I found myself thinking a lot this past Monday about how God's guidance works, especially when it comes to ensuring we're in the right places at the right times. I don't usually give it a lot of thought, just assuming everything will work out how He's planned. This week though, I had more reason to consider the concept.
On Monday night, I had to run out to the grocery store to pick up some things. I spent longer at the store than necessary, walking back and forth through the aisles to add steps to my FitBit. When I did finally leave, it wasn't long before I started noting one or two police vehicles in the general area, all speeding off down the main road that leads out towards my house. I didn't think too much of it, but I was curious what had them speeding down the road with their lights on.
A few minutes later, I had seen six different police vehicles pass me going down the road towards my house, and could see the lights of more behind me. When I got far enough down the main road that two lanes became one, I ended up having to pull off the road multiple times to allow police to pass me. My parents were at a meeting at our church, which sits right on an intersection of this main road. They were in an upstairs room with windows facing the street, so I knew they could see the police passing and were probably just as curious as I was.
As I reached the T-junction that would allow me to turn towards my house, the police car I had been behind came to a stop. I stopped behind him a good ways, not sure what was going on or how I should handle the situation. The officer completely ignored me, instead grabbing something from his trunk and returning to the inside of the vehicle, presumably to say something over the radio. Next, he threw what he had retrieved from the trunk into the road, and I realized that it was some kind of portable road spike deployment system.
Before I could wonder what in the world the police officer needed to deploy road spikes for, a little silver car blew past the police officer and the spikes, going well over the posted speed limit and followed by almost every police vehicle I had seen pass me already. The police officer parked in front of me retrieved his spikes, packed them away, and jumped in his car to take off after the fugitive. I tentatively pulled up to my turn, making sure nothing was preventing me from going home. I couldn't see any problems, so I made the turn towards my house.
Enroute to the house, I pulled over for two additional police vehicles, who came down towards my house, then turned around and went back the other way. When I did eventually get home, I was relieved to see that the house appeared intact and none of the neighbours seemed to be troubled in any way. After making sure our seven month old puppy was doing fine, I looked online to find the non-emergency phone number for the local police department. I had seen enough police vehicles to be concerned, and I could still hear the sirens from my house, even though I'd seen them heading away from my area.
The dispatcher was able to tell me that police were in pursuit of a fugitive who had abandoned his vehicle and run off on foot, so I needed to keep an eye and ear out in case of anything strange in the area. It wasn't particularly reassuring, but it was informative, so I texted my parents with everything I had found out and went to sit with the puppy for awhile. In researching online, I discovered that my local police department's scanner is available online, so I listened to that for about half an hour, hoping to hear something about my area. When I heard nothing, I concluded the event must be over.
The next morning, a friend of mine sent me a Facebook posting from the police department explaining that a K9 unit had taken down the fugitive. Apparently, he had been a burglar. According to the posting, he had attacked the woman who owned the house he'd broken into, then stolen her car and taken off. He had been caught right around the time I'd found the local police scanner, which explained why I didn't hear any updates while listening.
During the whole event, I prayed lots of popcorn prayers for different protections. God, please protect the house, the neighbourhood, the dog, me, my parents, the police, etc. I wasn't sure exactly what was happening, so I prayed for everything that occurred to me. Thankfully, it sounds like no one was hurt, so that's a praise. When I really started considering God's involvement though, I realized how much He had blessed me.
If I had left the grocery store just five minutes earlier, I would have been on the road to my house at the same time the fugitive was coming, and could have been in a bad car accident or forced off the road. There are several things I could have done differently that would have potentially led to a bad outcome, and God protected me from all of them. I usually don't notice God's hand in my day to day life, but when I realize how slightly something could have changed, I feel extremely grateful for His guidance in my life.
Never forget the power of prayer, or doubt that God is in control of your life. You may not always recognize it, but it's definitely there.