As we stopped at the little mini-mart for a drink on our way to the entrance of Disneyland, a man walked into the store past Peyton and Chris, her dad, grabbed a pair of sunglasses off the kiosk right inside the door and walked back out. He never said anything to either of them, but they saw what he did and let the owner know. Two minutes later, we were on our way again.
We hadn’t gotten more than half a block when a cop car flew past us and cranked hard into the parking lot a few yards in front of us, lights flashing. We heard the police officer before we saw him. “GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!” was being shouted repeatedly, a shotgun raised at the perpetrator. It was the man that had just stolen the glasses. Two, three, then four cars with flashing lights were surrounding the area, and I wasn’t about to let my 15-year-old daughter walk out across the open driveway when I didn’t know what kind of threat was right before us. So we stood just out of sight behind the giant hotel sign, Peyton holding my hand while Chris stood around the edge to see what was going on.
The man didn’t comply with their commands to get down and, in fact, started walking towards them (and in our direction). That’s when we heard the shots.
Ten seconds can feel like a lifetime when you’re in that moment.
I can tell you in that 10 seconds, Peyton rushed into my arms as I grabbed her and put myself in front of her just in case. I worried that Chris had been watching and perhaps something could happen to him and leave Peyton without a dad. I wondered if I was going to see my other children again. I didn’t know if the other man had a gun or if it was the police. I just wanted to be safe.
In that 10 seconds, however, I can tell you that the police saved not only everyone stuck on that sidewalk with us but themselves and the perpetrator as well. Chris glanced back at us and told Peyton the man was going to be ok. They were shooting bean bag rounds. It turns out the man had been in an altercation with someone just moments before he walked past Chris and Peyton at the store and had not only punched a man but had also busted a window with his bare hands. That had been what brought the officers.
When it was all over, I realized just how much God had protected us that morning. It could’ve very easily been Chris or Peyton who the man attacked at the store. He could’ve been stopped at a different location that would’ve provided no shelter for us from the stand-off. God had his hand all over the morning. This verse popped into my head in that moment, “He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield.” –Psalm 91:4
Thank you, Father, for the protection you provided us not only on that day but every day that we breathe.