Angels In The Sierras
My family chatted happily as our old Nissan glided down the California highway.
We were on our way to the Sierra Nevadas to spend the Sabbath. Dad spotted a recreational area with campgrounds near a lake.
"Look, that sign says they're closed for the season," Mom pointed out.
"But the gate's open, and there's a car inside," Dad said. "It'll probably be all right."
Deciding that it was safe, we drove through a narrow gate onto a small road that dead-ended at a parking lot. Dad pulled in and parked beside the other car.
We grabbed our water jugs and sweaters and started hiking up the narrow trail toward the lake. As we walked, Dad sneaked into the woods and watched us like an Indian.
Near the lake we found a fallen tree shaped perfectly like a bench. We sat down and reflected on the wonder of nature. Suddenly we heard a bird singing a beautiful song.
"Listen," Dad said. "The tune that bird is singing is almost identical to one I learned in Mexico!"
We listened intently until the song faded away in the dense forest. We talked, sang songs, and read the Bible.
At noon Mom said, "I'd better go back and get the food. Aren't you hungry?"
"Yes," we agreed.
Mom and I started down the hill to get lunch. As we neared the parking lot, we saw a man and his teenage son walking toward the other car. They were carrying fishing poles, buckets, and other gear. We waved as they got into their car and drove off.
We got our food from the car and then returned to the lake. After enjoying our lovely picnic lunch, we decided it was time to go.
As we rounded the bend, we realized, in horror, that the gate was closed and securely locked! Boulders, on both sides of the gate, prevented us from driving around it.
"How are we going to get out?" I asked.
No one answered, so I began to pray. Dear Lord, I said silently, You're the only one who can get us out. Please send help.
I had repeated my prayer several times when two cars pulled up behind us. (Momentarily we forgot that there was no way they should have been able to get in!) Two neatly dressed African-American men stepped out of the cars. (This surprised us, because there aren't that many African-Americans such as us in this area.) Their presence quickly put us at ease.
The first man was young and wore a white polo shirt and navy pants. As he passed our car he said with a smile, "Do you want to get out?"
"Yes," Dad replied.
The older man stood behind his open car door while the first walked up to the locked gate. We watched as he bent over and took the lock in his hand. He put his index finger into the keyhole as though it were a key.
"Push it through," his friend said.
None of my family understood what he said except me. Somehow the young man pushed the padlock through the hole, swung the gate open, and stood there smiling as we drove past.
We drove slowly down the road. When we turned the bend, we could no longer see the men. We stopped and waited, but they didn't come.
"I just got the strangest thought," Dad said. "Do you think they were angels?"
"Yes, I had that feeling all along," Mom said. "But I didn't say anything, because I couldn't allow myself to suggest that God would do such an awesome thing for us–allowing us to see and be helped by angel messengers. What an honor!"
"Should we go back to see if they are still there?" Dad asked.
"No, it isn't necessary," Mom replied.
We sat there, silently contemplating the miracle God had just done for us.
Another day, when Dad went back to look at the gate, he discovered how impossible it was to push the huge padlock through the series of small holes.
I had never thought that I would ever see an angel, and I did not believe that such a miracle could ever happen to my family. That day I learned that God is there for His people, and sometimes He even works a miracle for us.
Now whenever I have doubts about how much God loves me, I just think of the Sierra angels and how God answered my prayer that Sabbath. "