Friday, July 25, 2014
“There is no such thing as coincidence, but sometimes an angel intervenes on your behalf making people who don’t believe in angels believe in coincidence.” — Charles Wiggins (who should know)
God, through prayer, will protect us from many things, but not our own stupidity--I have often said. I know because I have done many stupid things that have forced God to use angels on my behalf. I’m quite sure that the day I sold my motorcycle, I freed up at least three dozen angels to help others. Writing about the Amazon river yesterday caused me to remember one of my stupid acts that I am sure brought about angelic intervention. On my first trip to the Peruvian Amazon, I was training pastors in Iquitos, Peru, deep in the Amazon rainforest. We were due to fly home on a Sunday, so the Saturday before, I hired a guide to take me up the Amazon to where the two rivers that form it meet. It wasn’t more than a half a mile wide at that point, and, being stupid and foolhardy, I decided to swim across it just to be able to say that I had done it. After all, how many people do you know that have swum across the Amazon? Well, if you know me, you know at least one. I did indeed swim shore to shore and impressed my guide. The problems didn’t start until the next day as we were flying home. My legs began to itch and burn, and, when I pulled up my pants to look, my legs were covered with hundreds of little red dots that were stinging. I had to accept this discomfort until we got back home Sunday night. Monday morning, at 6:30 A.M., I was waiting outside my doctor’s office having called him the night before. This was the point of angelic intervention. The doctor took one look at my legs and called someone in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to arrange for medicine to be flown to Arkansas to treat me. The medicine arrived late that night. Tuesday, I began using the medicine and was fine by Wednesday, but it was a very close call. When I was in the river, I was attacked by parasites which cause schistosomiasis. Look up that word in Google and Google Images and you will see that it is not a nice thing and untreated is very, very bad. These parasites come from fresh water snails mostly in developing countries in South America and Africa. The angel here was the doctor who had just returned from a month-long medical mission trip to the Amazon where he had treated so many children for this problem that he had used up all his medicine, but he knew exactly what it was and how to treat it. I could have gone to many other doctors who would not have known what it was until it was too late. Coincidence? I will never be convinced that it was not God using an angel to treat my stupidity. When my heart stopped on February 16, 1996, the emergency room doctor pronounced me dead and wrote it down, but an off-duty ICU nurse was passing by and insisted on trying to save me—and she did. When I went back to that hospital a month later with a new implanted defibrillator in my chest, that nurse was gone. She had only been a temp, and no one remembered her name except that it was a hippie name like Sky, or Breeze. When I contacted the temp agency that sent her, I was told that she had gone back to California and taken all her files with her, so they had no way for me to contact her. Of course, I couldn’t contact her—angels don’t have email addresses or any other kind for that matter. See, I am convinced that angels exist and that they interact with us to save some of us who have work that needs to be done. Without that doctor and that nurse, I would never have come to Africa. I would never have been feeding and educating orphans such that I am hurting because of the loss of even one. If I wrote of every instance where angels helped save me, this blog post would be book length. Admit it, you, too, have been helped by angels that you have called coincidence. In my case, it has not been a reward, it has been so that I would continue to work for the expansion of the Kingdom. I don’t mind. This is what makes me special, at least in the eyes of God, and that’s good enough for me to suffer whatever I might have to suffer to answer an unmistakeable call.