October 22 – 23, 1969 (Continued)
With a group of young men standing outside my front door and the threat of another coming in the unlocked back door, I took off running toward the back, terrified that I might meet a stranger coming in. I twisted the doorknob button, locking it tight, and slid the chain in place with trembling fingers.
Sliding to the floor, I tried to hold back frightened sobs by pressing my hand against my mouth. At the front door, the rough knocking and shouting continued. “C’mon. Let us in. Don’t you want your surprise?”
After what seemed like forever, the banging finally stopped. Had the neighbor across the hall heard? She was a single mom with a little girl and surely wouldn’t open her door. Might she have called the police? Were the young men worried about that possibility? Standing on the 3rd floor landing, they would be trapped if somebody came up the steps. Whatever the reason, they finally left.
After a long while, I crawled to the front window on all fours and carefully peeked down at the street. Their car was gone, and the crisis had passed. I debated calling Nate, but for two reasons I didn’t. (1) With only a hallway phone far from his room, it was doubtful I’d get to him, and (2) I worried that if I did get to him and then he drove to the apartment, those ruffians might be lurking nearby and harm him.
As I calmed down that night, logic told me these boys were probably university students and had been out drinking with no premeditated plans to torment me. If I’d met them on campus during the day, they probably would have been harmless. But they’d seen me in the window and had reacted on the spur-of-the-minute.
Toward morning, all I could think of was how fortunate I’d been that they hadn’t gotten in. I was safe and unharmed, and I knew why. God had partnered with me through the whole torturous ordeal, protecting me. Though it was a sleepless night, I had much to think about.
When Nate arrived in the morning, I told him what had happened – recounting it calmly, downplaying the terror of those moments. His anger toward the boys flared, after which he folded me into his arms and apologized for not being there to keep me safe.
His frown lasted a long time as together we puzzled over what to do. If he spent nights with me from then on, what would happen to our desire to stay sexually pure? We were having a hard time as it was and knew we wouldn’t last the 5 weeks until our wedding. But if he left me alone, would those boys return? Or might something else just as bad happen?
Nate was a man bent on taking care of his woman, and I loved that about him. Admittedly, he wasn’t a fighter, but while he was with me, I felt protected.
We concluded that this scary incident had been devil-inspired, and there’s a verse in the Bible that says resisting the devil will cause him to flee. (James 4:7) So how did the Lord want us to resist? How could we make the devil flee?
We had two powerful temptations to resist – succumbing to chronic fear if Nate didn’t stay with me, and giving in to sexual desire if he did. Saying no to one surely meant embracing the other.
So there we were – caught between a rock and a hard place.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial…” (James 1:12)