In the Quiet of Night
(A True Story)
He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Luke 4: 10,11)
It was Monday evening. The two boys, Daniel and Benjamin had left the previous afternoon for their two week stay with their dad. The recent divorce of their parents had been hard on both of them, but especially on Benjamin the youngest. Daniel, the oldest at age 16 seemed to be taking the separation of their family in stride. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun, but it was life. He could accept it and move on. For Ben who was 13 it was much more difficult.
The family had been on a rollercoaster for the last year. The two boys who loved each of their parents dearly were caught in the middle. Anne and Jeff had been married for 16 years. In spite of their rocky beginning and the fact that they were both teenagers (ages 18 and 19 respectively) at the time of their marriage, they had made it work – or so everyone thought. What their family and friends did not realize was that Anne had been struggling to hold the family together since day one and Jeff had not been truly happy.
She had become pregnant with Daniel the summer before her senior year of high school. She and Jeff together had, with fear and trepidation gone to each of their parents with the news. Anne’s mother upon receiving the news wrapped her daughter in a hug and told her she loved her. Jeff’s parents, his father especially were a little less understanding at first, but they did come around in the end and were very supportive.
Both sets of parents advised that it would be best for the young couple to marry. Jeff and Anne loved each other (or so they thought) so why not do the right thing and be a family? Their child deserved that. They were married in October and Daniel was born in March of the following year. Jeff’s parents opened their home to them and his mother cared for the baby when Anne returned to school to finish her senior year. She graduated with honors.
They seemed to be a happy and well adjusted family. Two years after the birth of Daniel, Benjamin came along. The couple had purchased their own home by then, but Jeff was having a difficult time finding and keeping a job which would support them. Anne went to work in the evenings at a nearby department store to help out. Her mother watched the children in the afternoon and evening while both parents were at work. Still it was a struggle for them.
Four years or so after their marriage the couple decided it would be best to sell their home and move to northern Michigan. Jeff’s parents had since moved there and felt that he would be able to find a job relatively easy and be better able to support his family there. The cost of living was slightly less and it was a great place to raise children. Their house sold quickly and within a short couple of months they had moved.
They purchased a modest but comfortable home on a beautiful lot. There was a huge yard for the children and it was a very peaceful and relaxing place. They lived there as a family for eleven years. They invested a lot of love, time and money into making their house a home, but many times during those eleven years it had been a struggle for Anne to keep things together. There were serious problems in their marriage. Jeff had a drinking problem and he had also been unfaithful to her. Finally one evening he came to her and stated that he was leaving. He couldn’t take it anymore. He wanted his freedom.
It was devastating not only for Anne, but for the boys. Benjamin cried and cried. It was like a death to him. It was the end of life as he had known it. He felt very insecure and unhappy. He felt deserted by his father. He didn’t understand why his parents couldn’t just work things out. What was so bad that his father had to leave them?
The family was separated for several months, but at some point Jeff and Anne decided to give it another try. He professed that he still loved her and he wanted them all to be together again. Anne had since moved to a small apartment in town, but after much pleading on Jeff’s part she decided to come back home and give it another try. He promised to do his best to stop drinking and be a better husband and father.
For the next 6 months or so things went smoothly. But one evening Jeff came to Anne and told her he was leaving again. He just wasn’t happy and couldn’t go on the way they had been. He left and went to stay with his parents temporarily until he could get his own place.
The whole family was again devastated. Anne was disappointed and heartbroken. The tears began flowing again for Ben. Daniel struggled also but kept his feelings to himself and did his best to be strong for his brother.
At this point Anne made up her mind that she would not put her boys or herself through this again. She made arrangements to move into an apartment in town. She realized there was no way she could take care of the house and the yard nor could she afford it on her salary. She found an apartment which was affordable and comfortable for her and the boys. Jeff moved back into the house and they shared time equally with Daniel and Benjamin. The boys spent two weeks with their mother; then packed their things and went to their dads for two weeks. It seemed like a lot of hassle, but they all adjusted. Life went on and the divorce became final. It is at this point in time that my story really begins.
Dan and Ben had been with their mother for two weeks. On Sunday afternoon they left for their dads so they could be settled in and ready for school the next day. Anne would be home alone now for a couple of weeks.
On Monday morning she went to work as usual. She returned to the apartment at her usual time, changed into comfortable clothes and went out. She had a few groceries to pick up and she had joined an exercise class hoping to lose a few pounds and get into better shape physically.
She returned home about 8:00 P.M. She put her groceries away and did a few household chores then decided to crawl into bed and read for awhile before going to sleep. The apartment door which opened to the hallway of the complex was locked. The patio door was locked also and a board was placed in the slider as an extra precaution. She went to sleep about 10:00 P.M.
About midnight she awoke from a deep sleep, but didn’t realize what woke her. She just closed her eyes and went back to sleep. About 3 A.M. she awoke again and realized there was a light on in her living room. She thought that she had turned out all the lights… Her mind was foggy with sleep… She was so tired…Her eyes closed and she went back to sleep without moving.
