Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rescued by Angels

I like Angel stories, they inspire hope and faith. I have quite a few of them in my collection, and I’ve shared with you one of my personal experiences. But there are some stories that are truly awesome. I’ll share some of those topically with you once in a while; here are two on the topic of Angelic intervention in dire circumstances.

Debby was VERY pregnant. In fact she was past her due date by almost a week that summer afternoon in the late 1990s, but it did not stop her from going about her daily business. She always carried her cell phone just in case her water broke and she needed immediate help. She did not stop performing her duties as a medical transcriptionist either. In fact for her at this time it was a perfect job, she could stay at home and transcribe the tapes that she picked up every other day in the city. She was called by one of her regular physicians early that morning and asked if she could make an emergency stop by his office to transcribe the report of a patient whom he had just seen that needed expert advice from a professional out of town. It was late in the day and Debby usually took the main route to town, but she knew she would face rush hour traffic and did not think she could make it there on time. So she took a shortcut through the less traveled mountain roads of Western Pennsylvania hoping to cut almost an hour off her round trip time.

She was the lone car twisting and turning on the roads that cut through those aged mountains, and she was miles away from the nearest small town when she ran into trouble. She was navigating a sharp turn and didn’t see the road was wet from a brief afternoon shower and she lost control of the vehicle. She just hit the guardrail enough to throw her car into a spin and it flipped over the rail and rolled down the hillside almost 100 yards.

Luckily the impact of the fall was slightly buffered by the small fur trees that littered the hillside. But it also hid her car from view from the road above. She was not severely hurt but as she came to her senses the pain from her leg was intense. She could see the bone sticking out and the blood trickling out of her wound and although the car sat upright, she knew she was in no shape to make it back up the hillside. Not that there would be anyone to rescue her here out in the middle of nowhere as it was anyway.

But even though panicked, Debby was still in full control of her senses, and after tearing off a piece of her dress to fashion a makeshift tourniquet for her leg in order to slow the bleeding, she groped around the inside of the car for her purse which held her cell. She turned it on and dialed 911, hoping that there was a tower within range. Thank goodness there was and the operator came on the phone. Debby told her of her predicament and stated her injuries as best to her knowledge as well as the fact of her pregnancy.

But when the operator asked her where she was, she had no clue. She could not even remember what the name of the road she was on when the accident happened. This left a wide search area for the rescuers to comb, and Debby knew even with luck she would be stranded here for quite a while.

That was when the panic struck her.

Back in the early days of cellular phones there were no GPS location finders for cell phones like there are today. Many a 911 operator had the agonizing duty to stay on the line while accident victims in remote locations slowly died of their injuries. Debby had heard the stories too many times herself from her associates in the Hospital.

Fear overwhelmed her and she began to have a panic attack, for she was facing the possibility of dying alone in the woods with no one being able to find her. In her panic she tried to get out of the car and scale the hillside.

That was when her water broke.

In the overwhelming stress she just lay there next to the car and started to weep and scream. The minutes seemed to turn to hours as the pains of labor began to become so intense that they overshadowed that of her broken leg. She knew what she had to do, but all she could do is scream and cry. And pray.

It seemed as if she had been lying there for a good many hours as the pains began to come closer and closer together when she heard the rustling of the pine limbs around her. Wearily she picked herself up to look in the general direction of the noise.

Out of the thick green canopy came a middle aged man in a business suit carrying and old fashioned doctor’s bag. He quickly came to her side and began to ease her on her back. She does not remember exactly what he said but he spoke with a gentle voice of comfort that seemed to wash away the panic and fear from her. He gave her some water and began to prepare her for the childbirth. The memories of the moment were hurried and blurred but soon she remembers holding her perfect little son in her arms, safe and healthy.

The stranger broke off a limb from a nearby tree with amazing strength for an older gentleman and quickly fashioned a walking stick. He took the baby in one arm and propped Debby up with his left side as they slowly made their way up to the top of the hill. The pain was extreme but balancing her weight between the man and the stick helped her to not cause any more damage to her leg as they struggled onward.

