Caught by an Angel
Once in 1999, I had been shopping in a bazaar in Almaty. I was tired of the crowds and the scams. As I approached my car, I saw a Gypsy-looking woman coming toward me. Assuming she was a beggar, I handed her a coin. She said, “thank you,” and I continued toward my car. Then she said something else.
“I can see in your eyes that you will soon become very sick and die.”
I was shocked, and only then paid attention to the pan of burning incense in her hand. She was a fortune-teller (a different type of beggar). She seemed to think that I wanted my fortune told.
Fortune-tellers act a bit like the local mafia, offering protection to merchants who pay, and offering harassment to those who don’t. She wanted to instill fear in me, so that I would pay her to bless me.
The first thing that came out of my mouth was instantaneous: “Get away from me, in the Name of Jesus Christ!” She left immediately.
I felt offended.
I found myself thinking about this curse. I knew that there was nothing to it; it was merely manipulation. I felt, at that moment, such empathy for the ordinary Central Asian with a propensity to superstition. I remembered a young lady in our church had been plagued with nightmares after visiting a fortune-teller. I remembered another woman whom I met in a medical clinic where I was serving as a counselor. She told me that 12 years before, a man in a bazaar put a curse on her. Whether this curse was real or imagined, her countenance was affected: her color was unhealthy; her eyes were very weak; she looked pitiful. I told her that Jesus became a curse for us, and that in Him, we are released from every curse (Galatians 3:13; Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree). She put her faith in Jesus that day, and promised to come back the next week for a follow up counseling appointment. When she returned, I didn’t recognize her. She was beaming with excitement after having a week-free from the curse she had felt for 12 years.
As I thought about these things, in the few moments after my brief encounter with the fortune-teller, I breathed a word of prayer on her behalf. I asked God to bless her, and I thanked God that HE was my protection.
The next day, a friend and I went to a garage to have my car repaired. After the car was already up on the lift, I remembered something I had left inside. I climbed up (it was an SUV), opened the back door, and fished out what I was looking for. As I was trying to turn around and step down, I lost my balance and fell to the concrete floor. My friend watched in a split second of horror. He helped me to my feet and asked how I was. He said I landed on the back of my head.
For me, it was the longest fall in history, as I felt myself falling in slow motion. It literally felt as though I were floating, slowly to the cold, concrete floor…escorted by an angel. I later remembered the fortune-teller who tried to extort me with a curse. Indeed, I was close to death, but God was my protector, not a scam artist in Gypsy clothing.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11, 12)