Sunday, January 01, 2006

Fr George experiences God's protecting presence

Father George relates his experience in the North East

While serving as a missionary in Assam, I once found myself travelling fom Assam to Manipur. The presence of many militant groups in the North East, required me to halt at a certain location from where I was to proceed to my destination escorted by a convoy of 50 to 60 vehicles and the army.

Due to the delay of my first bus, I missed the 8am connecting bus and was now stranded in this place till the arrival of the next bus at 11am. Feeling hungry, I left my luggage at the bus stop to find some bread to eat.

At some distance I found some people engaged in a quarrel and all of a sudden one of them fell down. In the next moment, another dropped and I realised that they were being fired at.

Panic gripped everyone, as they rushed to the nearest hiding place. I quickly joined two other people and moved into a grocery shop where we locked ourselves up from the inside using the vertical wooden planks. Four of us, including the shopkeeper and another fat person, struggled for space among the rice, wheat and dal sacks.

The noisy scene outside continued for a while. Half an hour later, we decided to see if the situation outside had calmed down. As the shopkeeper removed one plank, two bullets shot right in, hitting the fat person standing in front of me and scraping over another person's foot.

The fat man got the shot in his belly and blood was now soaking his shirt. We made space for him to lie down. In the meantime, we saw that the Police and Military forces had arrived at the spot and so with raised voices, we started asking to step out. However, the police inisted that we remain inside but we tried to tell them that one of us was injured with a bullet. Then they asked us to get the injured person out which I did, along with the shopkeeper.

With fear gripping at this moment, I thanked God as I realised the experience of his powerful protecting presence. Had it not been for the other man in front of me, I would have been hit and who knows what would have been my fate. But more than that, it was the thought of my earlier 6 travels through that place that came back to me. On every one of those occassions, I had passed unharmed, yet it was only on this occassion that I realized that the Lord had really been present with me at every moment.

For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evils, for thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me.
(Psalms 22(23): 4, DRV)

Posted by Anthony Prem Soares


No comments: