Sherri Gragg

Juggler of words and children…collector of pottery shards

Watching Over Me

He came out of the bushes so fast.  One moment I was absorbed in the peaceful revere of my run and prayer, the next he was crashing towards me.  I knew when he looked straight into my face and did not slow down that I was in trouble.

“This is not good,” I thought.

I had so been looking forward to that run.  My heart was heavy and I knew if I could just get to the trail, run and pray, that God would minister to my weary soul.  I dropped the kids off at school and went straight there.  As I was preparing to get out of my van, a car pulled into the narrow lot a short distance away.  A young man was in the driver’s seat.  I saw him get out and immediately run down the trail.

“That is weird,” I thought.  “Nobody runs in jeans….”

Stranger still, after I reached the running path I found he seemed to simply have disappeared.

I walked for a moment to get warm and then began to run.  Once again, I was amazed at how quickly the roar of the road behind me gave way to the gentle gurgle of the river, the whisper of wind through the branches above, the songs of the birds as they called to each other….

My heart immediately turned to prayer as my feet pounded out the paved trail beneath me.

I met two friends on the trail as they made their way home.  We spoke briefly as we ran past each other.  I ran on in silent communion with my Maker.  My path left the cocoon of the woods and stretched into a more open place as I traced the river’s edge.  I met another runner but he did not return my “good morning” and then I saw no one else. 

I was unusually tired and would stop to walk at times to catch my breath.  I pushed myself to my turn around point and began the run back to the beginning.  Occasionally I heard strange splashing in the water below and I wondered where the young man in the jeans had gone.  Was he throwing stones in the river?  A nature lover, perhaps?

But mostly I prayed.

“God, give me pockets of joy….my heart is so weary….show me how to rise above…..”

Look around you, my child..

The morning was clear, cold, and awash with the colors of autumn.  I praised him for the trees, the crisp air, the strength I had, even though it was small.  I rounded a bend and ran into the morning sun so bright it obliterated everything else from view.

“Father, when I die, let this be how I go to Heaven.  Let me run into the sun on a morning just like this and as I run let it give way to eternity….”

I ran on, deeply in prayer.  A short distance before I reached the fork in the trail I neared a bend that was obscured from the view of the homes in the adjoining neighborhood and as I did, a song we sing in church came into my mind.

Angels watching over me…angels watching over me…

“My God,” I prayed, “I believe I am in the palm of your hand.  I believe your angels are right here beside me.  Let them protect me, strengthen me, sustain me…”

Within seconds, the still of the moment was shattered by the sound of him running straight for me.  I must have stopped.  I know I screamed.  I began backing away from him, screaming still.  Then, I looked down and saw the knife in his hand.

“A knife!  He has a knife!”

He ran straight towards me with that knife in his hand, then in the very second he was close enough to reach out and grab me,  he looked startled and without explanation, turned and ran back up the path that led to our cars.

My heart was pounding, my chest heaving, and I began to run again.  I paused, unsure of what to do.  If I attempted to reach my car, I knew he could be waiting for me at any place along the trail and I would be trapped between the steep bank of woods and the river’s edge.  I knew he could out run me.  He was so, so fast.  I had no doubt he could overpower me and he was armed. 

So, I ran to the fork and took the opposite trail that led into the neighborhood. 

And then, I began to cry.

I ran up to a house with cars in the drive and a dog in the yard.  I rang the bell, but no one came.  I was afraid then.  What if he came back?

“God, please let someone open the door…”

I ran across the cul-de-sac and rang another bell.  This time a woman answered the door. 

“Could I please use your phone to call the police?” I asked. 

She let me in and dialed the number for me.  Soon, an officer arrived.  He asked questions, walked me down to the trail, radioed back and forth, and then surprise crossed his face as he said, “I think we’ve got him…”

He drove me to meet some other officers at my car.  I could not stop shaking, but I did not cry again.  The sergeant took me to identify the man. 

“That’s him…”

“She doesn’t have to look at me, I did it….” 

He came to the trail only for me.  He had preyed on so many others in the past, but that day he chose me.

Then, they took me to the police station to give a written statement and talk to the detectives.  Everyone was kind.

“What does your husband think of this?” the detective asked.

“He doesn’t know yet,” I replied.

Questions and more questions.  Even after they brought me coffee I could not stop shaking.  Then, they said I could go.

“Wait,” I told them.  “I have something else to say.  I don’t know if you are a Christian, but I want to tell you what happened right before he came after me.”

Angels watching over me….

Later that night, I remembered the very last words of my prayer before he tore through the bushes, and into my life.

“My God, reveal yourself to me in this place…”

I was so honored to see the true character of God in that moment.  Powerful.  Faithful.  Good.  Loving.

And…He has me, so safely, right in the palm of his hand.

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11 comments on “Watching Over Me

  1. BlessedWithDaughters
    November 7, 2007

    Praise God for His protection!

  2. Beverly
    November 7, 2007

    You know that could have gone the whole other direction and He still would have protected you and had you in the Palm of His hands. Glad to know it didn’t. Very scary. Get a body alarm and a buddy.

    Beverly

  3. Amy
    November 7, 2007

    Girl, when did this happen? Thank God for His protection. Did you get to ask if it was an angel that startled him?
    Amy

  4. everydaymiracle
    November 7, 2007

    It happened yesterday morning, and no…I did not ask him why he ran but regardless, I feel God chose to step into the moment and provide protection for me.

    I am so glad He did!

    Sherri

  5. Candis
    November 7, 2007

    Words fail.

  6. ange
    November 7, 2007

    Lord thank you fro protecting our sister in Christ. Thank you for being there and giving her comfort in one of those awful moments that sneak up on us. Thank you for keeping her safe and loving her!
    ange

  7. Kim
    November 7, 2007

    I have had a really difficult week at work this week and reading this really encouraged me. Particularly this.
    “My God, reveal yourself to me in this place…”

    I was so honored to see the true character of God in that moment. Powerful. Faithful. Good. Loving.

    And…He has me, so safely, right in the palm of his hand

    Praise God for His protection! Thank you Lord for being Faithful!
    Kim

  8. Amblin
    November 8, 2007

    Praise God for His protection!

  9. lori
    November 9, 2007

    thank you god that you’re alright

  10. Kristie
    November 14, 2007

    My God, thank you for sending your angels of protection to guard and protect my friend. How awesome are You who reveals yourself to us when we most need you.

    Sherri–I can’t stand the thought of losing my friend so special. Though we’ve yet to meet in person, you have been an incredible source of comfort, encouragement and exhortation as you have been willing to walk through the agony of my wait with me while yours still stung at you. On the other side now for just a couple of weeks, I now understand more fully what sacrifice you’ve made for me.

    I sit in humble gratitude for the angels the Father sent to protect my friend and for the friend you are to me.

  11. Tara L.
    December 1, 2007

    Goosebumps … total goosebumps. God is good. As a fellow runner, I am proud of you for refusing to let fear stop you. Wow.

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This entry was posted on November 7, 2007 by in Christianity, God, Heaven, hope, inspiration.
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