Dodging Death's Bullet
By Brenda Black
Pitcher Slim Caldwell positioned the Cleveland Indians with a 2-1 lead going into the ninth inning of a 1919 game against the Atheletics. Then something hit him – a bolt of lightning! History says that “luckily” Caldwell survived the shock. And when he was revived he finished the game to pick up the victory. (http://members.tripod.com)
In April of 2009, on a battlefield in Afghanistan, British soldier Private Leon “Willy” Wilson is being described as “the luckiest in the British Army.” A bullet whirred through his helmet, but missed his head by 2mm. The near-fatal impact knocked Pvt. Wilson to the ground, but otherwise left him without a mark.
“It shook me up, but there is not much else you can do but get on with the job you are out here to do,” said the dedicated fighter to BBC reporters. Wilson was back on duty within an hour of the incident.
Historians and main stream media may call it luck, but the reality is something even more amazing. There are unseen hands that guard and guide our lives and we are fools to give anything else the credit.
“The Lord protects the simple hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:6)
Sometimes the Lord provides miraculous intervention like guiding a bullet or lessening the impact of a lightning bolt. Often his invisible protection is less dramatic, but just as astounding. He conquers our fears with a quiet hush. He removes an invisible mask that darkens our understanding as he opens our eyes to things beyond normal comprehension. He rescues us from dangers we thought harmless and leads us through enemy territory without being touched. He restores our peace with unspeakable words and comforts us in sorrow by wiping tears with gentle, unseen fingers. It is incredible and quite believable that we are in the palm of a Heavenly Father.
Humanity has known it for centuries – we can't take credit that belongs to the Lord Almighty. Even kings themselves knew better. “Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: 'May you prosper greatly! I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.'” Daniel 6:25-27
It's not about luck, it's about heavenly plans that go ahead of us. It is a mystery how often we are protected without our knowledge. The wreck you missed by inches, the boulder that tumbled right after you passed by, the handrail that crumbled just before you took that first step, the tornado that skipped past your house like the plague of death that passed over the Hebrew families in Egypt.
Author, speaker and missionary Elisabeth Elliot always closes her radio broadcasts with Deuteronomy 33:27a. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” She speaks with authority as a missionary to the jungles of Ecuador. Among a fierce group of Auca Indians that killed rather than communicated, she lived peacefully for two years. Unseen hands helped her dodge the death that dozens before had endured. God had a plan.
We may never fully understand His ways, but there is nothing else we can do except “get on with the job you are out here to do.” Live life ready for death. For while these survivors experienced miraculous protection, a day will come when escaping death will not be an option. In as much as God has the power to protect, He also has the power over the length of each life and the span of every breath. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12)
Superman may be able to stop a bullet and Captain Marvel whip out a lightening bolt and cry, “SHAZAM!” Still, it is the God of the Universe that holds your life in his unseen hands. Live it for him and death will be welcome when it comes rather than feared. Our inability to dodge death's bullet can be the threshold to perfect, eternal life if we know Who holds it in His hands.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:15-17)