An empty bus terminal in the wee hours of the morning—and no one to protect me. There were no signs of life outside the station as I squinted through the rain. I stepped off the bus with my suitcase over my head and made a run for it. Inside the heavy entrance door I found myself all alone in the huge terminal where I had to change buses. Deserted. That's how I felt no matter where I was these days.
I hadn't always felt that way. Since I was a little girl I'd been certain that angels were watching over me every moment. Like the time someone whispered for me to wake up in the middle of the night and saved my whole family from a fire in our home. But where had that reassuring voice been when the doctor told me the child I was expecting would never come into this world? I took a trip to visit my family, hoping to find some peace. Now I was on my way back to my husband, but my heart was just as heavy as the day I left. God had always been there to guard against tragedy. Where was he now?
I looked around the waiting room, but saw only shadows, no people. It was one o'clock in the morning. Yet somewhere there was music playing. I followed the sound to a lunch counter at the other end of the terminal. A gruff-looking man was reading a newspaper. Apparently he was both the cook and the ticket agent.
"How long before the next bus to Petersburg?" I asked.
The man scowled up at the grease-covered clock on the wall. "Couple of hours," he mumbled, going back to his paper.
I returned to the dimly lit waiting area. There were rows of empty wooden benches. I found one near enough light for reading, and pulled out my book. I'd only read a few lines when I sensed I was no longer alone.
Seven young men sat directly opposite me. Each one sat with his arms crossed, staring at me. I pulled my cardigan tightly around my shoulders, hoping another bus had arrived with more travelers. No, it was just me and this gang of men—and they weren't travelers. They were obviously here to start trouble, and there was no one to protect me from them.
Hands shaking, I closed my book and stood up. The gang stood up, too. The lunch counter seemed miles away. I couldn't hear the music anymore. My heart beat so loudly I thought I would faint. I stepped away from my seat.
Footsteps behind me got louder—and closer. Dear God, help me!
A man appeared at the end of the row of benches. "There you are!" he exclaimed. I looked up into his smiling, handsome face. My heartbeat slowed. I'd never seen him before, but somehow he knew I needed help. "I've been waiting ages for you!" he said. "I was afraid you'd gotten lost."
The stranger was about 40 years old with a strong, sturdy build—he looked like Superman! He picked up my suitcase with little effort and threw his free arm around my trembling shoulders. "Let's have a cup of coffee while we wait for your bus."
I didn't look back. By the time the stranger and I got to the lunch counter the gang was gone. The man behind the register perked up and brewed us a fresh pot of coffee. My companion didn't touch his cup, but we chatted until it was time for my next bus.
Dawn was arriving as he held open the station's heavy door for me. The storm was over, and my bus waited across the still-damp blacktop. As I got on board the stranger handed me my suitcase. I looked down to thank him, but he wasn't there.
As the bus pulled out, I thought about all the sadness I'd experienced over the last few weeks and thanked God for the angel who came to my rescue. God hadn't deserted me. He was watching over me still, just like when I was a girl. And that knowledge would see me through the many joys—and trials—of life.