He was skeptical about miracles and other people's spiritual experiences, until this happened.
- Posted on May 23, 2019
Do you believe that God intervenes directly in our lives? Some 20 years ago, I would’ve told you absolutely not.
That’s when I took a trip to Boise, Idaho, for work. I was an electronics engineer and business consultant and needed to meet with an important client. I was walking around the city center beforehand when a woman approached me. I had a feeling she might be a member of some kind of group, interested in proselytizing and handing out pamphlets. Instead, she struck up a conversation. We exchanged pleasantries, made small talk. Then, unprompted, she launched into a seemingly random story.
“Years ago, I was in a terrible accident,” she said. “Hit-and-run. My toddler was in the back seat. I couldn’t get her out. We were trapped with no one around to help.”
Why is she telling me this? I wondered, growing uncomfortable. “A large man appeared out of nowhere,” she said. “He didn’t speak a word, just opened one of the damaged doors like it was nothing. He got my child out. I checked to make sure she was okay. When I looked up, he was gone! We’d been driving through farmland. There were no trees around or anything else that would shield him from view. He just disappeared!”
It was certainly an odd thing to mention. Especially out of the blue. I politely excused myself. It was time for my meeting anyway. As I walked away, I realized she hadn’t given me any literature. Why had she picked me to talk to? The story she’d shared had been interesting, though I doubted it was true. I believed in God more or less, but I didn’t think he could physically intervene in our world. As an engineer, I was a pretty logical person. I’d never seen or heard of anything I couldn’t explain. I figured there was probably an explanation for this story too.
For some reason, though, what she’d said stuck with me. It set me off on a years-long quest to find out more. I researched inexplicable spiritual experiences. Read up on the metaphysical. The more I learned, the more I wondered—had she come across some kind of miraculous bridge between the physical world and the spiritual? I was open to the idea but still had my doubts.
A few years later, my wife and I decided we were due for a vacation. I was working overtime and in need of a getaway. We opted for a weekend road trip to Sedona, Arizona, for its gorgeous landscape—red rocks rising from the dessert—and the vaunted spirituality of the area. In my years of research, I’d read about folks who claimed to feel powerful energy and have strange experiences in the mountains.
When my wife and I reached the hotel, she decided to rest. But I was anxious to check out the mountains. One of the energy spots was supposed to be on a nearby peak. “I’ll be back soon,” I told her, grabbing the car keys.
I drove to the site. I parked at the trailhead and started walking. There were no cars in the parking lot and no one else on the path. It was quiet as I hiked, my smooth-soled sneakers crunching along the sandy red dirt. Not the best shoes for hiking, I thought.
The higher up I got, the narrower and steeper the path became. The trees grew sparse. The slope dropped off sharply until I was walking on a cliff. I was almost to the peak. I stopped for a minute to take in the spectacular view. The red rocks burnished by the bright afternoon sun. I looked over the edge. There were no trees or plants blocking my view. I could see straight down a thousand feet. I turned back to the trail—and slipped.
Suddenly, I was tumbling over myself. My hands grasped frantically for something—anything—to grab. Nothing. I saw the bright sky above me, the sun shining brilliantly into my eyes as I slid over the edge, my arms stretched out. It was harsh and beautiful. This is it, I thought. The last thing I’ll ever see.
Then I felt something placed against my hand. As if someone was pressing a rope into my palm. My fingers closed around it. Thwack! My body slammed against the side of the cliff, dangling in the air. I looked up. I was holding on to a shrub bending over the edge. I wondered how long the small plant would support my 250-pound frame.
Was this just a delay in my demise? I pulled up as hard as I could. Hand over hand. Would the plant hold? I muscled my way up to the base of the shrub, grabbed the edge of the cliff and pulled myself back onto solid ground. I lay there for a moment, breathing hard and shaking. I glanced at the small bush that had saved my life. It was the only plant life around. I knew it hadn’t been there before. I was sure of it. It seemed to have simply appeared under my fingers as I fell. How had it held me? How had I pulled myself up? Sure, adrenaline was a factor, but it felt like something else.
I made my way back down the trail, minding where I stepped the whole way. Back at the car, I looked up at the mountains one more time before heading back to the hotel. To this day, I can’t explain what happened to me on that cliff. No amount of research or logic will give me an answer. To be honest, I don’t need one. I know in my soul that the divine stepped in to help me that day. And now, when people express doubts about God working in our lives, I have a story of my own to tell.
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