With excruciating back pain, I had to walk with two canes to keep pressure off my back. I was only 49 years old but walked and acted like an old man after taking a nasty fall onto an icy cement parking lot. When the missionary man took my canes away and told me to walk in faith, I was sure my legs would give out, planting my face into the carpet.
This past weekend in southern Missouri was a weather disaster in the making. One day, it was balmy in the morning, reaching to 65 degrees in the afternoon. Strange for January. Rain began to fall, and then torrents came down creating flash floods with five to six inches of rain in places. Some almost drowned as they had to be rescued crossing overflowed creeks. But miracles still happen. And this one needs to be told.
The temperature began to drop rapidly, making the possibility of a tornado reality. Warnings went out on phones and sirens blared. That’s when Bailey Jacobs thought his wife may be in danger. He called from work to warn her to take shelter. She hadn’t heard any warning signals and wasn’t aware of a tornado. While they were talking, he said it sounded like the trailer exploded, and then the line went dead.
Bailey rushed home from work, dreading the sight he knew he’d find. He thought he’d lost his family and everyone he loved.
He found his property in ruins. The trailer was ripped from the foundation and smashed into pieces. He jumped from his truck and ran to the site, calling out for his pregnant wife, but found no sign of her or his baby girl.
An Act of God
Then he got a phone call. His wife and baby were at the hospital. With the baby in her arms, she said she felt the trailer coming loose from its foundation and beginning to roll. At some point she was thrown from the trailer, later awakening in an area surrounded by cinder blocks. Somehow, she was alive and managed to drive herself to the hospital.
“An act of God,” said Bailey. “They shouldn’t be alive right now.” Bailey Jacobs expressed his gratitude for a real miracle. Both mother and child were checked out and released from the hospital without any injuries. See the full story here.
Seems there’s been other instances where God has protected a mother and child. In 2017, a mother and baby were thrown from an exploding trailer and taken up into the vortex of the tornado. They also both survived with only a few scratches.
In 2008 in Tennessee, a baby was hurled 300 feet by a tornado. The tornado smashed a brick building and leveled their home, but the eleventh-month-old baby survived, found cold and scared in a muddy field nearby.
I am so thankful our God is a loving Father who protects and saves.
An unplanned pregnancy during Bible times did not have the option of abortion. Consequences were unthinkable: the woman could be stoned for such a heinous act. The promise of a Messiah had been known for ages – but it was not something young Mary had planned in her future. She knew the consequences. She knew what everyone would think. But still, she was willing to be God’s handmaiden.
Mary sat on a hillside outside of Nazareth overcome with awe. Her heart fluttered as she fought to breathe. What had just happened? She lifted her arms toward heaven, closed her eyes and gloried in the warm touch of sun on her face. She opened her eyes as a gentle breeze wrapped her in its wisp, and whispered praise to Adonai. He was great and greatly to be praised. She worshiped in the glory of the Most High God.
Her mind had been on God a lot these last few days. “Just think,” her friend Hannah had said in wonder, “It could be you, Mary…or me…or Susanna. One of us could be the mother of the Messiah.”
“You’re such a dreamer, Hannah.” Mary remembered laughing at her. “How could such things happen? You need a man to make a baby.”
“But not the Messiah. It would be a real miracle. It would have to be…” Hannah reasoned, “…to be God’s Son.”
Mary nodded. “It would be a miracle, indeed. Unlike any other.”
She had pondered the words of her friend all week. She and her girlfriends often talked about being the chosen one. It was part of their teaching: someday a virgin would bear the Messiah. Every girl wanted to be ‘the one’ chosen. What an honor it would be to give birth to royalty!
Now as she contemplated the events of the morning, these same thoughts tumbled through her brain again. Did I imagine it? Dream it? Did it really happen? Mary shook her head.
The large being who appeared as a man shining with light had suddenly appeared before her. She had cowered in fear, but his words had been calm and reassuring.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary. I am Gabriel and I have a message for you from God.”
Her skin prickled. Could it be true? Was she dreaming?
“You are highly favored among women, Mary. The Lord is with you.”
She had drawn back in question. What does that mean?
“Don’t fear,” he told her again. “You have found great favor with God. You will soon have a son, and you’ll call him Jesus.”
Jesus? The name means ‘he will save’ – a Savior?
