In my Junior year of college, I had one of the most fearful, and yet awesome experiences of my life. Awesome because it was the beginning of my understanding of God’s personal love for me. Fearful, well that you will quickly understand.
Early one Sunday morning, I walked across the University campus on the way to the Student Union where I planned to study before heading off to church. A man walked briskly ahead of me into the Hall where classes were usually going on, but on Sundays was empty, and he let the door slam right in my face. I decided he must be having a bad day, and I continued walking through the Hall which was attached to the Student Union. He turned into an empty classroom, presumably to study, and I walked on, thinking about all I planned to do that day.
Suddenly, I heard the sound of someone running behind me, and then felt an arm go around my waist and a fist fly into my eye. I struggled to get free from the arm around my waist, and wrestled something out of his hand (later in the struggle I realized it was a table knife). I yelled for help, but he told me to shut up or he’d hurt me. I believed him so I shut up.
I dropped my backpack to the floor in hopes he would grab my valuables and go; and I crumpled to the ground so he wouldn’t think I was going to try to hurt him, but he did not stop punching me, so I raised myself up again to do something, but I was shoved against the wall, hit again so blood was in my one eye, and my other eye was blinded by the swelling of the first blow, and everything was a blur to me now. He pulled me into the room he first turned into and began strangling me on the ground and then tying my wrist to a table in the room.The thought that this was really a bad dream and not really happening came to me, and my thinking became clouded and like a swirl, but reality hit and I was again aware this was very real. What was I to do?
The room was unlit, but the morning sun broke through the window, and I was reminded that I never asked God to help me in this. So I did. I prayed the most heartfelt prayer I have ever prayed and I prayed it out loud, “God help me!” And he did. Out of the chaos of my half-thoughts, God brought the first clear thought through to me. He reminded me of a woman’s story that I heard on a radio program a few months earlier, and her question to her attacker, “Do you know Jesus?” So I asked my attacker that very question, “Do you know Jesus?”
He waited a second, and then said, “yes.” That was not the response that I expected and so fumbled for my next words by asking him, “then why are you doing this to me?”
At this point, he began to gather his things, and said, “Just stay there, just stay there, I won’t hurt you. Don’t leave, just stay there.” He got his stuff together, ran into the hallway, grabbed my backpack, and ran out the door through which we had both entered the building. When I was sure he was gone, I ran the other way, where I knew there would be people to help. I ran through the Student Union to the Information Desk, where the staff saw me coming and ran to help me as I collapsed at their feet. They were awesome and helped me through the shock and police report and trip to the hospital for the fractured cheekbone I had received.
Though this was a traumatic experience, it was a turning point in my faith. My parents were out of the country at the time, or I would have gone home that night of the attack and wouldn’t have pressed on. In the following days, I had to face my fears head-on. I walked through that very building the next day only to see my blood still on the floor as people nonchalantly walked over it on their way to class. I went to my classes despite my pain. I took my tests while my brain was still hurting and my eye still swollen. I persevered. I chose not to live in fear, but to trust God to fight for me. Thankfully, I had an entire faith community come around me and help me through it all, and one truly beautiful best friend who listened to me process a lot.
I saw how I had been trusting in my own strength. Truly, as soon as I recognized the Lord in the middle of this situation, he rescued me from it. Take time to read Psalm 71. I believe it. I feel like I own that Psalm! I had been focusing on very foolish things up until this time; this put my life into perspective. Lives are fragile. I began to live my life for God because I suddenly realized how I wanted to be with Him in the end, and there is no certainty as to how soon that will come for us. I would never have chosen in advance to be attacked, but looking back, I would never change it happening, because the good that God brought from it was so life-changing and so very good for the benefit of my soul.
“Bend low to my whispered cry and save me from all my enemies! You’re the only place of protection for me.” –Psalm 71:2-3 TPT
Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com.