Thursday, December 15, 2011

A life for a life: the hitchhikers, the housewife, and the old man passing by

One of the memories my brother recounted during our week-long vigil around our mother’s bedside was of a time when evil came calling, but a providential encounter carried it on by.

We lived outside a village—two neighbors on the town side of our dirt road, a cow pasture framed by a view of Camel’s Hump Mountain in front of the house, and a stretch of woods between us and the neighbors a mile up the road on the right side.

An old man who often drove by would always wave. We didn’t really know him, but people who traveled the same country lanes shared a certain sense of camaraderie, so we waved back.

One day when Mom was home alone with the kids, two guys came walking up the road and, seeing my mother, turned in the driveway. Although we never locked our doors and never worried much about strangers, these two wore evil like a stinking cloak. Mom was immediately on guard.

At that moment, the old man drove by. Whether he perceived a dangerous situation or whether, as befitted his friendly nature, we’ll never know, but he stopped and gave the two a ride.

There was a frog pond at the end of the stretch of woods, and that day two of our friends were mucking around in it. When they heard a car stop, they peered up over the edge of the pond in time to hear the shot and see the two men take off with the car.

A man died that day; a woman lived. A life for a life. Why one and not the other? I do not know.

The secret things belong to God. To the God who willingly, knowingly gave His life for you, for me.

And this I reflect on when life doesn’t seem fair, when trouble turns in my driveway, when lack of understanding drives me in a fit of frustration: He loved me when I was a sinner, how much more does He love me now that my life is hidden in His.

Jesus, Redeemer, Immanuel, God with us, sometimes I just can’t get my mind around what you have done for me, but this I believe, I cling to, I speak into the shadowy places:

My soul exalts in the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, for the MightyOne has done great things for me and holy is His name.-Luke1:46-47,49

Today I pray for someone reading this, that your heart would lay down its sorrows and need for vindication at the feet of the One whose sacrificed life is the door to life. May you rest in the goodness of the Lord and rejoice in God your Savior.


  1. Amazing, tragic, beautiful, and real. Praying with you, friend!

  2. What a beautiful story! My first impression would be the life of a young mother was spared to raise her family. The life of an older man was exchanged for eternal glory. Don't really know of course, only God has the wisdom to fully understand. All we can do is bend to His will and trust that He always has our best interests at the center of everything He does, even when circumstances scream the opposite.

  3. Wow! What a story, Marcia! I can only imagine the emotions your mom went through after that. That must have tugged at your heart to write this too. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Your writings are so inspirational and uplifting for me.

  5. So many mysteries . . .

  6. Aha, the Mastodon of Memory just had an chance to peruse your lastest jottings and must proclaim the great enjoyment and thought provoking insights I entertained because of these issuances. Keep up the good work!


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