By Herbert W. Armstrong
I got out of Bucharest just in time to avoid the most devastating of recent earthquakes. It seems providential.
I had planned originally to spend another week at the Otopeni Clinic. Then I decided to cut it a week short because of the need to get to South Africa. So I planned to leave Bucharest on Friday morning, for an appointment in London on Friday. Then I learned the Friday appointment had to be moved up to Thursday morning.
That made it necessary to plan to leave Bucharest Wednesday afternoon, spending the night in London in order to be on time for the Thursday-morning appointment. Actually, I was almost angered at the change in the London appointment. It was planned at the very last minute.
And it got me out of Bucharest just approximately a day before that devastating 7.2 (on the Richter scale) earthquake struck. The epicenter of the quake was a few miles northeast of Bucharest. The clinic is some four or five miles northeast of the center of Bucharest. I have not been able to get any news as to what happened to the clinic.
Telephone calls poured into Pasadena inquiring if I was injured in the quake.
Do you believe in angels? I'm sure many do not today, but the Bible has a lot to say about them. They are described in some detail in the first chapter of Hebrews.
God says of angels: Are not all angels merely spirits in the divine service, commissioned for the benefit of those who are to inherit salvation? (Heb. 1:14, Moffatt translation.) In the King James Version, which is used more than any other translation, it says: Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Many times in the Bible it speaks of angels protecting or ministering to people of God, especially Jesus.
I think I wrote in my autobiography of the time when I was driving at night in a heavy rain southward on the highway between Salem and Eugene, Oregon. This was before the present freeway system-the highway was a narrow, paved, two-way road full of sharp curves. I was turning on a sharp curve when suddenly in front of me was a horrible wreck. Directly in front of me was a large truck standing still, also headed south. Because of the sharp curve I did not see it until I was within 10 or 15 feet of it. I was driving only about 25 or 30 miles an hour, but still there was no time to stop without crashing into the rear of the truck.
Believe it or not, suddenly some UNSEEN force wrenched my steering wheel sharply to the left. I missed striking the side or rear of the truck by possibly not as much as one inch. Then straight ahead of me on the other side of the road was a stalled car standing still, headed north. The same unseen force powerfully turned my steering wheel sharply to the right. My car passed between the car headed north and the front of the truck headed south. They were so close that there was hardly one inch of space between the left front of the big truck and the left rear of the passenger car. It happened so QUICKLY, I hardly knew what happened-but I do know that I myself did not turn that steering wheel. Some unseen FORCE turned it in spite of me. I brought my car to an immediate stop safely in front of the big truck. Upside down, in a ditch to my left beyond the northbound passenger car I just barely missed, was another passenger car, its radio still blaring. I think those in it were killed.
You may not believe there was any angel there, or that God was providentially protecting me by an angel. But I KNOW that I could never have steered that car so skillfully, so suddenly without warning, and have missed both the truck and the stalled car with not an inch to spare.
I have on other occasions written of the time I was driving a car on Foster Road in Portland. I was approaching a side street where I had visited a seriously crippled and paralyzed man who had gone to an Aimee Semple McPherson meeting to ask the lady evangelist to pray for his healing. I had offered to help carry this man in. We had to enter at the rear stage entrance. But they refused to let the man see Mrs. McPherson. I had taken his home address and called on him, offering to pray for his healing myself. But I had reason, I felt, to read to him from I John 3:22: And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. I asked this man if he kept God's commandments.
No! he said emphatically. The commandments were done away.
I talked to him awhile but did not pray for him-for that matter he did not ask me to-but said that if he would like, I would call again. This I did, and he ridiculed God's commandments, and still did not request that I pray for him. I had given up on him.
Then one day months later, when I was driving past his street off Foster Road, I wondered if I ought to stop and see him again but decided against it. At the very next block that same UNSEEN STRONG HAND took hold of my steering wheel, and, in spite of my trying with all my strength to keep the steering wheel driving the car straight ahead on Foster Road, it turned me onto this side street. I was shocked-frightened. I had tried to hold the steering wheel steady. I tried to resist the invisible force, turning the wheel with all my might, but failed. Suddenly I found myself driving down this side street.
Oh well, I thought, I'll drive to the next cross street and turn back. But at the end of the block the street turned right ONLY. I was now forced to turn right and the street then turned right again, into the very street where the paralyzed man lived.
By this time I decided it had been an angel that turned me there and that God wanted me to see this man again. I found him now stricken with -blood poisoning-the doctors giving him less than 24 hours to live. I told him how I had been miraculously brought there. ' I believe God wants to PROVE TO YOU that He will heal you IF you will obey Him and keep His commandments, I said. If you want, I will pray for the healing of the blood poisoning to SAVE YOUR LIFE. And if then you will repent and obey Him, I will pray for your twisted spine and paralytic condition and HE WILL HEAL YOU.
Yes, he answered. You pray for the healing of the blood poisoning to save my life.
I did. I called again the next day. He was COMPLETELY HEALED of the blood poisoning, to the doctors' astonishment.
But as for keeping God's commandments, he only laughed in scorn.
God has PROVED to you by this test that He will heal you of your paralytic condition IF you will obey Him. Since you refuse, and ridicule and make fun of His commandments, there is nothing more I can do for you. I am terribly dis appointed and sorry. Good-bye.
I have never seen or heard of that man since.
There have been numerous times when I know God has providentially saved my life and protected me from harm. He has kept me in vigorous health most of the time, healed me when ill-which is seldom-watched over me. I am grateful beyond words. With David I say, Oh how love I thy law.... Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me (Ps. 119:97-98).