by Steven Kielley
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“Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it”
The topic of angels is always an interesting one. In scripture they our mentioned 273 times and appear throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning in 1957, mom and dad had loaded up the car, and my brother and I sat in the back seat of our Buick as we headed from our home in Oak Creek WI to visit my aunt and uncle in West Bend WI.
The details of the ride our shadowy but what happened later in the morning remains crystal clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday. My uncle owned a cottage on Wallace Lake. It wasn’t much to look at; I still remember the outhouse out back. It was certainly rustic to put it kindly. The lake however made up for anything the cottage lacked in appearance. I remember how mesmerized I was by the rolling of the waves on the shore and the bouncing buoy’s as the boats sped by.
I was 5 years old and my brother 7. My Uncle lived next to a tavern and often time’s dad would take us over to get something sweet, while he ordered a drink. So the tavern was a place that we were familiar with. As I and my brother played in the backyard, my brother decided to spend the quarter he had been saving in his pocket. It would only take him a second to run next door and bring back a treat. Even though we were told to stay in the backyard he felt that it would only take a second to make the trip their and back without my parents knowing.
I found myself drawn to the water, its rolling waves, its smells and the possibility of seeing fish from off the pier drew me out further. I was at the end of the pier reaching down to touch the fish swimming under the pier when I fell off and into the water. At this point I have no recollection of what happened other than what I was told later. I do know that I drowned and was found floating face down in the lake by my dad. My brother’s trip to the tavern took longer than expected since they no doubt had other customers besides a 7 year old looking for candy. My dad filled me in on what happened. He was in the cottage with mom, and Uncle Don and Aunt Meta when he felt a strong urge to check on my brother and me. No doubt the lack of sounds coming through the window and the touch of my angel upon his shoulder warned him of impending disaster. He excused himself and walked outside; he scanned the yard, and called out my name as well as my brothers. He became panicky and came down to the lake and saw my little body floating lifeless in the water. He quickly ran into the water and retrieved me, calling out for help. Thanks to God and my angel and dad’s quick thinking they were able to revive me. I so vividly remember opening my eyes and seeing my mother crying as I gagged and choked, the scene is permanently etched in my memory. I remember them asking me silly questions like what my name was and if I knew where I was.
Do I believe in angels, absolutely without a shred of doubt? I have heard many stories of people who have had contact with them. No doubt along the path of your life you also have had some contact or intervention on their part in your life even though you may not have known it.
I remember it was the day before Christmas Eve. I was attending college in St Paul MN, and I was ready to head home for Christmas break. The car was packed and I was ready to go when the cook who managed our cafeteria asked if I would remain back for a few hours so I could take some gifts back to Milwaukee for her grandchildren. I was not especially happy about the delay because I did not want to spend the night driving by myself back to Milwaukee. As it happened, I was finally on my way around 9:00 p.m... I had my CB radio on and thought the chatter would help keep me awake. As I neared the state line with Wisconsin a trucker came on and asked for assistance. He was broke down on I94 and was asking if someone might pick him up. He wanted to get back to Neillsville WI to be with his family. He had already made arrangement to have the truck towed. I felt strongly that this would certainly be an act of Christian kindness that was until I saw the two of them come walking to my car in the dark. They certainly looked rough and unkempt. I just prayed Lord please protect me and I trust this is what you would have me do. One piled in the front and the other in the back and we were off.
We drove for some time after our initial greetings were made. The driver in the back was already sound asleep, it was then that the driver in the front began to share about himself and some of the struggles he faced. It was not long until we were in a deep conversation in regard to God’s role in his life. As we talked about Christ I felt such an anointing come into the car as we drove. It was almost like a fog it was so thick. I decided to take them all the way to Neilsville even though it was well off my chosen path. As I drove I felt so close to God and this driver shared with me that he also felt that same tingling go up and down his spine. It was nearly one in the morning when we arrived at his doorstep. I was so glad that I had stopped to help. I felt so spiritually refreshed and close to God. I remember after they shut the door and I was on my way of asking God to do something special like light up the sky, I remember saying Lord I think I could take it, that was until all the things in my visor fell down and hit me in the face. My heart nearly stopped as I realized what I was really asking for.
As I continued to drive I happened to look down at the gas gauge, oh no, I forgot to fill up in Black River Falls, I had been so involved in my conversation that I had driven by without thinking. My gauge way lying solidly on empty, it was one thirty in the morning and I was in the middle of nowhere. I jumped on my CB which had been silent for hours and took a chance that someone might still be up and asked if anyone knew of a gas station that might be open. This was in 1976 long before pay at the pump was available. I really did not expect an answer, but as soon as I was done a voice came strongly through my speakers informing me that just ahead of me was a station that was open. How did he know where I was, I looked in my mirror and saw no hint of headlights, he had mentioned that he was right behind me and would make sure that I was taken care of and that he was there to help.
Sure enough about a mile down the road there it was in the middle of the wilderness a gas station open at one thirty in the morning. What the owner was doing there that time of the night I will never know. Before I pulled to the pump I pulled my car around to face the way I had come, to possibly blink my lights and thank the person who had helped me. No one came, it was then I heard that inner voice speak to me, you wanted me to light the sky when really what you needed was gas. Was it an angel that spoke to me? Was it Gods intervention that made a way for me to make it home that night? I believe it was.
I often thank God for the angels who watch over me. I sometimes feel sorry for them knowing what they have to put up with. Nonetheless if I were to right about the many times they have intervened I could write a book.
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Thanks Steve for sharing your stories. Oftentimes we are so unaware of the angels around us--thank God for His amazing love and protecting hand. I think it's time to start writing that book you mentioned at the end. :)