grace – Free and undeserved favor, especially of God. Unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification. The Grace of God promises everything for nothing for those who deserve the exact opposite.
Psalm 91:10-12 10 KJV There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
“The following is a testimony to God’s divine assistance in our life. We feel true stories such as these qualify us to share the joyous Good News of God’s amazing Grace with anyone and everyone that God brings into our life.”_Ellen Lebsock
It was very cold and fading light was giving way to evening on a late October afternoon. I was watching my husband and a friend run their radio control power boats on the pond a few blocks from our home. Back then we enjoyed a rather normal, “middle American” lifestyle. We talked about God being a part of our life, attended church fairly regularly, and met with a Bible study group once a week to learn scripture and discuss living a Christian Life. I guess you could label us “average” Christians.
On this bleak, winter afternoon, God lifted us out of the ordinary into the realm of people who know Him by experience. This was the “maiden voyage” of the miniature radio control hydroplane my husband had just finished crafting. It had a very special paint job, done by the younger of our sons. During the previous weekend he had laboriously covered it with intricate paintings of Darth Vader, Star Fighters and Ty Fighters, in keeping with the present “Star Wars” craze sweeping the country. The job had been a labor of love and growing close for both of them.
With darkness approaching and the cold starting to seep through our jackets, we agreed to get in just one more run before heading for home.
Out across the pond the little black boat flew, farther and farther away from us, until it was only a tiny speck on the far shore. Then suddenly, it sputtered, coughed, and died in the water! It came to rest near the opposite bank, a couple city blocks or the length of a football field away. Now any avid hobbyist will tell you that you don’t go home and leave a brand new, extra special, boat dead in the water to float to shore… maybe to pick it up in the morning… oh no!
So… around the pond to the south end, a hundred yards or more from where his friend and I are watching, goes the captain of the boat. We watched as he waded into the icy water after his boat… jeans, jacket, tennis shoes and all. We watched as he waded out until the water was lapping around his knees, and with every step the boat appeared to be moving farther and farther away from him. Then, without warning, we watched him disappear under the water. He had stepped off into a channel made by the stream that fed the pond. He was in over his head in a heartbeat! And all we could do was watch! We stood helplessly on the opposite bank and I screamed at his friend to help him. Neither of us could swim! O God, help!! We watched him struggle to the surface of the water a second time! He was drowning out there! Neither of us could do anything about it! O GOD, HELP!!
I mentioned it was October, cold and approaching dark. Also, the pond was surrounded with an exceptionally nasty variety of burrs we Westerners affectionately call bull heads or Texas tacks. This charming weed produces a burr with a hard, very sharp thorn that is capable of flattening a bicycle tire with a single poke. Thick soled tennis shoes are barely adequate protection from these painful thorns.
Miraculously, in the midst of our panic, we watched a young man (maybe 16 or 18 at a guess) barefooted, dressed only in cutoff blue jeans run into the water at the east end of the pond and swim to where Dick was struggling to the surface for the third and perhaps final time. It takes longer to write about it than it took to happen. Swimming lifeguard style, the boy brought my darling husband to the shore were we were standing. Tears streaming down my face, I begged Dick to be all right. Are you OK? Are you SURE you’re OK? “Yes! Yes, I’m fine!” he assured me. Then we all turned at once to thank the boy and ask if he was OK, too. I remember thinking there was a warm blanket in the trunk of the car, and that he too must be freezing dressed, or undressed, as he was. I turned to ask if we could take him home. But he was gone! There was no one running away across the flat park area. There was no one riding away on a bicycle and there were no cars in sight.
HE WAS GONE!!!
In the years since then we have often looked back and thought… any one of us – given the ability to swim – would save a life if we could. And I suppose there are those who would count what we experienced as a coincidence. Perhaps we would too, except for one small detail. In the crisis, we’d forgotten all about the boat. It had been easily 20 or 30 feet in front of Dick when he stepped into deep water and went under. As we turned and started for the car – there at Dick’s feet was his boat! As I said any one of us would probably save a life if we could – but only GOD would give you back your life and your toy!