Psalm 34:19 (ESV)
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Eight-year-old Barry Engleberg knew he was lucky growing up near the beach. He could swim whenever he wanted, and each night he would walk out onto the sand, and watch the sunset. He loved the beautiful colors, and the sense of peace it brought to him.
One afternoon Barry sat on the sand, watching the ocean. "Usually there were waves crashing, and a lot of movement in the water," he says. But today it was as calm as a lake. The whole area was deserted. The perfect time for a swim!
Barry had just waded into the surf when he realized that the quiet ocean had deceived him. He felt a powerful undertow that tossed him off his feet. Immediately, he slipped under the surface, and felt himself being carried away from the shore. "I struggled to reach the top, but I was immediately pulled under again," he recalls. He fought the current, but it was too strong. As he went under the surface for the third time, he stopped struggling, and started drifting toward the bottom of the ocean. A tremendous peace came over him. Was this..dying?
No! Suddenly Barry felt his wrist being grasped. A hand from somewhere above was pulling him up, up against the water.. Barry broke through the surface and realized he was being hauled onto a surfboard. "Lie still," a man's voice instructed him. "You'll be fine."
Exhausted, frightened and relieved all at the same time, Barry obeyed. When they reached the shallows, his rescuer paddled in, picked Barry up, carried him onto the sand and set him down. Within seconds, he was gone, probably paddling back out. Barry hadn't even seen his face, or had time to thank him.
Barry lay on the shore for several moments, catching his breath and calming himself. Then, slowly, he sat up. He had been very lucky, he thought, that a surfer had been in the water, at the exact location where he had gone under. But..Barry looked at the ocean. It was just as before, so calm and placid that barely a ripple stirred. Why then, would a surfer be out in it? He looked up and down the shore. He was still the only one there. Why would his rescuer leave him alone, without making sure he was going to survive? That is, unless the rescuer had no doubt. Barry thought again of the way his wrist has been grasped. "There was no groping around trying to find it," he says. "It was a very focused and exact grab, even though I was quite deep." How could the surfer have known exactly where to find him?
"This experience went into the back of my mind as a child, since I couldn't make any sense out of it," Barry says. "It was brought back to my consciousness after I knew the Lord, and He showed me this and some other experiences where His angels came to my rescue." So often our angels work in secret. We should thank God for all the unseen things He does for us.
Dear Lord, we thank You that You always have Your eyes on us and are there to rescue us. Help us to be thankful for the way You protect us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.