While fact-checking about Notre Dame Cathedral for last week’s post, I “happened” across a stunning answer to prayer.
As you know if you read that post, I had the privilege of worshiping in that majestic Paris cathedral September 4.
As you also probably know, France has been a target for terrorist activity recently. With this sobering fact in mind, prior to my trip I had asked a few friends to pray for my safety. I wasn’t worried. I know that God determines my length of days and that I can die just as easily in Colorado Springs as in Nice, Normandy, or Paris. Still, it makes sense to ask God for protection (and there is solid biblical precedent for this; see Ezra 8:21-23).
I was never fearful during my time in France, although it was unnerving to see so many law enforcement officials—outfitted in camouflage, boots, and machine guns—silently patrolling French streets and plazas. But I was also thankful that trained men and women were on the ready, alert to protect innocent citizens and tourists.
Anyhow, as I told you last week, my time in Notre Dame was wonderful. Uplifting. Worshipful. Memorable. Thoughts for my safety never crossed my mind.
Until almost a week later when I was back home in Colorado.
As I said, I was just verifying some basic facts about Notre Dame when I ran across headlines that made my blood run cold. A “commando” of French women with ties to ISIS had just been arrested on charges of a failed jihadist attack at Notre Dame! When had this attack been planned? Sunday morning, September 4, the morning I was worshiping there!
What a close call! Yet I never would have even known if I hadn’t happened to be fact checking last week.
How many times, I wondered, has God protected me from tragedy and I’ve never even known? What stories heaven has in store for us of all the ways God has been there for when and we were completely unaware.
But this time He did let me know. He wanted me to know that He’d heard all those prayers for my safety. He’d answered. And He let me experience the joy of knowing that He answered. I’m still pretty amazed by it all. And it makes me think that praying for “traveling mercies” may be more important than I’d ever realized.