When her alarm went off at 6 A.M. she got up and wondered if it had been a dream. She went to her living room and sure enough the light on the end table was turned on. She never turned that light on unless she was sitting on the couch reading. She hadn’t turned it on the night before. She had read her book in bed before going to sleep. From there she went to see if the door to the hallway was locked – it was. She went to the patio door and it was locked also with the board still in place. She opened all the closet doors. Everything seemed to be in place – nothing moved or missing as far as she could see. She got dressed and went to work.
The more Anne thought about all this the more uneasy she became. She tried to shake it off, but her friends at work seemed to feel uneasy about it also. At 4 P.M. she returned home a little hesitant to go back inside. She decided to bite the bullet and go in. She would just check things over again and make sure nothing was missing or out of place. In the living room and kitchen area everything seemed to be in place. She looking in the pantry closet – all was well. She went into her bedroom and looked into the boy’s closet. When she looked up she saw that a ceiling tile had been moved out of place – as if someone had been looking for something – possibly a place to hide – or maybe a way to enter and leave without being seen or heard? She felt panic rise in her chest. She ran out the door and across the street to the police department. They immediately came back with her and searched the apartment, but other than the tile out of place did not find anything amiss.
After checking above the ceiling tiles the officer found that there was no space up there – no room for anyone to come or go or hide. He suggested that possibly a cross breeze caused by the door opening or shutting may have moved the tile. She didn’t buy that one! If there was no empty space up there how could there have been air flow? She knew that something had taken place. She didn’t understand what, but she knew it was something sinister.
What happened that night? Had she had an unwanted visitor? If so what were they up to? What did they want? Would they come back? Did they want to harm her? Anne didn’t have the answers, but she left that day and never again returned to the apartment alone. She stayed with friends until she found a new place to live. A couple of weeks later when she returned with friends to move her things, everything was just as she had left it.
The biggest question on her mind was; what would have happened if I had let myself wake up? For that matter, what kept her from waking up? Why had she never felt afraid? She was all alone and vulnerable. Most often if we are startled awake from a deep sleep, we would naturally get up and see what was going on. We would at least roll over or sit up in bed. What kept her from getting up after she awoke the second time, to check into the fact that there was a light on in her living room? She knew for certain that she had not left it on. Even when she awoke in the morning she didn’t feel afraid. She was puzzled, but she calmly got ready for work and left. It was after she had time to think about it that she realized maybe she had been in danger. Even then the threat of danger didn’t really sink in until she saw the ceiling tile out of place.
It is a puzzle for sure and I don’t know the answers to her questions or to mine regarding this incident, but I have an idea that there was some divine intervention going on. I know that the almighty God was watching over her. Nothing happens on this earth without His knowledge and He is in control. God created His powerful angels for many purposes, one of which is to protect those who love Him. Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14) I believe that He sent an angel to watch over Anne. I believe that the angel or maybe God Himself kept her in a deep sleep to protect her from harm. There is no other explanation for it. Anne feels that some unknown person had a key to her apartment and that the door being opened is what woke her originally. She cannot explain why she didn’t feel afraid or why she didn’t get up to check on things. Normally she would have.
Some have questioned whether it was her ex-husband. It was not him. He had no reason or desire to scare her or harm her. He was afraid for her also. The boys were both with him and in bed asleep at the time. We will never know exactly what happened, but we can be confident of one thing. God was watching over her.
We know from chapter 2 of the book of Job that the angels and also Satan answer and report to God. We read in chapter 2; One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan; ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’ In verse 12 of chapter 2 God gives Satan permission to destroy everything Job has, but orders him not to lay a finger on Job himself – The Lord said to Satan; ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’
The angels are holy and do God’s bidding. They serve Him and praise Him. Satan is evil and powerful, but his power is limited. He has the power to lead us into sin, but those who believe in Jesus need not fear him because we are protected by God. We are warned by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians to put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…but against powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6: 11,12) The Armor of God is His word. We need to read and study His Word to prepare ourselves for the attacks of the devil on our hearts and minds. His Word will give us the power to recognize the tricks of Satan and resist Him.
We are so fortunate to have an all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever present God who knows each of us personally and who loves us perfectly. Our life here on earth is often filled with heartache and pain because of sin. Bad things sometimes happen to good people, but never without God’s knowledge. No matter how bad things get, He will use circumstances in the lives of believers and unbelievers alike for the good of someone. When we trust Him He uses our heartache, pain, fear, sickness etc. for good. The terminal illness of a believer for example, may lead an unbelieving friend to Him. Death is not the end for those who love Him. It is the beginning of life with Him for eternity. What a wonderful comfort that is. Those who love Him need never fear. We are never alone. We are surrounded by His presence and that of His holy angels at all times. No matter what happens, the end result will be good according to God’s perfect will. Trust in Him! He will take care of you!
Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.