Ever notice how an innocent young child automatically believes in God and Jesus? Some will even tell of Jesus’ presence when they have been in grave physical danger or sickness. Children reflect the innocence of their heart and mind that has not yet been influenced by man or Satan. Our natural state is to believe God exists and accept Him as a natural part of life. One has to learn to disbelieve in Him. The heart has to become tainted just as Eve’s did when she listened to what Satan said over that which God had said. The result being that Eve began to doubt what God said and His intentions toward her and Adam. Little children don’t have this doubt, but instead they have complete trust. Jesus said;
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 18:3
The Bible teaches us that from the time we are conceived in the womb God knows which of us will one day be born of the Holy Spirit and become a new creature in Christ and while He allows us space and time to come to Him freely, He also watches over us and protects us as though we were His already. However He does allow us to learn many things the hard and painful way which makes us all the more thankful when we do surrender to His will for us. The Bible also teaches that the unsaved are also benefited by God and His mercy and compassion. There are many instances throughout the rocky times of my childhood and into my unsaved adult life when God and His angels were there to protect and give me subtle guidance. Most of those times were hidden from my knowledge until I became born again and came to know and understand God and His great love. I would like to share just two of those times when He was there for me in a life saving way.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. ~ Matthew 5:45
When I was two years old I fell from a second story apartment on to a dirt parking lot between two huge boulders. I suffered four fractures in my skull and was in the hospital for several days. Even now I have black and white mental pictures of laying across my mothers lap and what I later learned was the ride to the hospital. It was 1954 and I can see the sandals she wore on her feet, the checkered dress with the full skirt, and the arm rest of the car door. Years later when I described the scene they were astonished that I could recall the moment. I was told that I had vomited and passed out. I don’t recall the conversation but while still in the hospital I told my parents that Jesus had helped me and to this day I believe He did. Sometime after I was out of the hospital they took me to be prayed for and even though I was only two years old I remember the single light bulb that hung from the ceiling in the little country church house and can hear the preacher and feel his hands on my head beseeching the Lord to heal me.
Many years later as a young adult and while visiting out of state, I was caught in an undertow in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast of the United States. Even though I was a young man living in sin, the Lord sent an angel to pull me out of what was almost a watery grave. My physical strength had been used up trying to escape the strong force that kept pulling me downward and I was without hope, could not get my head out of the water, but surprisingly my hearing became magnified. Suddenly I could hear the children playing in the edge of the water and on the beach while fifteen or twenty feet away I hung trapped between the surface and the bottom in the waters grip while time seemed to slow to a crawl. It was then that I felt a deep calm come over me as I began to conclude that this was to be how I would die. I had no fear and no anxiety only thinking that I would spoil the holiday for the others when they learned of my drowning. As these thoughts coursed through my mind, my oxygen starved lungs felt as though they were on fire. Knowing my strength was gone, I made one last effort to free myself as a wave came in which hoisted me skyward. The crown of my head broke the surface but I was unable to get any part of my face out of the water to breathe. As I tried to lunge forward my hands came up out of the water and to this day I can still feel the strong and hot hand that wrapped around my right wrist.
In my minds eye, I can still see a very tall figure of a man with swimming trunks the color of his bronze skin as he hauled me out of the water, helping me toward the beach. I do not remember any facial features or details of any kind except that all I saw was the form of a bronze man. On wobbly legs I staggered toward the beach as I coughed and sputtered gasping for air. When he asked if I were alright I nodded and waved him away being somewhat embarrassed about the situation. The air mattress I had previously been lounging on now bobbed at the waters edge and I fell down exhausted and suddenly shaken with the reality of how close death had come.
For three days friends and I looked up and down the beach to thank this mystery man. We described him to people, knocked on doors and yet no one had seen him, no one knew him. To this day I firmly believe it was an angel of God that rescued me, and even though I was not a Christian at that time, I did believe in God, but had never surrendered my heart and life to Him. God knew that I would one day repent submitting my life and become a witness for Him in the future. In the meantime, like so many before me I paid God lip service and kept on living life on my terms, not His. Even though I believed in God and Jesus I did not take His Word seriously enough to make any changes in my life even after what He had done for me. It took several more years of pricking at my heart and conscience for me to finally surrender and be blessed as I never expected.
There are countless other events that could be told where God's protection later became evident to me once I had eyes to see. He does not love me any more than He loves anyone else because God is no respecter of persons as Peter tells us in Acts 10:34. Even in our sin He cares for us but that same sin separates us from having a close and personal relationship with Him both now and in eternity.
I know firsthand that life can be hard to comprehend or understand without a saving faith in God. Surely the world is not only more difficult, but it is a colder place for those who do not even believe in His existence. Life can be tangled, stressful, complicated, and many times the slightest bump in the road seems to be a looming mountain. Life in this fallen world can be, and usually is just plain hard without Jesus in our life. When Jesus is our Lord He walks beside us and He opens our eyes to see the miracles and the help that happens everyday all around us, even in the lives of the unsaved as I once was. The Bible tells us that the blessings of God fall to the just and the unjust alike, but even so, some will be condemned and some will be rewarded in the final day. Friends, no matter the depth of our unbelief, sin, and rebellion, God still holds out His hand of protection and help awaiting our repentance. No matter how hopeless your situation and your life may seem, there is hope in Jesus, even a joy you can not imagine. To truly repent, to truly confess, is to truly be born again with a new heart and mind. Don't give up, don't listen to the devils mouthpieces, just seek Jesus, repent before Him and obey Him as the Lord of the rest of your life. I promise, you will wish you had done so years ago.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. ~ 2 Peter 3:9
Bless you in Christ Jesus, ~ JimO