unseen_hands2Twenty-five years ago my wife and I were driving back from visiting friends on the Oregon coast. As we wound our way up the small road that twisted over the coastal range to the interior, the slushy, cold February weather made road conditions challenging. Logging trucks occasionally roared past. We were in no hurry as we puttered down the narrow asphalt in our little red car.

As we came around a bend, we approached a narrow concrete bridge. It was wide enough for two vehicles to pass, but just barely. Suddenly, to our horror, a fully-loaded logging truck came barreling around another corner so that we both would meet at the bridge at the same time. Neither of us could slow down in time to let the other pass. The roads were slick and the timing couldn’t have been worse.

When each vehicle entered the small bridge, we suddenly noticed something that caused us to shudder. The rear end of the logging truck, as it careened too fast around the corner and onto the little passage, was half way in our lane. Since the narrow crossing was buttressed by short concrete walls on both sides, we had nowhere to go. With only a split second to say, “Lord…”, we shut our eyes and braced for the fatal impact.

Soldiers Never Saw Him

The Apostle Peter once faced a fatal meeting with death. When Herod wreaked havoc on the early church and put James to death, the Jewish leaders rejoiced. Pressed to gain more points with those who hated Christians, the wicked king had Peter captured and imprisoned. The night before his execution an unseen visitor slipped past guards and woke the man who slept in peace. Peter was told by the brilliant nighttime guest to get dressed. Thinking he was in a dream, the astonished disciple was led out of prison. The soldiers never saw him walk away.

Peter was privileged to notice the angel silently opening and closing doors to set him free. Sometimes God’s people see these secret messengers who come to protect and give light to the children of heaven. But many times, their unseen hands move to guide and guard us without notice. Whether we are blind or aware of their work, we can be sure, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).

When my wife and I closed our eyes for a moment, expecting the rear end of that trailer load of heavy timber to crush our tiny car, our adrenaline shot through our veins and our hearts beat wildly. But there was no crash. We passed the truck without a scratch. I immediately pulled over and both of us stared at each other. “What just happened?” Suddenly we knew. An unseen hand had moved the logging truck, giving us enough room to safely pass. Then, without a moment’s hesitation, we bowed our heads and with tears of joy prayed, “Thank you, Lord, for our guardian angels.”