WINTER OF JULY 1984, MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL
We are driving late at night down a dark, unfamiliar highway in the state of Minas Gerais. Four of us are cramped into our old station wagon, surrounded with instruments and suitcases, some taking up passenger room inside and some tied in a carrier we have on top of the car. We are all tired, trying to doze but taking turns keeping our driver awake. I can’t keep my eyes open, and sleep, leaning against the car door. Suddenly, for no reason, I awaken, look ahead of the car and scream: “STOP!!!” Cal slams on the brakes, turning to me with that “What’s the matter with you” look, and I point a trembling finger ahead. He looks … we are speechless for we see NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. The road abruptly ends about 30 feet in front of us at a drop off into a chasm. Scattered around the area are old warning signs, obviously doing no good.
All four of us are now tremblingly aware of how close we’d been to death, and we pray, thanking God for His protection.
Cal is able to maneuver the car to turn it around on the narrow blacktop road and we head back to find the main highway we had mistakenly left.
No more sleeping until we reach our destination in the mountains an hour and a half later. Upon arrival, bed for most is a sleeping bag on an old plank floor. My husband and I are lovingly honored by giving us an ancient iron bed that has springs poking through the mattress. It’s so cold we sleep in our clothes (gives us a little more protection from the poking springs.:) ) The bitingly cold air comes up through the mattress from below the bed and I curl up in as much of a ball as I can, attempting to get warm.
As I finally drift off to sleep for a few precious hours of rest, I am still thanking God, shiveringly remembering the blackness of NOTHING, and wondering if it was my guardian angel who awakened me.
32 years since this happened, but in my memory it is still sharply etched. I will never forget that black emptiness of physical NOTHING.
There are other types of NOTHING.
I experienced the black emptiness of emotional NOTHING when my husband abandoned our children and I in 1987 for another woman and their children. This time, the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach was different – and it lasted much longer.
Truly, David the Psalmist was right on when he wrote: “He (God) leads me through the valley of the shadow of death; His rod and staff protect me.” Psa 23
What about you? What NOTHING have you had to walk through or are now walking through?
I am here tonight to remind you that HE CARES! You are not alone, never! Physically, emotionally, spiritually. God is here, always beside you and I, waiting for us to acknowledge His presence, and to learn how HE FILLS THE NOTHING!