Didn't You See Him? by Denise Meyer
We shoved away from shore, and I immediately took out my 35 mm camera. Round Lake, Wisconsin, is a beautiful place, especially when the weather is cold and the water is freshly thawed. We had rented a cottage by the water, and the little rowboat was a great addition to our wilderness experience. For the five of us in the boat—my two children (Emily, age four, and Tim, age two), my mom, my stepdad, and me—it was a perfect way to spend an afternoon. So what if we were one life vest down? What could possibly go wrong?
We hadn’t drifted out more than fifty yards when I sud- denly felt the boat rocking back and forth, making a wider swing with each rock. Dad was groaning in pain. His leg was cramping badly, and he was trying to stand up in the boat. Mom screamed at him, “Will, sit down! Sit down!”
I dropped my camera and grabbed the sides of the boat just as the momentum of the final swing tipped the boat ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼completely over, thrusting us all into the cold water. With no time to catch a breath before going in, I came up gasping for air. Having been trained in water rescue by the local fire department just a few months earlier, I knew I had to count the number of people who had surfaced. Start counting and make sure everyone is up. One. Two. Three. My parents had surfaced but not my two kids.
Dad—who had lost an arm in a car accident years before and could not swim—hung on to the capsized boat, his life vest keeping him afloat, while Mom and I searched franti- cally for the kids. I pushed my face down into the water, my bones penetrated by the cold. With teeth chattering and body shaking from head to toe, I could not see much in the murky water and soon had to come back up for air. I started crying and praying, Please, God, don’t take my kids! Please don’t let them die!
I threw my head back under and searched some more, my arm waving around blindly, desperate to find them. At last my hand caught hold of something familiar, but which child was it? Whether it was Emily or Tim, I could tell that the child was caught under the boat, the life vest pressing him or her upward into the frame. I tried to pull the child out, but I was out of breath. I resurfaced to hear my mom yell to me, “I found her! I have her foot! I have Emily!” With renewed determination, I pulled on Tim’s leg, using my arm as a lever. I heard Emily surface, choking and crying. I pulled and pulled, but nothing was working.
It must have been going on ninety seconds since we capsized, and I had no idea if I would pull a lifeless baby son out from the water or not, but I had to give it one last pull. I prayed, God, please, help me get him out! In the pain of pushing my forearm against the steel edge of the boat, I pulled on Tim’s vest with every ounce of strength left in me. Suddenly something gave way, and he popped out and up. He was choking and screaming, but he was alive! We were all alive.
In the moments that followed I became aware of what was going on around the lake. Everyone was looking our way, and I saw my brother-in-law jump into a boat that was tied to a pier, pulling away so fast to reach us that he brought part of the pier with him. As I watched people come to us and take us back to the shore, I realized afresh how cold the water was and how close we had come to death. And as we made it onto land, I learned how God had miraculously intervened.
Tim had been under the boat but in an air pocket. The only time he had spent with his face in the water was when God had given me the strength to pull him down and out. This was just sinking in when I heard another frantic cry.
“Someone call the ambulance! This woman is having a heart attack!” My mom was lying down on the dock, and I knew that I was seeing a second miracle in action. Had the heart attack started when we were in the water, she would surely have drowned.
But God was not done with us even then. There was another miracle still to be revealed, and we learned about it later that day when we were allowed to join Mom at her hos- pital bedside. Once the kids had fussed over their grandma for a time, the conversation turned to the accident on the lake. The fear returned to Mom’s face as she spoke.
“Oh, Emily, I was so afraid when you were in the water. I ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼looked and I looked, but I couldn’t find you. Then I reached out and grabbed you and pulled you up.”
Emily looked confused. “Grandma, didn’t you see the man?”
“What man?” Grandma asked.
“Grandma,” she continued with a most serious look on her face, “the man under the water! He grabbed my foot and put it in your hand!”
Not yet getting it, Mom tried to explain, “Emily, there was no one else in the water with us.”
Not giving up, Emily insisted, “Yes, there was! There was a man! He found me and gave my foot to you!”
We owe everything to God as he spared our lives and gave us more time to rejoice together as a family. Too often we are quick to assume that God has left us to fend for ourselves when we are in a crisis. We had seen not just one miracle that day but three; and out on the lake we all were reminded that not only is God with us when we face trials, but he is also at work in ways we cannot even see.
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If you start looking for God's activity in your life; if you start looking for "God moments;" it'll change the way you think of them. You start understanding that God is active, He's involved and He cares.