It was evening by the time they made it to the road, and the man helped her sit on the guardrail and gave her back her newborn son. She sat there and looked into his peaceful face illuminated by the moonlight and was overcome with so much emotion she just began to weep uncontrollably.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t even ask your name.” She said wiping her eyes and as she looked over to where he was standing, no one was there. The man was nowhere to be seen. She was alone as far as she could see, and as soon as she realized that, the headlights of a truck immediately blazed across the turn in the road.

It was a Sheriff’s Vehicle.

She asked the Sheriff is he had seen her rescuer, but he gave her a puzzled look. “Nobody’s around here for miles. You’re just lucky; I came down this way on an odd hunch.”

For months after the accident she tried to find the identity of her rescuer, but no one came forward. The nearest home was many miles away. At the time of the accident when news of her peril spread in the community from the 911 operator, not only did people join in the search for her but people began to pray.

And you might try to convince her it was an odd coincidence, but Debby is sure that on that hot summer night in her hour of great need, God sent an Angel.

Angel with an old fashioned doctors bag.

The party at the cabin went well into the night, and a good time was had by all. Members of the Parker Family always looked forward to their semi- annual get together on the lake. Not only did they love to catch up with each other, they loved to slowly go to sleep while exchanging stories in front of the cabins large fireplace.

But a spark or two must have jumped out of the grand old stonework fireplace and the fire spread rapidly. They all awoke to the screaming of their Grandmother as she saw the curtains go up in flames. Before they could get everyone up on their feet, it had spread to the carpet and across the old crisp tinder walls. Panic overcame everyone as soon it seemed they were trapped in a giant whirlpool of fire. The backdoor was engulfed, and the front door was blocked by smoldering luggage.

It seemed there was no way out.

Some of the men attempted in vain to push the flaming luggage aside only to be badly burned. The fire would quickly take the old cabin and the entire family with it.

Just when they thought their fate was sealed, the front door smashed open. A mighty axe cut the door in two and a large fireman in full gear burst through the flaming door.

With a few mighty kicks the firefighter cleared the area of the doorway from the flaming debris and quickly yelled for everyone to get out the door.

None of them needed to be told twice.

The entire family made it out safe and sound onto the driveway, and with as much pain from emotional loss as physical they all watched with sadness and fear as the old family vacation house went up in a huge blaze, lighting the night sky for miles.

After a few minutes a fire truck came tearing down the old dirt road from town.

It was then that the members of the family noticed the heroic firefighter was not in their number as they sat on the gravel parking lot.

Some panicked as they feared that he did not make it out even though his efforts had assured the safety of the entire family. They huddled close as the fire took on a new dread.

But when they made reference to the hero to the rest of the firemen none of them knew what they were talking about. They were the only fire crew for miles around and the gear they described the man wearing was too expensive for their small town volunteer organization.

Who was it then that saved the Parker family from a certain fiery death?

Searching the ruins revealed no body. No one knew who the hero was.

But the many of the Parkers are sure that it was not a mere human firefighter that saved them that night.

A doctor. A firefighter.

Each coming at the most opportune time out of nowhere, only to vanish back into that self same ethereal void when their selfless work was done.

Angels can appear at any time and in any form.

Not all come to trumpet a revelation or vision of prophecy.

Some just come at the right time at the right place.

As the right person.

Until next time,

Pastor Swope


cryptidsrus said...

Those were great, Swope.

One small question---Did the 911 operator stay on the phone with Debby? I guess not.

I have a great "guardian angel" story too---from a book I once read. Unfortunately it's slightly too long for me to go into here.
But it, like the others, make one renew their faith in certainty of the Great Beyond. There are more things in heaven and earth...

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the insightful comment Cryptidsrus,

Debby's Grandmother told me the story years ago when I ministered in New Castle, Pa and I do not have in my notes that the operator stayed on or not, but I if I remember back then it was standard practice.

Never thought of that, would be great to track down the 911 operator if possible to lend additional validity to the story.

Then again, I have learned to always trust Polish Grandmothers!

Anonymous said...

Lovely and inspiring stories. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Richard said...

Angels, Pastor Swope?

They do seem to be an inscrutable and fickle lot, don't they?
For every angelic rescue, I imagine that there have been hundreds of cases of folk caught in equally dire straights who just...ummmm...you know...die horribly.