The angel continued, “He will be the son of the most high God.”
The Messiah? But scripture says the Messiah will come from Bethlehem. I’m from Nazareth – and I’m promised to Joseph. A frown creased her forehead. “But how?” she asked the angel. “How can these things be? I’ve not been with any man.”
“The Holy Spirit will overshadow you and the power of God will cover you. The holy child which shall be born will be called the Son of God.” Mary had marveled at his answer. She did not doubt his words. Would she accept this mission? She knew the answer immediately, but was she willing? In surrender to her own will, believing she knew the cost, she bowed her head and answered. “I am the Lord’s servant. May your words be fulfilled as you have said.”
Then as suddenly as he appeared, he disappeared – leaving her with more questions. She believed without a doubt that God had chosen her to be the mother of His son. She opened her heart in worship and felt God’s power come over her.
She wasn’t sure how long she had been on the hillside that morning, but something felt different as she made her way home. She wanted to run to Hannah and Susanna and share her great news, but would they make fun of her? Then a scarier thought entered her mind. What would Joseph say? Would he believe her, or leave her? Would he accuse her of unfaithfulness to him? Would he choose to expose her and bring her before the Council for judgment? She knew the law and the consequences of adultery. The whole town would know and call her a whore. A public disgrace called for a public example. How could she make them believe she carried the Holy One? They’d think she was lying or just plain crazy. She could face the ultimate penalty for this offense – stoning.
“Mother, what will I do?”
“Mary, are you sure you weren’t just daydreaming? Perhaps you had too much sun out on the hillside today.” Her mother felt her forehead and looked into her eyes.
“You don’t believe that an angel spoke to me? He said I was highly favored among women.”
Mary’s mother chuckled. “Oh, Mary. You are hardly a woman yet – only a young teenager.” She patted Mary’s shoulder in condescension. “I only think you have the active imagination of all young teenage girls your age. You and your friends have talked nonstop about the Messiah.”
“I’m telling the truth, Mother. The angel said nothing is impossible with God. Don’t you believe that?”
“Of course, I do, but what you’re telling me….”
She cut her mother off. “The angel also said your cousin Elizabeth is going to have a baby.”
“Elizabeth? Impossible. She is way past the child-bearing age.”
“Maybe I should go see her. The angel said she was already six months along.”
“Maybe you should, daughter. She might talk you out of this silly notion you have.”
A Visit to the Countryside
Mary retrieved a few things and headed toward Judea the next day. Excitement grew in her heart the closer she neared the little town. If God can give Elizabeth a baby in her old age, then surely He can do a miracle in me, Mary thought. I believe you, God. I am your handmaiden. Mary was anxious to hear what Elizabeth would have to tell her.
Mary saw Elizabeth outside in her garden, tending to the flowers. She hurried to see her. “Elizabeth!”
“Mary?” Elizabeth looked up in surprise and wrapped her arms around her own protruding belly as it jumped. A smile broke out upon her lips as she hugged her niece.
“Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear! Why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to visit me? As soon as you greeted me, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! You are blessed to believe the Lord will fulfill His promises to you.”
Mary put her hand to her mouth. How would Elizabeth know unless God had told her? ‘The mother of my Lord,’ she said. Tears welled in Mary’s eyes with new realization and the inspiration of truth.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God, my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” She smiled at her aunt and lifted her eyes toward heaven with renewed faith and determination. “From now on, all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name….”
Mary stayed on with her aunt for another three months until it was time for Elizabeth to give birth to baby John. As she left for home, she pondered their talks and treasured in her heart all the knowledge her aunt had spoken. With her belly beginning to bulge, Mary knew she would have to face the townspeople of Nazareth. She would have to talk to Joseph. But she glorified God for the miracle child He had placed in her womb.
Please, God. Speak to Joseph too. Show him how to help me raise this holy one. She trusted God to protect her and direct her paths. Not sure what all lay ahead, Mary only knew one thing for sure: she was blessed. Blessed among all women. Chosen of God. She would serve God to the best of her ability in this adventure of a lifetime and become the mother of God’s Son.
She hoped to see a bear while on their family vacation in Gatlinburg. About to go into town, Annette sat in the car and waited for the others to join her when she heard a strange sound. She never dreamed of the encounter she would have….
