A Protecting Hand

By Theodorus G. Baalman

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    A long line of cars and large trucks sped along the freeway through the steady rain, tires hissing on the wet pavement. Water squirting from under the wheels of the trucks formed a curtain behind each speeding colossus. Every time we passed one of those road giants, a streaming shower blocked our view.

    Often, when a long line of cars was in front of us, we had to drive for minutes beside one of those enormous vehicles. Shivering with fear, my wife would look up at the monster that thundered along only a couple of meters away from us.

    I grumbled to myself because we had left so late that I had to hurry in these dangerous weather conditions to arrive on time for our appointment.

    Suddenly we heard a mysterious sound against the side of the car. It went “klack-klack-klack-klack,” sounding like the first four beats of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, of which the composer said, “That’s the way fate knocks at the door.” The sound repeated itself every so often.

    I stopped the car in the emergency lane and inspected the tires and the body of the car. I could find nothing that could have caused this knocking sound, so we continued our trip. After several kilometers, we heard the same knocking sound. I stopped and inspected the car again. Nothing was to be found. But when I stopped a third time, I did discover something—a bump on one of the tires that slowly grew to the size of a coconut!

    When the mechanic who came to change the tire inspected the inside of the tire, he whistled fearfully. Even though the tire had been new, it had a big tear in the canvas—a factory defect. “You couldn’t have driven another kilometer with this,” the man said. “The tire would have had a blowout.”

    I shivered with the thought of what could have happened if we had had a blowout when we were driving next to one of those huge trucks. That day, I clearly felt the protecting power that we so often plead for in our daily prayers.

    Years later, one stormy night. I felt that protection again. We were a little older and little bit more forgetful. The wind roared around the house and gusted at doors and windows. However, inside it was quiet and safe, and we slept warm and comfortable.

    The next morning, we awoke, said our morning prayers, and went downstairs. In the kitchen, we had the scare of our lives! There was a strong gas smell, and the kitchen door, which we normally locked tight, was wide open in the wind. Without realizing it, we had left the gas knob of the stove wide open and the door unlocked. Somehow the storm wind had blown the door open. Had the door not been open, the gas would surely have been ignited by the flame in the water heater, causing a potentially serious explosion.

    We are not wise people, just a simple couple striving to keep the covenants we made with Heavenly Father when we were married in the temple. We feel protected. Perhaps we are protected many more times than we even realize. Certainly, we believe that it was the hand of our Heavenly Father who saved us twice from misfortune.

    Illustration by Doug Fakkel