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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

The Emergency

The everlasting God is your place of safety, and his arms will hold you up forever.  
 Deuteronomy 33:27

The bloody L on my three-year-old’s forehead matched the sharp glass corner of the coffee table. A moment before he had been running across the room. Then he’d stumbled, fallen, and hit his head on the edge of the table.

This was not the peaceful retreat I’d imagined. It was 1973, and we were moving to a new house in Mobile. The idea was for us to wait in a condo across the causeway on Dauphin Island while my husband finished moving our stuff. Tonight he was miles away, and I was on my own.

The only doctor on the island was having supper when I arrived. He and his wife were used to vacationers turning up at their door with holiday emergencies. After examining the wound, he advised, “Take your boy to Mobile for plastic surgery tonight. This can’t wait until tomorrow.”

Back in the car, I drove across the island and started over the bridge to the mainland. Ahead of us traffic began to slow down and then came to a complete stop. I assumed the draw-bridge was up to let a ship pass through.

At first I waited patiently. Five minutes ticked by. Ten. After fifteen minutes, I realized this wasn’t an ordinary delay; something was wrong. To find out what was going on I needed to talk to the bridge-keeper, but it was a long way from my car to his cubicle.

I’d have to leave my son alone and walk in the pitch-black dark along a long line of cars. Some of the people in those cars might not be nice. It was a bad plan, but what choice did I have? The little guy’s cut needed immediate attention. 

With all the force I could muster, I told my son to stay locked in the car until I got back. Feeling vulnerable and foolish, I began the lonely walk, praying with every step for God to keep us both safe. 

God did watch over us that night. The bridge-keeper told me the bridge wouldn’t be operating until the next day, so we returned to the island and went again to the home of the local doctor. He did a masterful repair on my son’s forehead that left only a faint scar. 

Since then, whenever situations seem impossible or even dangerous, I remember that dark night on the Dauphin Island bridge and God’s protection.

Father, Your everlasting arms are our safety.


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