modest enough repair bill from the mechanic who faithfully nurses my vehicle–the replacing of the expansion tank that holds the coolant and that had suddenly cracked and sprung a leak.
Atlanta and the Braves!
“Sure, no problem,” was the encouraging response of the mechanic. I had promised my son we’d watch a ballgame as a special end-of-summer treat, and we had booked the tickets. The ride to Atlanta was uneventful, the temperature gauge for the engine reading just what it should, and we were excited at the thought of seeing the game after enjoying one or two treats downtown.
“What’s that smell?” Sue asked. Almost there, we were navigating heavy downtown Atlanta traffic, just a half mile from where we planned to park.
My heart sank. “Uh oh!” I exclaimed. “We’re about to blow up our engine.” Quickly navigating lanes, I turned as soon as I could into an empty parking space on a corner parking lot. The temperature gauge needle had literally jumped from normal to just under the red. Reaching for the ignition key, I was on the point of turning off the engine, but, alas, it was too late. A muffled explosion caused a blast of vapor to emerge from under the hood and a torrent of coolant cascaded from under the engine, ominously forming a large puddle and then running away to the sidewalk in an ugly green stream.
Matthew’s disappointment was intense. And the heat and brightness of the afternoon had a negative effect on Sue, who, having crossed the road was asking a traffic policeman some directions. The intense heat began to overcome her, and I had to steer her into a restaurant where she could revive.
Atlanta is 150 miles from where we live. Garages are not usually open on Saturday evenings, and I dreaded the thought of having to stay downtown in an hotel, especially on a nil-budget; and it turned out that the only person I knew in Atlanta whose phone number I had to hand was away out of town.
“I’ve Found a Tow Company to Take You Home”
We easily panic in these circumstances. To cut a long story short, notwithstanding a lengthy waiting time, my insurance company was able to secure a tow truck with a manageable out-of-pocket extra payment, whose driver was prepared to piggyback the Volvo to our garage in Greenville SC, and also to give us a ride home to our house after that. He showed up after a wait of over six hours, to our great relief. It was after 2 am when we finally bade him farewell, thankful for a trouble-free ride back to our home. Notwithstanding expense and inconvenience, at no point were we in any of the danger that might so easily otherwise have been the case. Anyone who has ever driven in or near Atlanta will know what it would be like to break down in the middle of a seven-lane freeway!
And the Braves? Well, that will have to wait for another time. A lesson in how we have to let our priorities be determined from on high. In the meantime, we learn to live in greater dependence on Him whose ways are past finding out, and yet whose love and care never fails to take into consideration the detail of our circumstances.
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