The knife at my throat was cold and sharp. The tip of the blade was just at the point of breaking my skin. I tried to inhale but I couldn’t breathe. I was frozen with pure terror. The steel blue eyes of the young man who held me captive looked almost as scared as I was, I realized as the parking lot light caught his face. He was panicked and desperate but I didn’t know why……yet.
I had just returned to my car from a quick stop at the grocery store for milk. I parked on the side of the building because it was the closest to the door. I was to dash in for the milk and right out . As I came out of the store I didn’t notice the stranger lurking next to the building until he grabbed me.
“OK lady, listen up! Don’t make a sound, you hear? We are going to take a little ride. Get in and drive.” He shoved me around to the passenger side, pushed me in, got in next to me and said “Drive!”
I did as ordered. He gave directions and I followed. Take a left here, get on the freeway, keep going, and on it went for about fifteen minutes. All the while I was praying to God to forgive me of any thing that I had said, thought or done that day that was displeasing to Him. I guess this is it, huh Lord, I thought. I always pictured I would die of old age or an illness. But not………murder.
The more I prayed inside my heart, the calmer I became. I finally mustered enough courage to ask; “Where are we going? Please let me go, you can take the car. Just let me get out right here.”
“Shut-up and drive!” he screamed in a gargled voice. I then realized he was crying and my heart was filled with compassion for this young man that was going to kill me before the night was through.
“Son, what is your name? Why are you so desperate? What has happened to make you do this?” I kept asking him questions, trying to get him to open up to me. He didn’t reply but now the tears were streaming down his face.
Finally, he took a deep breath and very flatly spoke; “My name is Johnny Stone. We are going to the Metropolitan Hospital where my mother is dying. I’ve been hitching rides for two days trying to get there because my car‘s engine blew on the way. I called from the pay phone at the store and my sister said it’ll be any time now. She said Mama is asking for me. I’m sorry if I scared you, I didn‘t mean to. I just couldn’t think of any other way. I was desperate. I have to see Mama before she dies…...I have to ask her forgiveness, he was starting to sob. I left home four years ago after my Dad was killed in a plane crash and I haven‘t been back. It was too painful there. I have to tell Mama how much I love her before she goes to see Jesus and my Dad.”
By now I was crying too. Mostly for the sad story he’d just confided but also tears of relief too, I think. I wasn’t going to die tonight but this heartbroken boy’s Mama was. Jesus had given me a divine appointment tonight.
“Johnny, may I pray for your Mother and you? “
“You would do that for me after all I’ve put you though?”
“Johnny, do you know Jesus?”
“No, I can’t say that I do. Mama tried to get me to go to church with her right after Dad, well you know…...but I guess I was angry at God. I think I want to know Him now, though. Mama would be so happy. Can you show me how?”
I prayed for his Mama then we went through the sinners prayer and Johnny accepted Jesus into his heart right before we pulled into the hospital parking lot. As I stopped the car he looked up at me. The look the streetlight showed on his face this time was pure love and peace.
“Good-bye” he said opening the car door “and thank you.”
“Thank you, Johnny” I praised my Lord all the way home for His precious love………
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