Picture this: I am standing in the middle of the road with a bullet wound in my left leg. Nevertheless, a strange voice says to me: “There is nothing wrong with your leg.” What about all the blood? What about the fact that I cannot walk?
But you simply did not argue with that voice. It not only described an implausible situation; it decreed it.
When I chose to believe this illogical reassurance, all fear about my wound disappeared again. The earlier inexplicable peace returned. I just knew it was only a matter of time before a deliverer would come to take us away.
While waiting, with my blood draining away on that road, I had the opportunity to review the situation. Then I realised there was indeed something supernatural going on. Apart from the money left auspiciously in the glove compartment of our car, I noticed a number of amazing imponderables.
In the first place, apart from driving at top speed and slamming into the lamppost, nobody in the car was hurt. We had no seat-belts on. Nevertheless, I did not even hit my chest on the steering-wheel. My son was sitting between my wife and me. He could easily have been thrown out of the car through the windscreen. But God, in his mercy, prevented this from happening.
In the second place, the lamppost, which I thought had scuttled my plans, actually saved my life. Standing there by the road-side, I discovered that my brilliant getaway plan was actually reckless. The road was a descending flyover. Without the lamppost, I would have driven clean off the road headlong onto another road down below where cars were moving in the opposite direction. That would have spelt disaster. As it was, the lamppost was a lifesaver in that it broke the fall.
God used the incident to bring to my understanding that my inclination to do-it-alone was self-destructive and even suicidal. It also became my first lesson in Jesus’ principle: “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it.” (Matthew 16:25).
But the third miracle was the biggest of all. That had to do with the gunshot. The bullet pierced the body of the car, shattered the glass from within and came out the other side. Had it continued on that trajectory, it would have hit me in the stomach. Failing that, it would have hit my son who was sitting to my right between my wife and me.
But having come through the body of the car, the bullet did something strange. It changed direction completely and headed downwards, burying itself in my leg below the knee. This was the LORD’S doing; it is marvelous in my eyes. (Psalm 118:23).
Meanwhile, on their departure, the armed robbers sped down the road shooting in the air as they went. A young lady that God used to rescue us told us exactly what happened next. Everybody made a dash for it. So when Karen came up the road shouting frantically for help, nobody was interested. It was a situation of every man for himself.
But something apparently came over this young woman in a taxi who insisted the driver must stop. The more the driver protested the more adamant she became. When the driver finally succumbed, another passenger in the taxi would have none of it. He jumped out and ran off in fear and annoyance.
They brought the taxi where I was with our son. We quickly abandoned our car and I was bundled off to the nearby EKO Hospital.
On getting there, I was wheeled into an emergency ward. I had to undergo a quick x-ray in order to determine the nature and gravity of my wound. But I felt again the need to reassure my wife. So I appealed to the nurses that I needed to talk to her. When she came, I told her: “Karen, there is a bullet in my leg, but there is nothing wrong with my leg.”
Suddenly, she burst out laughing. She laughed and laughed. I have thought about that laughter so many times since that day, and have never understood it. Did she laugh because she thought I was crazy? Was she just relieved at the deliverance? She has not been able to explain it to me herself.
The x-ray revealed the bullet had splintered a bone. The doctors told me their first concern was the bone. Only after the fracture was dealt with would they address the issue of the bullet, since it was not life threatening. Therefore, the next morning, my leg was promptly encased in a plaster.
I spent five days in EKO Hospital. Those days were remarkable because of those who came to visit me while I was there. There are apparently many evangelists who go from room to room and from bed to bed in hospitals witnessing to the sick. In my five days at EKO Hospital, I became hostage to quite a number of these people. I would not ordinarily have given them the time of day. But stuck in a hospital bed, I was at their mercy.
I noticed that, in the main, they were shabbily dressed. Most of them spoke very bad English. Some were clearly not well educated. Nevertheless, it was apparent that virtually all of them knew of things about which I was completely ignorant. They spoke with great conviction about things I had not learnt in all my nine years of university education and ten years in an academic research institute.
It was evident to me from their terms of reference that there was one basic source to their knowledge: the bible. Therefore, once I left the hospital, I simply had to find out some of these things for myself. I bought a bible and buried my nose in it. I read it fanatically and voraciously, and it turned my world upside down.
I am fully convinced the Lord had been trying to get my attention long before then, but I was not interested. However, in the middle of a life-threatening attack, my ears were opened. I say this now to the amusement of some but with all seriousness. In order for me to be a full-fledged Christian, I had to be shot. That is how hardened my heart was. That is also how determined the love of God can be.
On Damascus Road, the Lord spoke to me in that enigmatic manner I have since come to recognise as his voice. He told me nothing would happen to me and, immediately thereafter, something happened. I was shot. A bullet was lodged in my leg and it was covered in blood. Nevertheless, he insisted nothing was wrong with my leg.
I would not ordinarily have given heed to such obvious illogicality. I was not a fool and did not believe things that flew in the face of “reality.” But that night, on that dark bleak and lonely road, my choices were severely limited. I had no choice but to believe.
Nothing indeed happened to me on that fateful date with destiny on Airport Road, and no one has ever had to remove the bullet from my leg.