when only one would do
By Barbara Lohr, Honolulu, Hawaii
North Carolina’s Outer Banks was a popular vacation spot in the summer, but my husband, Jeff, and I preferred to
make our visits during the off-season.
Miles and miles of sandy beach, wide-open water and not a soul in sight. That’s all I saw as Jeff and I walked along
the shore. It brought us back year after year.
The water was even warm enough to swim in. Not that I ever did. Sitting in the sun with a good book was more my speed.
I’d had swimming lessons growing up, and could dog-paddle my way from one end of a pool to the other, but the ocean
Especially this stretch of the Atlantic. The Outer Banks was known for riptides, strong currents that hid under calm water
and pulled swimmers out to sea. Neither Jeff nor I had ever found one in all our years of vacationing here, and that was fine
by me. Even an experienced swimmer like Jeff could get in trouble with one.
He pulled off his T-shirt. “I’m going in. Just to that sandbar and back.”
“Have fun. I’ll sit here and enjoy the view.” Jeff kicked off his sandals and gave me a wave as he raced
into the water. He cut through the ocean in smooth, even strokes. I got myself settled on the sand.
Behind me a row of beach houses stood empty, waiting for the summer crowds. They wouldn’t have the beach to themselves
like we did now.
I squinted out at the water, sparkling in the bright morning sun. Jeff didn’t seem to be making such steady progress
anymore. Either he was moving slower, or that sandbar was moving farther out to sea.
He ought to turn around and come in. I stretched my neck. What was he doing?
Jeff stopped swimming, but he didn’t turn around. Was he treading water? Resting? I sat up to get a better look and
a shock of fear went through me. Jeff was struggling, fighting the waves!
Riptide! I thought. The familiar word was suddenly attached to a terrible reality.
Jeff’s head went under the water. My hand flew to my chest. I jumped up, my feet planted in the sand, my eyes searching
for Jeff. His head broke the surface. His hand shot up in the air. Was he signaling me? He went under again. Lord, he’s
I stumbled into the water. But what was I going to do? I’d never waded in past my knees. Now I was going to swim
my struggling husband back to shore? I’d end up drowning him for sure. Even I knew the number-one rule for a swimmer
caught in a riptide: Don’t panic. I would be a detriment to Jeff.
“Help me,” I whispered to the miles of empty beach. “Help us!” I pleaded at the long row of empty
rentals. It was useless to scream. If only I could will someone into existence! Dear God, help!
I splashed forward into the water—and turned to look behind me. Two men had appeared out of nowhere. “My
husband!” I managed, pointing. The younger man splashed into the water. He made his way to Jeff like a champion swimmer.
The older man stayed with me. I breathed easier just knowing he was there by my side.
I saw the young man grab Jeff around the chest. With what looked like no effort at all, the man pulled him toward shore!
The riptide was certainly no match for this swimmer.
Jeff dog-paddled to help them along and they made quick progress. At last they reached shore. Jeff collapsed at my feet,
coughing and gasping for air. “Jeff!” I said, kneeling down beside him.
“I’m all right,” he spat out.
I held him to me. “Thank you, God, for sending these men to save
my husband!” Jeff and I sat there, huddled on the sand, safe in each other’s embrace until his breathing became
regulated. Once it sank in that he was okay, I felt embarrassed by our emotional display. I hadn’t even thanked the
strangers! “Please forgive me—”
But when I pulled away from Jeff and looked up, both men were gone. I got to my feet and looked around. “Now how
could they have disappeared so fast?” I said to Jeff. “And that’s how fast they showed up too.”
Jeff took my hand, and we headed to our place to pack up. After such a scare, we were eager to get back home.
At church on Sunday, the pastor gave a surprising sermon. “Angels aren’t confined to the heavenly realm,”
he said. “They are all around us. On earth every day, doing God’s work.” I thought of the men who appeared
out of nowhere. I turned to Jeff. He looked at me. Could it be...? Jeff read my mind. “Definitely,” he
“But why would God send two?” Jeff said afterward. “He only needed to send one angel to save my life.”
Then it hit me: We’d been saying prayers of gratitude for God saving Jeff’s life, but that was thanking God
for half a miracle. He’d sent an angel to save my husband from drowning, but he had also sent a second angel to comfort
me during Jeff’s ordeal.
Jeff and I have faced other troubles since that day. Yet whenever challenges arise, all I have to do is remember those
men on the beach. I know God is taking care of us. A God who cares enough to send that second angel when one would do.
This story first appeared in Angels on Earth magazine
This story was published
in Guildpost I used read the magazine often, in fact I had a woman that’s family donated boxes of the magazine to the
center it surprised me, as some people do, that very few had any desire to read the material. They became permanent parts
of the office, I always encouraged people to take copies usually that related to their valley’s in life. This year two
things happen; One: I decided I would share space with writers, whether they be first timers or ministers of generations.
Very few would I add anything to, there would be no need. Two: Better Tomorrows will be in about this format, if you want
Golden Nuggets that is concise maybe far less then a thousand (Words.), The reason we wrote this section is because there
have been at least five stories, I know about, just the same, two men would appear save the life of a person and vanish.
We serve a great God!