Albert Anson has had some close calls in his life.
And one occurred when he was a young man, before his met his wife, June.
At the time, Albert and his brother, Bob, were taking care of their parents and living in Ohio.
Albert and his brother were attending a church in Dayton. While at that church, a young woman set Albert up on a date with her cousin. They were set to go out on a Saturday night.
But the night before, Albert, his brother and a couple other folks went fishing.
They fished all night at a river.
That Saturday morning, Albert figured he’d better wash and polish his car so it would like nice when he took the girl out on a date.
He picked the girl up for the date.
“We drove around town and talked and I asked if she wanted to go to a movie,” he said.
They went to a movie, then drove around a little more. He dropped the girl off at her house at about 1 a.m.
The girl lived about 10 or 15 miles from where Albert lived with his family.
“On the way home, I fell asleep at the wheel,” Albert said.
The car hit a pole.
Because the car didn’t have seatbelts, Albert’s body went forward and he hit his nose.
A patrolman, who came to investigate, saw Albert’s nose.
“I’d better take you to the hospital so they can check you out,” the man told Albert.
Earlier in the day, the patrolman had shut one of his fingers in a car door. So when he took Albert to the hospital, the patrolman decided to have his finger checked out.
While a doctor and nurses were checking out Albert, someone took the patrolman into the hallway to look at his finger.
And he fainted.
“They laid him on a gurney until he woke up,” Albert said, adding, “They kept me overnight.”
Albert’s car was hauled away. And he never dated that girl again.
So you might say he lost the car and the girl.
But Albert — who turned 85 on Jan. 1 — is OK with that.
He’s had other cars and he later met June. They’ve been married for 57 years.
Albert knows he’s had close calls, but said God has protected him.
We can find a variety of different stories of God’s protection in the Bible.
The first one that comes to my mind takes place after Moses has led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
Soon thereafter, the Pharaoh decides he wants those slaves back and heads out with his army and whole bunch of chariots.
Moses and the Israelites find themselves with the Red Sea on one side of them and the Egyptian army coming at them from the other.
Yet God protects them with a pillar of fire. The Lord then parts the Red Sea. With one wall of water to their right and another to their left, the Israelites cross the sea on dry ground.
When the Egyptians try to follow, the wheels on their chariots fall off. They’re then covered with water and all of them drown.
We see God’s incredible protection centuries later when an evil king named Sennacherib — who’s been attacking the fortified cities of Judah — plans to capture the city of Jerusalem.
A master of psychological warfare, Sennacherib sends an incredibly threatening letter to King Hezekiah of Judah.
Hezekiah takes that letter and spreads it before the Lord. Hezekiah prays, asking God to deliver the people of Judah from Sennacherib and his forces.
And God does.
That night, an angel of the Lord goes out and puts to death 185,000 soldiers in the enemy camp.
There are other stories of protection in the Bible — like the times when an angel warned Joseph to leave Bethlehem with Mary and baby Jesus, because the evil King Herod wanted to take the child’s life.
Later, we can read where an angel miraculously rescued the Apostle Peter from a jail cell and how God protected the Apostle Paul and many other men aboard a ship during a long and terrible storm. After the ship broke apart, all the men made it safely to the island of Malta.
On Malta, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake, but didn’t die.
Sounds like some amazing protection to me.
But one story that’s been on my mind is one that happened when Moses was still a baby.
We find it in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus.
At this point, the Israelites have been multiplying in Egypt to the point where the Pharaoh and the Egyptians dread them — and make them work as slaves.
Eventually, the Pharaoh decides that every Israelite male baby is to be killed.
Moses is born and his mom hides him for a while. When she can no longer hide him, she makes a basket of papyrus and waterproofs it with tar and pitch.
She puts baby Moses in the basket and sets it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile River. Moses’ sister stands at a distance to see what will happen.
Pharaoh’s daughter comes down to the river to bathe and her handmaidens are walking along the bank.
She sees a basket floating among the reeds and sends one of her servants to get it.
When she opens the basket, she sees the baby who is crying — and takes pity on him. She realizes it’s one of the Israelite (Hebrew) children.
Right then, Moses’ sister asks if she can go get a mother from the Hebrews who can nurse the baby for her.
So the girl calls for Moses’ mom. Pharaoh’s daughter tells her to nurse the baby—and that she’ll pay her to do so. With that, Moses’ mom nurses her own baby.
When the child is weaned, his mom takes him to the Pharaoh’s daughter who adopts him as her own son. The Pharaoh’s daughter names him Moses.
Gee, who’d have thought a princess would make such an interesting water rescue—and without diving equipment and a helicopter?
Actually, we know it was God who protected that baby and rescued him.
Did God protect or rescue any other male babies? We don’t know.
Why doesn’t God protect, rescue and spare everyone’s life?
I don’t know. I’ve wondered why some of my most precious loved ones died so young—even after begged God to spare their lives on this earth.
Yet in my darkest times, God has shown me great tenderness and I’ve come to believe that he really does have my best interest at heart.
And that he knows what he’s doing.
I’m still growing in my trust for him. I’ve seen him carry me through what seemed like impossible times and give me strength when I’ve needed it most.
And I believe he’s protected me in ways I’ll never know about until I reach heaven.
I’ve heard people say that we complain when we get into an accident, but don’t realize how many others God has protected us from having.
Or times when he’s kept us from being in an even worse situation.
I think that happened for Albert after his date so many years ago.
God protected him from what could have been a terrible accident.
And decades later, Albert was telling me all about it while eating his lunch.
Albert even kind of laughed about the patrolman who fainted.
I wonder if the poor guy felt a little embarrassed after he woke up—and I’ll bet he never dreamed somebody would be writing about it decades later.
Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She writes a weekly spiritual column.