December 27, 2019 was a snowy day on the Western Slope of Colorado. My son, an assistant camp director at Mountain Top Retreat in Montrose, came home with his wife to find footprints around their remote cabin that sat on the camp property. Kenny, a large guy at 6 feet, 5 inches, told his wife, Jen, to wait in the car while he took a look around. Kenny, licensed for a decade to conceal and carry a firearm, entered their house and searched carefully room to room, weapon at his side. When he came to the last bedroom in the basement, he pushed the door open and found himself face to face with a gun pointed at his head by a camouflaged intruder.
Kenny's eyes looked into those of the 20-something-year-old vandal and saw a scared youngster who didn't want to shoot. Ducking around the corner for cover, Kenny ordered in his booming voice, “Drop your weapon or you're dead!” The young man complied, dropping his gun and speaking apologies while Kenny held him at gunpoint. When Kenny yelled for his wife to call 911, the burglar tried to escape through a broken window and Kenny again had to order him to the ground. Again, the young man was subdued and lay face down outside in the snow at gunpoint until the police arrived and arrested him. In those minutes, Kenny, a Christian and a camp missionary, shared with the perpetrator how blessed he was that neither one of them had pulled the trigger. Kenny told the young man, “If you had come and knocked on my door, we would have given you food, shelter, and help with your problems,” and that though this may seem like a tragedy to be caught after months of squatting in abandoned hunting cabins and stealing guns and ammunition from area neighbors, this young man had a second chance at redemption.
Although this is a short version of the story that was covered by local newspapers and television, you can imagine what a mother's heart feels when she hears that her son could have been killed in the blink of an eye. How often we take for granted our safety and security when it is truly so fleeting. The difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds. In Kenny's situation, things could have easily gone the opposite way and two lives could have been lost in an instant were it not for the grace of God.
On that day right after Christmas, Psalm 91:11-12 became a reality as God's protecting angels watched over my family. Psalm 34:7 says, “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (NIV). In reflecting later on this event and reading these verses, it struck me that the word “encamp” is used. How fitting that God's protection was indeed circling the entire camp, even where this homeless and desperate young man—armed with multiple weapons including an AR15 (assault rifle)—could have taken the life of my oldest son in a moment of fear and anger.
This frightening situation has opened many doors for Kenny to share his faith—from newspaper interviews to calls from concerned neighbors. Kenny has been able to testify that it was God who stayed his finger on the trigger. It was the grace of God that kept him calm and in control in the face of danger, sparing both his and the perpetrator's lives, and even gave Kenny the chance to share God's love with the person who could have killed him. It was the hand of God that kept the robber from shooting my son.
In this issue of JCN, nurses will find many resources to help those who have been hurt by life circumstances. Ogorek's article on Biblical Counseling (BC) presents a unique ministry for those with depression. Pittroff shares research on preferences of adults with life-limiting illnesses in need of palliative care. Many of the columns this quarter will encourage and inspire. Take time to reflect on the information presented in JCN in the light of God's mercy and daily protection.