As US Highway 82 runs through Greenville, Mississippi, the speed limit drops from 65 mph to 35 mph with a series of traffic lights. The traffic that flowed smoothly through the countryside bunches up and crawls in fits through the city of Greenville.
I was halfway through town, heading west toward the nearby Mississippi River, when I stopped for a traffic light. There was nothing extraordinary about the stop. As I approached the intersection, the light changed from green to yellow, followed by red. I began braking the moment it changed to yellow, and the light was red well before I reached the intersection to stop behind the white line painted across the asphalt highway.
The logging truck behind me was less responsive. A glance in the rearview mirror showed him bearing down on me while vigorously plying both brake and horn. I punched the gas to jump across the spacious cross-walk and stop halfway into the cross-lane, leaving just enough room for cross-traffic to squeeze by. The trucker took full advantage of the extra stopping footage, grinding to a halt a couple of feet behind my bumper. Too close for comfort, but no harm done! I relaxed into my seat, thankful a collision had been avoided.
Seconds later, the truck driver stomped up and slapped my window as though trying to break the glass, then proceeded to cuss me out. “What the h*** do you think you’re doing? Do you think an eight hundred thousand pound load is easy to get stopped?”
Hoping to defuse the tension, I responded calmly, “The light was red, bud.”
“F*** the light!” he screamed, stalking back to his truck.
As the light changed to green, I pulled ahead of the heavy truck. A few blocks further, I stopped at another red light. Glancing in my mirror, I saw the road-rage driver two blocks back in the left lane, abreast another logging truck in the right lane. Both trucks barreled straight through a red light to stop where I was…one to my left and one behind me. Both loudly revved their engines awaiting the light change.
That seemed like a pretty aggressive move, intended to intimidate. I wasn’t really scared, but I was concerned. Accelerating through the green light, I reached beneath the car seat and retrieved my hand gun. Placing it on the seat beside me, I breathed a prayer for protection and wisdom. I wasn’t really expecting an altercation, but wanted to be prepared just in case.
As we neared the edge of town, the car in front of me turned right, and I saw a police officer signaling me to do the same. Something struck me as odd. Traffic was rolling on down the highway, ahead. There were no detour signs or flashing lights. No police cars were in view. Yet this police officer was looking straight at me, clearly signaling me to turn right, off the four-lane highway, onto a narrow residential street.
As I slowed for the turn I called, “Turn right?” “Yes, turn right,” he responded, then said something else about broken glass. I’m not certain, but it sounded like he said, “Yes, turn right. We want you to avoid broken glass.”
I made the right turn, thinking there must be a crew ahead cleaning broken glass off the highway. I glanced in my mirror expecting to see a line of traffic following, with the two logging trucks on my bumper. Instead, I saw the police officer standing in the middle of the road, facing away from me as he watched the highway traffic roll by. Nobody else was diverted.
It must be a mistake, I thought. I must have misunderstood something. I needed to get turned around and back on the highway. Then I saw another police officer two blocks ahead, waving me on. “Go straight?” I queried as I eased past her. “Yes,” she responded, “keep going straight.”
So I kept going straight. Three blocks further on, the road teed into another street at a stop sign. I had to turn either left or right. I looked around. No more police officers to direct me. Still no detour signs. The car in front of me had turned right, but he appeared to be headed toward a specific destination within the residential neighborhood. Right would take me back east…opposite my direction of travel. I turned left.
Within a couple of blocks, I intersected a four-lane street at an oblique angle. This could be US-82 if it had curved right. Or it could be another street altogether. The street sign read Grand Avenue…not much help as I was watching highway numbers not street names. Left would take me back almost to the point I was diverted, so I turned right. Within five minutes a sign informed me I was traveling north on State Highway 1. Knowing the next Mississippi River bridge was miles out of my way, I turned around to head back south toward US-82.
As I approached US-82, I glanced left. There was the street I’d been diverted onto, just a couple of blocks back. There was no police officer in sight. No signs, no flashing lights, no accident, no broken glass…just normal traffic flow. I turned right and headed for the river as I pondered the strange occurrence.
By the time I was crossing the river, I was starting to feel a little peeved. Why did those officers divert me? They wasted a good fifteen minutes of my time, for no good reason!
About the time I entered Arkansas on the other side of the bridge it occurred to me that those two logging trucks were now fifteen minutes ahead of me…with no idea I was still traveling the same direction.
Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!
Now, I’m pretty quick to see miracles in everyday events such as a pretty sunset or a baby’s laugh. I’m also fairly quick to give God credit for miraculous timing of events…things that come together with too much precision to be reasonably counted as random coincidence. I am not, however, overly quick to call things supernatural if they can be reasonably explained as natural events. I give God full credit for both natural events and supernatural events. However, I don’t generally feel the need to label something as supernatural when it could be divine timing of natural events.
This one has me puzzled, though.
It really would not be reasonable to assume two police officers just decided to coordinate together to play a prank on a random stranger. It would be even less reasonable to assume they decided to single out one random vehicle out of a highway full of vehicles as the subject of a joke. And it becomes even less credible to assume they would decide to play the joke without using any flashing lights or police cars.
Logic drives me to the conclusion that I was intentionally singled out to be diverted for a specific purpose. The most obvious purpose would be to separate me from the pair of road-rage truck drivers. However, to accept this means I must also accept this was a divinely inspired plan for my protection…and that those were no ordinary police officers.
In the Bible, angels served two primary roles, as guardians and as messengers. Whether natural or supernatural, those two police officers acted as guardians and messengers on my behalf. They were my angels.
Which means, I am greatly loved and under divine care.