When I was young, 22 years old, and very stupid, I got in a snit about something and went for a walk in a local woods. The problem? It was the woods around the Cloisters in upper Manhattan and it was night. A man spotted me going in, seized me, twisted my arm behind my back and warned me, “Don’t make a sound.” The path ahead of me glimmered in the faint light with broken glass. I had the conviction that unless help came I was going to die on that path. A huge tree loomed over the pathway on my right.
As I was shoved forward, I prayed silently to God: “When I pass that tree, I’m going to fight for my life. If you want me to be here on this earth, help me.” Step by step the tree grew closer, then I was next to it. I heard the word, like a whisper, “NOW!” I twisted out of the man’s grasp. I suddenly found myself fearless and calm. I shoved the man away from me so hard he staggered, and examined him coolly for spots to punch or kick. I didn’t need to. He saw something in my eyes, backed away, and warned me again to be quiet. This time I took the hint and started screaming my head off. He ran.
Did an invisible angel stand with me? Speak to me? Did God directly intervene? I only know that I asked God both a question and for help, and the Divine answer was courage, strength, and absolute conviction. My adversary’s attempt to defeat me became the means of his own defeat. God wanted me on this Earth, and now the question is in my hands: what is the service I can give with the life that God saved?