This is an excerpt from the chapter entitled "Lifesaving":
I was looking underneath the kitchen sink for all the things that I needed to wash the van. We had a black Mazda MPV. We needed it; we had three kids. Just as I was getting everything ready, my wife said she wanted to go grab something to eat from the Burger King on base. I was in the Air Force, and we were stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, from the summer of 1992 to the summer of 1995. I became irritated with my wife because I was trying to get the car washed, and I always wondered why she had to eat out so often when we had “so much food in the house.” I am very cheap when it comes to eating out. A great meal for me then and today still is something like Rally’s/Checkers, In-N-Out, KFC, Taco Bell (Chalupas!). Yes, I am a cheap date.
As I reluctantly agreed to let my wife delay my plans, I went back to rummaging under the sink to find everything that I needed to wash the car when she got back. The Burger King on base was less than three blocks away. As I was gathering everything I heard in my heart, my spirit, “Sarah is behind the van.” It wasn’t a loud voice. It was not an ominous voice. Kind of a matter of fact but in a way to get my attention.
Sarah was born in 1991, so she would have been about three or four years old. You may ask why a three or four-year-old would be outside without her parents? You have to understand that we were a military family living on a military base. Sarah loved to be outside. As much as I didn’t like it, she liked to be outside in the dirt! She used to play in the grass between the house next to us with our neighbor’s daughter Kimmie, who, as you can guess, also liked to play in the dirt. We were fortunate enough to have moved into a bigger house right across the street. I say fortunate because we got a bigger house, and our kids didn’t have to lose the friends they’d made in the neighborhood.
Back to the words I heard. From 1991 to 1992, we were stationed at Scott Air Force Base near my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. We went to a church that taught us how to hear the voice of God, the Holy Spirit. We were attending Metro Christian Center pastored by Raphael and Brenda Green. We learned so much about praying in the Spirit, in tongues, and prophecy, and listening to the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. I began journaling my encounters of hearing God’s direction in my heart. In fact, it was the voice of the Holy Spirit that had led me to stay in the military and seek to get stationed near my wife’s family in Tucson. So when I heard the words, “Sarah is behind the van,” I knew it was the Holy Spirit.
I wish I could say that I responded to the Holy Spirit as if God Himself were speaking to me. I did not. In my head, I countered these words with, “Sarah knows better than to play behind the van.” Yeah. Wow. I did not treat these words with any degree of seriousness and went back to gathering supplies to wash the car. Now mind you, my wife had already left out of the house to get into the van to go to Burger King.
I had dismissed this mild alert, even though, on some level, I knew it was from the Holy Spirit. After all, I know what my daughter would do better than the omniscient God, Who is everywhere all at once and sees everything. Thank God that the omniscient, everywhere-all-at-once God is also a God of mercy and grace.
Once again, I heard the words, “Sarah is behind the van!” This time the words had an urgency that grabbed my attention. Almost at the same time, I heard the van start. I dashed to the kitchen door that opened out to the carport. I can’t remember now if I opened the blinds or opened the door, but I could see my wife’s hand on the gear shift on the steering column. With my hand, I alerted her to stop. By this time, I was looking out the door. As she stopped, I looked down the carport. Sarah poked her head out from behind the van. The dimpled face of my little “muffin” smiled at me. She had no idea of the danger she had been in.
God had shown me mercy. When I ignored Him the first time, He gave me a second chance. Who knows what would have happened? I didn’t want to think of what would have happened. My ability to hear the voice of God had saved my daughter from serious injury or possibly even death. I can’t imagine the impact it would have had on my wife, and I know that I would have been a wreck for the rest of my life knowing that God had warned me, and I didn’t respond.
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