August 11, 1992
Remember the first time you tried backing up a trailer? Remember how it twists every direction but the way you want it to go? So no wonder my biggest fear during last month’s camping trip was parking our large tent trailer in a heavily-treed site that does not have a pull-through approach. My husband always does the engineering in our family. I had no experience with that rig and my confidence level was zilch.
But I was willing to try; my daughter and her two girls were depending on me. So we registered at the camping centre and found our site. I pulled past the narrow, tree-lined opening, put the van in reverse and turned the wheel in what I hoped was the right direction.
Suddenly a stranger appeared at my window. “Would you like me to do that for you?” Without hesitation, I jumped out and watched him park our holiday vehicle. We said thank you and he was gone. We giggled for hours about this “angel.”
The next day, Karen struggled with a small propane barbecue. Neither of us could get it burning. Suddenly another stranger appeared, “Would you like me to do that for you?” He lit it, then was gone. Just like the other man, he appeared out of nowhere and disappeared the same way. We never saw either of them again.
Later on we talked about these strangers who answered our prayers for a safe and enjoyable camping trip. Were they really angels? And we wondered if they also intervened in some unknown way so we did not encounter the bear and her cub that reportedly were in the campsite. Maybe they protected us from other hidden and unknown dangers as well.
Even if our speculations had no foundation, we are sure that the big thing I feared the most (parking that rig) and the little annoyance that Karen struggled with were neither too big or too small for the loving notice of our God. He cares, and whatever and however He managed it, two people were in the right place at the right time to help us. Thank you, Lord.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is God’s promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Even though there have been times when I have felt deserted and alone without a friend, or just plain lonely in a crowd, God has continually reminded me that He is with me. Sometimes He causes a subtle sense of His presence, sometimes a spectacular emotional awareness, but His promise does not include either. Nor does He say He will always supply handy helpers when we struggle or do not know how to carry on. He simply says He is there — what a comforting thought to grab hold of and believe.
Of course the Bible says God is everywhere, but if our concept of God is that He is our heavenly Father (with all its images of personality), it is difficult to understand how He can be everywhere. But if we think of God as an entity like wind or atmosphere, the idea of Him being personally with us has no meaning. This combination of an omnipresent God that personally walks beside us with great care and compassion boggles our minds. And that is the way it should be — God is far more than we can comprehend.
Yet in our inability to fully understand Him, He does make Himself known. Jesus promised to all those who believe in Him that we would experience the reality of God with us — He makes Him known. Furthermore, we often see Him in the lives of others who follow Him, in the joys and the trials of life, and certainly in the people who appear out of nowhere to help us.
Were they really angels? Maybe not. But God used them to make us aware that He cares for us — and aware that He is not limited by snaky trailers, women drivers, and two people who can’t find the right end to light on a gas barbecue!