Clop, clop, clop, clop . . . The rhythm of the horse’s hooves soothed Pastor Jones as he traveled across the countryside of northern Wales. His job as a preacher took him to many different places. Today his path led through a very deserted area.
Suddenly a movement caught his attention. Behind a tall hedge along the road was a rough-looking man carrying a large sickle for cutting grain. Pastor Jones realized that the man seemed to be following him.
Up ahead a gate stood across the road, and the preacher would have to get off his horse to open it. It seemed that the man with the sickle planned to meet him at that gate.
Pastor Jones felt a chill of fear. In his saddlebag was a large sum of money that he had been collecting for a chapel building.
I wonder if this man knows I have that money, Pastor Jones thought. I’m sure he’s up to no good.
The preacher glanced ahead and behind. No one else was in sight. He stopped his horse for a moment and bowed his head. Heavenly Father, he prayed silently, I fear that this money I have collected for Your work may be stolen. My life may even be in danger. Please protect me.
The horse stamped its feet and tossed its head. Pastor Jones opened his eyes and was surprised to see another man on horseback right beside him.
“I’m so happy you are here,” the preacher blurted in relief. “There’s a man with a sickle hiding behind that hedge, and I’m afraid he plans to harm me.”
The stranger on the white horse said nothing. Pastor Jones followed the horseman’s gaze and saw the man with the sickle running away across a field. Obviously the man had been frightened by the second horseman and had given up on his evil plan.
Feeling much more relaxed, Pastor Jones turned to his rescuer. “I should introduce myself,” he began. “I’m John Jones, a minister from Flintshire. What is your name?”
The horseman didn’t answer. Pastor Jones tried again as they rode along. “This certainly is a beautiful part of the country, isn’t it?”
Again the man said nothing. Maybe he doesn’t speak English, Pastor Jones thought. He tried a few sentences of Welsh, but the horseman still didn’t respond.
Pastor Jones was puzzled, but he kept trying to start a conversation as they approached the gate. “I don’t doubt for a moment that the Lord heard my prayer and sent you to deliver me!”
“Amen!” said the horseman. Then he fell silent again.
The preacher urged his horse forward and jumped down to open the gate. Passing through, he waited for the stranger to follow. He turned to see where the other rider was.
The man on the white horse was gone!
Pastor Jones looked around. The man had not gone back down the road, and the hedges on both sides were too high for a horse to jump. The horseman had simply vanished.
Maybe I just imagined him, Pastor Jones thought. No, that couldn’t be. If no one had been with me, the man with the sickle wouldn’t have been scared away.
A sense of awe crept over the preacher. “He must have been an angel sent from God to answer my prayer!”
Pastor Jones fell to his knees beside the road. “Thank You, Lord,” he prayed joyfully. “Truly You deliver the righteous out of their troubles.”
--Rachel Whitaker, associate editor, Guide
Adapted from “A Companion in Trouble,” The Hand That Intervenes
, pp. 21, 22. See also “the Man on the White Horse,” Guide
, May 14, 2005. For more fun from Guide
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