Late one evening, sometime around 1988, the house was quiet. My 8 and 10 year old daughters were fast asleep in their bedroom. My husband was gone, and I decided to read a bit before sliding down under the covers to sleep. I was into the book when something in my peripheral vision caught my attention, at about my right shoulder. I looked up and didn't see anything out of order. The flowered drape hung motionless over the window beside me.

I went back to my book and after finding my place, continued to read. It wasn't long until it happened again! What was going on? I knew something moved that drape. I slowly pulled the panel away from the wall, and what a shock to see that just inches from my shoulder, a mouse had climbed up the inside, its claws secure in the rubber backing!

I don't know which of us jumped first... all I remember is that I was in the middle of the floor in an instant, and the mouse had disappeared. "Oh, this is just great," I thought. "Where are you, you nasty little thing? Dear Lord, let me find him or I will never sleep tonight!" I threw back the covers to see if he had jumped into my bed as I had jumped out, but he wasn't there. Where did he go? "Oh Lord, you KNOW how I hate mice... please help me find him," was my silent prayer. I carefully moved each drape but couldn't see a thing.

My married daughter had made me a wooden, heart-shaped napkin holder, and had painted delicate flowers on the front. I had never used it for napkins but rather kept it in my bedroom with all the other treasures my girls had made through the years. For some reason, I had set it behind the sheers on the window sill between the drapes. As I pulled back the curtain to check the corners of the sill, I happened to look down and there he was... quietly hiding inside the napkin holder! He felt safe since he was snuggly wedged in between the tall sides of the holder. He was just sitting there 'as quiet as a mouse'!

It didn't occur to him to look up, or he would have seen me looking down at him. I prayed, "Oh Lord, keep him there until I get back..." as I darted for the kitchen to find... SOMETHING.

"What to do? I can't hit him... I can't shoot him, and I sure don't want to stab him," I thought, as I scanned the kitchen for some kind of weapon. Just then, my eyes landed on an empty pickle jar, lying on top of the trash in the wastebasket. It had a tiny bit of pickle juice in it, but I didn't want to take the time to rinse it out. "Sure hope this works!"

I gently unscrewed the lid as I tip-toed back to the bedroom. "Oh please let him be there..." He was. "Oh, thank you for waiting." My plan was to place the mouth of the jar at his head, and hold the lid behind him, so he would have no choice but to run into the jar... and it worked! "Gotcha!" I exclaimed as I tightened down the lid, and tossed it in the trash. No blood was spilled, he didn't get away, and I could get a good night's sleep.

The next morning, I teased the girls as I produced the jar with the suffocated mouse inside, telling them it was a new breakfast treat... pickled mouse! After the surprised looks and the groans at my bad joke, and recounting my adventure of the Great Mouse-Capade, the youngest said "But Mom, he's dead! You forgot to punch holes in the lid so he could breathe!"

Kids! They are priceless!!!

I think that everybody has at least one unexpected encounter in life. Certainly, many Bible characters did. Some encountered angels, such as Gideon... some had frightening encounters, as Jonah, when swallowed by the great fish... and one of the most significant encounters was when the Apostle Paul met the risen Lord, on the road to Damascus.

Had Paul not met Jesus, we non-Jews would not have been given the Gospel, and certainly not the opportunity to know Jesus as our personal Savior. We would have been lost for eternity without any chance of making Heaven our final home. Jesus came as a Jew, to the Jews, and fulfilled all the Jewish laws. But Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah, the Son of God. Because "He came unto His own and they received Him not," God turned to the Gentiles to gather a Bride for His Son. Paul called us Saints, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, and Sons of God. The Bible also calls those who accepted Christ, The Church. (God will again turn back to the Jews toward the end of this age, and they will finally receive Jesus as their Messiah.)

Just as that little mouse thought he was safe inside that napkin holder, we have been lulled into a false sense of security by our success in life, good health, good jobs, and especially because we live in America. Many have believed the lie that there is no God, or that by going to church, or being a good person, we are saved. We are sure we will go to Heaven, if there really is one.

We thought that we were safe in this country, because we were inside our comfort zone. Then we were attacked... America didn't see it coming... and we no longer felt secure. Some went scurrying, like scared little mice; some thought it was the beginning of the end; but some looked up into the face of God... and recognized that we are at His mercy... and that He is full of mercy. Instead of scooping us up into a pickle jar and leaving us to die, Jesus takes us up in His strong and loving arms, and welcomes us home.

I had my unexpected encounter with Christ when I was a child. I didn't know why I felt compelled to walk down the aisle to that altar, I just knew I had to go. I had such a heaviness of heart after listening to the preacher's message, and I had to go get free. (It was the conviction of the Holy Spirit.) I was born in sin like all mankind, and I knew that only God could make me clean. Somehow, Jesus made me to understand all that. I was surprised at how hard I cried when I knelt to pray... and how light hearted and new I felt when I got up.

Have you had an unexpected encounter with Jesus? Do you know that you have been bought with His very own blood? Do you know that you don't have live with guilt, shame or fear? Do you know that you can be truly secure, not just THINK you are? Do you realize that the face above you is full of love and compassion for you, and desires to rescue you; not toss you away?

It is so easy to get rescued... saved. Just believe that Jesus is the only Son of God; He died in your place, taking all your sins upon Himself and suffered for us all. Bow your heart before Him and tell Him all that... tell Him everything you've done and ask His forgiveness. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and life and help you to live for Him and for Him to live through you. Just accept and surrender yourself to Christ. I promise that you'll never regret it.

Amazing things will begin to happen when you do, and it will be the most wonderful encounter you'll ever have! When this life is over, you will live forever with Jesus Christ and be part of His Bride throughout eternity!

If you've prayed that prayer, please contact me. God bless you, dear one, and welcome to the Family of God!

Rev. C. L. Moser -- 5/6/03