Psalm 91 in the Midst of the Fray: Verses 11-12, and Share Your Story

Phyllis Nissila

For the complete booklet of Psalm 91 devotionals, click here.

angel“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone…”

I rarely, if ever, suspect the presence of angels.

This is one of those times.

The Incident

We had not heard from my sister (who lives in another state) for two days.

We were very concerned.

Because of an alleged breach in security at her high-risk workplace (court case pending) she had recently suffered a life-threatening assault. Her 250-pound assailant (my sister is petite) broke her hand in the scuffle, but the crime also caused significant post-trauma stress resulting in panic attacks and nightmares. She was on medical leave and under medical care at the time of the event detailed below.

During her ongoing trauma recovery, my other sisters and I talked with her daily on the phone.  Sometimes more than once per day. “Call at will, 24/7” was and is our mantra.

So when she had not responded to our voice messages for two days nor to her husband’s calls (he was working in another part of their state) we were concerned.

When she finally contacted me, her voice was shrill.

“Oh my God! I just spent the night in jail,” she sobbed. “They said I was drunk but I wasn’t. I kept telling them something happened in my brain. I don’t remember what happened; I don’t know what happened,” she repeated, over and over, “and they put me in jail. But I wasn’t drunk…”

What?! My sister? Jail?…

Her words jumbled together but I learned her husband was with her and she was in a hospital. He later clarified what had happened and what was happening. She had been jailed as a result of reckless driving the police assumed was caused by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

She was asked to prepare a summary of what she recalls of the incident for her upcoming court hearing. It reads as follows.

Incident Report

I don’t remember losing consciousness, but I remember regaining consciousness while driving.  On regaining awareness, I looked at the speedometer; it registered 84 mph. I looked out at the road and realized somehow I came to be on the wrong side of South ___. Though I could see and hear again, the right side of my body was paralyzed, completely without feeling, dead.  I could not move my foot as it was jammed on the accelerator.  I tried to heave my paralyzed right foot off of the accelerator and then I went blind again, losing all vision, just hearing the wind and engine noise. Then I lost consciousness again. As far as I could tell, this whole sequence of events was a few seconds long.

My next experience was coming to consciousness and asking a police officer to administer a breathalyzer test. I was very disorganized and confused; I did not know what time of day it was or why I was where I was. I did not understand what the officer was saying to me. Her speech was garbled to my hearing and I was desperately trying to understand her directions. Then I remember going black again.

While in jail I briefly remember “coming to” again trying to figure out how to use the public phone to call my husband.  I was not able to understand the mechanism and began to black out again.  I remember lying down on something hard, either a bench or the floor. I do not remember getting out or going home the next morning. Apparently I called my husband and he came to my house in _____ and transported me to a hospital where I was admitted to a locked psychiatric unit and stayed for ten days due to acute suicidality.  I have no memory of my admission for the first 2 days of my stay and very spotty recollections if the first five days or so of my whole experience.  

The Presence of Angels

The judge will review her summary, the police report, and the 911 call log that reveals multiple reports of a driver careening at a high rate of speed in and out of the wrong lane of the 55 mile-per-hour two-lane highway ribboned with numerous S-curves. That driver, my sister, narrowly missed multiple head-on collisions.

The judge will review the toxicology report revealing no drug or alcohol influence.

And an MRI is also scheduled to help determine what happened in her brain during those crucial minutes: seizure? Stroke? “Dissociative Fugue” [1] episode related to the workplace assault (she had just been to her workplace to collect her paycheck)?

Her legal team is confident.


It is rare when I suspect the presence of angels.

This is one of those times.

Clear to all, my sister should not have survived–nor should the passengers in any one of the multiple cars she “narrowly missed” on that treacherous highway have survived.


Share your own story, if you have one, of a time you suspect the presence of angels.


[1] “Dissociative Fugue” also known as “Psychogenic Fugue”:

Image from the public domain.

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4 Responses to Psalm 91 in the Midst of the Fray: Verses 11-12, and Share Your Story

  1. Cathy says:

    Well it’s hard to “Top ” that story!
    ALl I can say, was in1990, living in Atlanta, I went with my friend and Her toddler boy, with my toddler girl, to the Mall. Our plans were to eat, at the Food Court at Chick Fil-A, in an hour.
    Suddenly, she called me, saying she was going to be late, she had to pick up her husband’s Dry Cleaning. A Miracle!!!
    We arrived at the back entrance, of a Department Store, and put the kids in their Strollers. My the Store seemed EMPTY, and when, we walked into the main mall….Wow!
    Security came rushing to us, saying “How did you get in? We looked over the balcony, and Blood was everywhere!

    We just missed, the Mall Shooting!
    Most the Victims and Deaths occurred at Chic-Fil-A!

    We missed it by 20 minutes, because my friend was LATE!!!


    • pnissila says:

      Yes, clearly, there was a “reason” you weren’t there.

      I think we need to be reminded and encouraged that God is still in the business of Divine intervention. The days are bound to get darker, but He remains our beacon of hope and help, as it were.

      Thanks for sharing!


  2. Barb de Dios says:

    Well, your untechnological sister finally figured out how to leave a comment. Our sister also called me on that day after getting out of jail, said she was on a bus and her tone of voice immediately had me concerned. She started with, “Can I tell you how my day went?”, and proceeded to outline sketchily what had happened. When I asked questions to clarify things, I got very stilted, extremely repetitive, high-pitched (but then sometimes slurred), responses. If there was a lull in our conversation, she would start with, “Can I tell you how my day went?”. When I told her a couple months later that she had called me, she said she had no memory of it. What do you do when you get such a call from a thousand miles away? You call your brother-in-law, he gives you the details. You call your sisters and you all pray… daily! Sometimes it’s as fundamental as pulling rank on her and helping her turn a ‘down’ day into an ‘up’ day. Big sisters have their little sister’s best interests at heart.
    Oh, and Phyllis? Please excuse the grammatical, punctuatory (I made that word up… hehehe), and other problems that your writer’s mind is editing at this very second regarding what I have written here. Remember, I lost when I submitted to Bullwer Litton’s writing contest. Love you!


    • pnissila says:


      I won’t bother with the writing small-stuff as long as you don’t critique my photography (readers: this is the Barb who contributes header photos from time to time) and my art and my attempts at every-other-craft-you-do-with-amazing-expertise and skill ;). Anyway, I do my share of editing and updating on my own posts.

      I love you, too, and all of my incredibly amazing sisters, and several brothers, too!

      And as you know, there are many more such incredible stories of survival amid daunting odds in our collective history.

      I’ve only just begun.



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