Dave and his wife, Grace, were awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of the doorbell. Who could it be? Dave made his way to the front door. There was no one there. Looking up and down the street, he saw a man standing in front of the neighbor’s house, looking back at him. Then the man walked down the street and disappeared.
The next night at three o’clock the doorbell rang again. Dave was more cautious this time. He left the night chain latched and just cracked the door. “Who is there?” And a male voice answered, “I’m looking for John Smith. Does he live here?” And Dave said, “No, I’m sorry. He doesn’t live here. Good night.” He didn’t know if it was the same person as the night before, but of course he suspected that it was.
For several nights neither Dave nor Grace slept well. Their collie dog, kept in the back yard, barked more than usual. Once Dave looked out and saw a man dressed like the one he had seen the first night.
Five or six uneasy nights passed and they were getting more jumpy with each succeeding night.
Friday morning they discovered that a window had been broken out during the night.
All the first-floor windows had bars; but blinds on this windows coming between the bars and the window pane, would have prevented a prowler from seeing the bars.
Concern now showed on their faces as they hurried the children off to school.
Dave picked the children up that afternoon. As he turned into the driveway he saw a man, dressed like the one he had seen, walking toward their house. He let the children out and told them to go into the house immediately. Then he walked around to the front to confront the man. But the man had seen him and was now five or six houses down the street.
What could he do? He had no proof it was the same man. What could he be arrested for? Dave, not wanting to alarm Grace, told her he had a few more visits to make and would be back in an hour.
About thirty minutes later, Grace heard the back door open and someone come in. She thought Dave had forgotten something and went to see if she could help. To her horror she was standing face-to-face with a strange man, he said, “Hi, how are y’all?” but stopped where he was. Grace, exhibiting a cool she did not feel, said, ”I’m just fine.” Then she walked deliberately toward him. Taken by surprise, he backed out the door, and she locked it. She was in a state of near panic.
But what could Dave and Grace do? The man was gone now, and probably many men are dressed in a black hat and black topcoat. That evening after the children were in bed, they prayed earnestly that angels would protect them all.
The collie dog barked again that night. Dave saw the same man walking away. Then everything was quiet.
Sabbath morning they awoke a little late, having lost so much sleep. Instantly Grace said, I smell cigarette smoke! Someone has been in the house!” Dave smelled it too and investigated. Someone had been in the house. Someone was still there—lying on the stairs. Dave called the police, “We have an intruder in our house. He’s lying on the stairs. I don’t know if he’s drunk, asleep, sick, or dead. But please hurry!”
Nervously they waited. What would happen now? Would the man come upstairs? Was he dead? The minutes seemed like hours. When the patrol car drove up, Dave opened the door for the officer. “There’s the man lying up there on the stairs. He must be either drunk of drugged to go to sleep on the stairs like that.”
The officer pointed his flashlight at the man. “That man is not asleep. He’s wide awake!” Then to the man, “This is the police. Stand up! Put your hands behind your back!”
He stood up, was handcuffed, and taken away.
The man confessed that he had been staking out the house for about two months. He wouldn’t say why. He said he had been upstairs, looking into the bedrooms, when he heard Dave and Grace begin to wake up. He started down the stairs and then, for some reason he didn’t know, he lay down on the stairs and stayed there until the officer told him to get up.
Police were amazed. They couldn’t understand. But Dave and Grace and the children do not think it so strange. They believe the Lord commanded him to lie down and that the angels kept him there until the officer arrived!
M. L. Lloyd