God As Our Protector

Contributed by Vic Kohring

Have you ever wondered how you survived a near impossible, even life-threatening situation? 

I've had my share of close calls through the years which could have easily ended my life, yet I'm still here. As a Christian, I've been in Satan's crosshairs many times. But thanks to God's intervention, I've lived to tell my story. If the Lord takes us early and brings us home, it's part of His plan. But for those who survive the long term, many a bullet is dodged, at least for some of us.

The Bible says in Psalm 121 that, "The Lord will keep you from harm. He will watch over your life and your coming and going both now and forever more." While campaigning for the Legislature one year, gunshots were fired in separate drive by shooting attempts as I waved at cars along the Glenn Highway. A direct hit could have been fatal. I wore a bullet proof vest to protect me, but it was God who actually kept me safe. The alternative was to stay home and allow my political enemies to intimidate me and declare victory.      

While trapping one December day many years ago along the Chitina River Flats near McCarthy, I broke through lake ice but managed to pull myself up and prevent hypothermia from overtaking me. Not to mention that I escaped drowning. When target practicing near Point McKenzie two decades ago, a bullet I fired at an old car from a .22 pistol, ricocheted off the chassis and came straight back at me, striking my leg. A slight deviation to its trajectory could have meant disaster including tearing through an artery. Again, God was present.

In high school, I was driving the family car to basketball practice when I was forced to take evasive action to avoid crunching into the back of an empty school bus, whose careless and indecisive driver stopped abruptly at an intersection. Given the height of the bumper on the bus in relation to my windshield (they were equal), a collision probably would have decapitated me as I slammed my brakes and burnt half the rubber off my screeching tires. The bus driver approached me in the school parking lot a few minutes later to profusely apologize. 

Years later as a graduate student in the habit of burning the midnight oil studying, I attempted to drive home after a final exam I had crammed for the entire night before. As a precaution, I took the Old Glenn just in case I dozed off, even though I was pumped up with coffee and caffeine pills. The idea was, since far less traffic existed on the Old Glenn Highway versus the New Glenn Highway, should I fall asleep at the wheel, I may stand a greater chance at surviving a crash. Sure enough, I nodded off along the Knik River close to the old bridge. But instead of crashing, my old jalopy simply rolled to a stop at a gravel pull-off. When I awoke, I found myself a few feet from the raging river with my heart pounding wildly. Ten feet over and drowning would have been inevitable.

The most extreme example of a near fatality occurred while I was an undergraduate college student in the Seattle area. After taking in an NBA basketball game between the Seattle SuperSonics and the New York Knicks the evening of November 4, 1977, I was caught in the middle of a six-car pileup on Interstate 90. While a passenger, our car narrowly missed striking a stalled vehicle on the freeway, yet sustained damage to the undercarriage after it was deliberately hooked along a concrete curb to slow it. We miraculously stopped eight feet behind the broken down car. After looking under our rig to inspect the damage, I hopped back inside when we were suddenly hit from behind by a '67 Ford Mustang traveling about 55mph. 

The impact severely injured the driver of the Mustang while causing me to careen into the windshield and dashboard, injuring my neck and forehead. Years later, I required major spinal surgery after years of suffering. The most frightening part of my experience was nearly being pinned between two cars as I checked for damage. Ten seconds elapsed from the time I was looking under our car to when I got back inside, at which time we were pulverized from behind as if a bomb exploded. Had I been between the cars, I would have been crushed and likely died on the spot. 

Any one of these incidents could have claimed me, but thankfully I survived. Did God send a guardian angel to protect me as part of His plan? I'm convinced yes as the Bible suggests such angels exist. Jesus references them in Matthew and they are mentioned in Daniel and 2 Kings. I believe I was spared to eventually serve in the Legislature - my destiny - and in a position to help literally thousands of people on a wide range of issues, improving the lives of many in my community. So there was a reason, a purpose.

"The Lord is faithful and He will strengthen you and protect you…" (2 Thessalonians 3:3)