My family were attending a High School football game, and were sitting high up in the bleachers. My little sister Denise–a skinny little thing–was seven years old. When the home team scored a touchdown everyone stood up and cheered. She did too, and as she did, she slipped through the narrow gap between the seat of the bleacher and the footrest. My mother saw her go, and watched helplessly as her daughter fell nearly 100 feet to the ground below.
Furthermore, she watched, almost in slow motion, as my sister’s small body was headed for the large concrete footer for the beams that held up the bleachers. Then at the last moment–just before her head hit the concrete–my mother said it was as if someone simply shoved the little girl sideways, and my sister landed, unharmed, on the soft grass next to the footer.
Some people ask why God doesn’t stop all bad things from happening. Maybe in any given day the guardian angels prevent countless bad things from happening. Think of all the plane crashes, car accidents, dangerous falls and terrible crimes that are prevented, but we’ll never know here and now what they are because, of course, they never happened.
That same little sister grew up, earned her PhD, became a published author with three books under her belt, married and had two kids. Then in her early fifties was struck down with a horrible, incurable cancer. She went through all the painful, humiliating treatment, but there was nothing more they could do.
“Where was her guardian angel then?” you might well ask.
That’s a fair question, but the whole story is always more than meets the eye.
Denise went through her treatment with great courage and inspired many by her dignified and certain faith in the goodness of the Lord. On Thursday of Holy Week that year she went to the airport to pick up our mother and older sister Donna who were there to be with her. Even though Denise was Anglican she had plans to go to Lourdes with Donna during Easter week, saying, “I have learned to love Mother Mary.” She had very little pain that week, and on Saturday she was up and about cooking a meal for a houseful of guests. That evening she went to bed early not feeling well and late that night she received the anointing and died peacefully on Easter Day.
Just before she died she saw her loved ones around her bed weeping and she said, “Don’t cry. Sing Easter songs.”
Where was her guardian angel?
Right there by her bedside, watching over her as always, and gently leading her home.
Amazing!. Your point is well made. If we do not allow for the possibilty of miracles, we fail to identify them. I can’t imagine the horror your poor mother must have went through in those few moment, but what a miracle!
I recall something similar that happened to a friend and me. There was a car driving beside us on the inside lane of a 4 lane road. All of a sudden a car backed out of a driveway about 1/3 of the way into our lane. Somehow we passed between the 2 cars. My friend immediately looked behind us and exclaimed “How did that happen!”. I had no answer but immediately thanked our Guardian Angels.
We’ll also never know here and now why it doesn’t happen in every case—which makes me wonder if “why doesn’t God prevent all bad things from happening” is even a useful question to be asking (although it’s certainly a very natural one).What question we ask makes a tremendous difference to the way we understand a given piece of information. Take Mother Teresa’s darkness. To Christopher Hitchens, this is clear evidence that God does not exist, because he’s interested in pushing God to prove or disprove his existence. But Mother Teresa wasn’t interested in that question at all; her questioning ran much more along the lines of understanding that darkness in terms of the God she already knew. So she was able to reach understandings (e.g., how the darkness could even be a part of her crown) that are simply unavailable to Hitchens, because he’s just not asking the questions that would lead there.Peace,–Peter
In grade school, I should have been knocked unconcious at a minimum, as I was running and flipped off the stage and landed on the gymnasium floor. Instead, I landed “perfectly” on my butt and shoulders. No damage other than embarrassment and a thorough chewing out by the gym teacher.
preach it, brother.
When we were in high school, my brother and I were driving to visit my father in the rain on a very wet interstate highway. Suddenly, the car in front of us slammed on its brakes.When I hit the brakes, our car skidded sideways and then backwards toward the guardrail on the bridge we were crossing. We were travelling at the speed limit, but the car suddenly and unexplainedly stopped no more than a foot away from the guardrail (and the side of the bridge that crossed a river swollen from all the rain).I was not Catholic at the time, but I immediately knew that our guardian angel or angels had intervened to save us from a disastrous accident.
There was one time when I was driving down the road with a friend of mine when suddenly the brakes in our car gave out. worse yet the car was approaching an intersection that had a red light. By God’s grace, (for I have no better explanation for such perfect timing) the light changed to green just as we were about to cross the street. I was able to pull over to the side of the road and wait for the tow truck to come and rescue my vehicle. better yet when the tow truck came because I was less than 5 miles from home the tow did not cost a thing. and in fiding the problem with my car the repair did not cost me anything as well. To this day me and my friend joke about it whenever we cross that intersection but you had better beleive I am thankful to God and my guardian angel for their watchful care.
Father, your last few posts are just awesome (to use an overused, perhaps trite but still irreplaceable word when describing God’s provenance!). I just LOVE it when you “get personal” and a little off the strictly cerebral plane… for two reasons: because of the great wisdom of your heart as well as your head, and because it fosters such wonderfully intelligent responses as “phbrown” gave to this post! Blessings and many prayers for you and your ministry as always, Jenny (who still is so technologically challenged that she cannot figure out how to post as anything other than “anonymous”)
I read this post yesterday morning, and at 7pm last night had a very painful “slip and fall” accident at a store…at first I was leaning toward thinking my Guardian Angels had taken the day off or fallen asleep at the wheel, when I realized how much worse it could have been, and how many people came to my aid, and how quickly I am already healing…