A Holy Moment

by Terri Gillespie

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for in You my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of Your wings I take refuge, until destruction passes by. Psalm 57:2 TLV

It was after the second time I felt the tapping on my shoulder that I turned around. Behind me was a young man holding a gun.

This month marks five years since my friend Cathy and I were held up at gunpoint at a New Jersey mall. After all these years, I still unpack lessons and revelations that keep me in awe of that holy moment.

Cathy and I were traveling back from our writing retreat at the Jersey shore. We decided to make an impromptu stop in Vineland, NJ for some lunch and a little shopping at the mall. My vehicle was loaded with bags and computers from the week-long retreat. Our clothes hung from the backseat car rack like a curtain over the door.

Since we were running late, I wanted to call my husband to let him know we were on our way home. I opened the back-passenger door to place my purse on top of a suitcase, then leaned over to search for my cell. Something tapped me on my back, but I thought that it was the clothes hangers. As I searched for the phone, I felt the tapping again. I straightened and turned and there was the young man with a gun.

He motioned toward my purse. I reached for my wallet, then remembered a scene from the movie War Room. I faced him and said, “Jesus loves you. He wouldn’t want you to do this.”

I heard Cathy asking me if I had found my phone—she was oblivious to what was going on because of the wall of hanging clothes! She later said she only heard bits and pieces of my side of the conversation and thought I was ministering to a beggar.

I pulled all the cash from my wallet—$12.00—and handed it to him. I apologized that it wasn’t more. He rolled his eyes and demanded my car keys. I whispered, “You’re taking my car? You’re leaving us stranded?”

He pointed the gun toward Cathy and said he would kill her.

I pleaded, “No, please. She just got over cancer. She almost died.” I handed him the keys. At this point, he looked briefly at me, then lowered his eyes.

Miraculously, he returned the keys! He paused as though not sure what to do next. I thanked him and patted him on the shoulder and repeated one last time, “Jesus loves you.” He walked away.

Once he walked away, my whole body began to shake. Cathy asked if I was okay, but I couldn’t speak. I thought the kid would change his mind and come back blazing, so I wanted to get out of there fast.

Finally, I was able to tell Cathy what happened. We prayed the whole way home. We thanked the Lord for His protection. We prayed that God would touch the young man’s heart and change his life from that moment on.

People have called me brave. I wasn’t brave. I was covered in the shadow of my Heavenly Father’s wings—all three of us were. The moment the young man walked away His wings lifted—the moment gone. At that point, you would call me anything but brave.

I am so grateful that God called me for such a time. Grateful for His protection, and that my friend did not have to see a gun pointed at her. Grateful to be able to go home to our husbands. Grateful for the young man’s mercy.

Every January, I pray for him. My hope is that we will see one another again, in heaven.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place—but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows whether you have attained royal status for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 TLV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. She hopes to abide in rest for as long as it takes. http://www.authorterrigillespie.com

Making Eye Contact with God is a women’s devotional that will enable you to really see God in a new and fresh way. Using real life anecdotes, combined with Scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women see Him.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced a Holy Moment?

Step into the Future

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB

David was on the run. Saul was bent on taking his life, feeling David to be a threat to his throne. Weary from the tense pursuit, David cried out to God. “Keep me as the apple of the eye,” he wrote, “Hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8 NIV).

The phrase “apple of the eye” is an idiom. At the time of David, people thought the pupil of the eye was actually a solid object (much like an apple). The pupil is at the center of the eye. It is a part of us that we instinctively protect. Asking to be the “apple of [God’s] eye” was to request that God guard him as a cherished child. He wanted the kind of protection that was akin to a chick hiding under the wings of its mother.

God is “keeping” us in the same way right now. I’m the apple of His eye, and so are you, child of God. I slip into bed every night knowing, when I wake up (Lord willing), I will step into the next day and all it will bring. None of us knows what tomorrow will entail, but we do know whatever it is, God will be with us and keep us close.

Recently, I experienced that presence and protection in an instant. It’s a known fact that seniors fear a fall because we know what the results could be—broken hips, broken shoulders, and sometimes even a fatal fall. So I am usually pretty cautious as I move.

But that particular day, I was anything but careful. Feeling all joyful with our new puppy in my arms, I carelessly traipsed down the stairs. Our puppy got the shock of his life when my ankle turned about half-way down the steps. I stumbled, lost my balance, and squeezed the poor dog so hard, he squealed.

A vision of an almost certain trip to the hospital danced in my head as I went down. I cried out to God to rescue me. I instinctively grabbed for the railing with my left hand, and all my weight landed on my left foot. While I sustained a serious sprain, the Lord kept me from broken bones or an even more tragic ending. There’s no question in my mind that God, in that moment, kept me as the “apple of His eye.”

Traveling this journey of life with God, we’re never alone. We’re cherished, favored, and loved beyond measure. Protected. It’s a trip of a lifetime. No pun intended––okay a little intended. It’s better than a vacation, because it never ends. Never. And, when our life on earth does end, guess what? It was only the beginning of being with Jesus forever.

We may wonder what the new year will bring, but we don’t need to doubt Who will be with us. Let’s step into the future, the new year, with confidence that we are the apple of His eye, and rejoice because God is with us always.

Step into the Future – insight from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. All her books are available on Amazon.com.

Join the conversation: When have you experienced God’s care and protection?