Counting on an angel to ride over the ridge line like a heavenly Lone Ranger and save one's tushi appears to make as much sense as believing one's freshly bought lottery ticket really will save one from wage/debt slavery.

But, as my Christian co-workers say ad nauseum, "Everything happens for a reason."

Of course, while that may be true, there are no guarantees that "the reason" is particularly sane and...ummm... reasonable, eh?

Have you ever read Ben Mack's Poker Without Cards, Pastor Swope?

He has a great quote on "Faith."

"It occurs to me that the primary agenda of the powers that be is to induce FAITH. Faith means you are obligated to not think stuff through - whatever they tell you not to think through. And, the thoughts they find really threatening, they label as insane. But, if you can't have real faith, at minimum, you are required to take the system seriously."

I suppose that that is my problem Pastor Swope. I'm completely incapable of taking any "system," whether it is politics or religion, very seriously.

"Faith," in my opinion, seems to be inextricably linked with the label "sucker."


Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Richard,

I understand your point of view. I can relate to your cynicism. As one who has had personal encounters with Angels during disastrous times, I have likewise been beset by devastating tragedy on numerous occasions without such intervention.Why does God let bad things happen? Is there a reason for it? Can't see it in the midst of the chaos and I do question God at times. And sometimes (not all the time) I have seen the benefit of going through the tough times of life in hindsight, even though the pain of loss was almost overwhelming at the time.

Questioning your faith adds depth to your soul and expands your world view.

Faith without reason is like driving a car without brakes. It may be fast and furiously, but something's eventually going to get smashed around a bit.

I am sorry you cannot appreciate faith, someone must have hurt you or taken advantage of you in a deeply personal way. I too can relate to that.

God still believes in you, even though you do not believe in Him.

Wesley said...

Hey Richard,

I think it would be unfair to say Christians "count" on Angels in the same way I "count" on the fie department to put out a fire. Christians have Faith in God first, who send his angels for specific purposes. Even guardian angels are under the command of God. So we trust in God to do what is best and they may include sending an angel, or maybe not. It's not that they are "fickle", but that they serve higher purposes then we usually understand.

Also, there are probably more angel encounters then people realize. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." (Heb 13:2)

Great angel stories, I enjoyed reading them :)

Sam said...

I dont follow any particuar faith, but in my opinion God does have a plan and he wouldnt test us if he knew we wouldnt be able to handle it.
But then theres those who just need a little nod in the right direction. We all need someone to tell us that "everything is going to be ok" during our darkest times and I guess thats where these stories tend to fit in more.

Anonymous said...

I like these type of stories. I beleive there are interventions everyday msot are jsut not recognized at the time and are not as dramatic as these. Two things that come to mind in my families past.
1. My mother was driving in the car with my sister and I on snow covered back county roads and slid off onto a ditch. No matter what she did nothing was working and she was stuck fast. Traffic on these roads was extemely light even under good conditions back in the early 60's. She was praying softly as she tried to move forward and backward when suddenly the car moved forward roght back onto the highway. She gave a silent thanks and started for home noticing as she did so that the emergency brake was on when she disengaged. Many years later she was watching something on TV where they were giving hints about driving in bad weather and one of the hints was to use the parking/emergency brake if stuck in snow or ice. Fro my mother it was confirmation her prayer had been answered.

2. While I was in the NAvy my younger sister was going through her teens and often was out partying and hanging out where she probably should not have. One night her and two friends (a boy and a girl) were at one of the local lakes and ran into two guys they knew from school. The encounter went bad and tensions escalated. One of the boys was fighting with the boy from my sister's group. In the mean time the other boy had grabbed my sister by the throat was shoving her toward the ground and had raised a metal flashlight to strike her with. She said all she could think of was that she was about to die seeing the murder in his eyes. Suddenly a man appeared from the bushes and trees Proceeded to beat the living tar out of both boys to the point where they were just laying on the ground whimpering then walked back into the bushes he came from. The spot on the lake was used by people for camping but was not a publically funded area. She said there were no camps anywhere and the guy never said a word. They got in the car and left before the other two boys could revive. Mom was sure this was an angelic intervention as well. Who knows?