If you encounter a bear, “Hold your ground and make yourself look big—open your coat up, throw your arms up above your head—and shout and scream; a lot of times, they’re as spooked as you are,” says Tony Nester, an expert on bear survival. But what if the bear is a mother protecting her cubs?
Are Bears the Most Protective Animal Mother?
Mama bears can be the most fierce and protective of any animal when it comes to her babies. It is a widely accepted belief that the most dangerous place to be is between a mother bear and her cub. So what kept this mama bear from attack?
Family Vacation in a Gaitlinburg Cabin
Annette and David Duncan rallied their family together for a vacation in Gaitlinburg, TN. Quite a feat, when you consider there could be sixteen people. Fourteen of the family managed to come. The cabin was perfect for their children and grandchildren to vacation together.
A few days before the incident, Dave and Annette came upstairs from their room and found all of the children and grandchildren singing “Amazing Grace.” Two of their children told them the Lord had revealed through dreams and pictures that their family was under spiritual attack that week. Together, the children decided to pray protection over our family, the cabin, and the grounds. Then they began to sing praise.
Prayed to See a Bear
Most everyone had left for town one day. Annette waited with her daughter in the car for the others to join them; her granddaughter was asleep in the backseat. Annette said she had been praying to see a bear while at the cabin, and then she heard a strange sound. She got out to see what it was.
“It wasn’t unusual for someone in our large family wanting to be funny or annoying, so I hopped out and went over to the fence, about ten feet from the car, to see where the strange noise came from,” said Annette on her Facebook feed. As she leaned over the fence, she realized the sound might be the cry of a baby bear.
The Abrupt Encounter
Suddenly she felt something nudge her from behind. It didn’t feel like one of the grandchildren running to greet her, or a person bumping into her. Besides, most of the family were already in town. Confused, she turned around and found herself face-to-face with a huge mother bear. Now she was pinned between the fence and a mama bear with a crying cub on the other side. Annette said she was terrified, but tried to remain calm and act submissive.
Her first thoughts were to scream, yell, wave – like all the ‘experts’ say to do, but she sensed this was not the way to react in this situation. She says, “The Holy Spirit helped me to stay calm while giving me wisdom. I kept repeating the name of Jesus over and over in my mind.”
The mama bear sniffed, snorted, and punched Annette with her nose for about a minute. “Finally she apparently decided I was not a threat and ambled off to retrieve her cub. I ran to the car and told my daughter to stay there. I’m very grateful my granddaughter did not wake up and scream and that no one else came out of the house,” she said. One person commented on Facebook that the bear must have sensed Annette was also a fierce mama with lots of cubs to handle.
Mama Bear returned a few minutes later with her four cubs. After they left, the shaken but grateful and relieved woman went inside to tell her husband. She found him on the other side of the cabin looking out the window. “Look, Annette,” he said, “there are the bears you wanted to see.”
Her Bible devotions for that morning included this verse from Psalm 121:7-8. “Clearly, God answered in a powerful way,” said Annette Duncan.
He can do the same for you!
Does God not know the steps we take each day? His mighty Hand protects, comforts, and leads. He worked His miracle for Annette that August day in the woods. Grateful and amazed, Mrs. Duncan said she was done praying to see a bear.
Annette Duncan is an Assistant Professor of English at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She lives with her husband, David in Franklin, WI. Follow her writings at https://annetteduncan.blogspot.com This story along with the pictures have been approved by Annette Duncan.
After finishing a final round of radiation treatment for cancer, Jerry Drouillard boarded a plane for Orlando, FL. Worn out from the treatment, he decided to settle into his aisle seat and take a nap during the flight. It almost became his last.
He boarded the SPIRIT flight in Detroit; the Spirit almost transported him to the beyond. With the plane still on the tarmac, Drouillard suffered a massive heart attack.
Jeff, a passenger on the flight, had finished his CPR classes only three weeks earlier. He sensed there was something was wrong with the man and rose to help. Signaling the flight attendant to help him, neither one could find a pulse. They believed the man had died.
“You don’t normally hear someone call for 911 on a plane,” said Nurse Sue who was sitting a couple of rows back. The excitement got her attention and she hurried to offer her help. Katie, a cardiac care nurse who also sat nearby jumped in too. As medical professionals, they both realized Drouillard could be in his last moments. They put oxygen on him and Katie immediately started CPR while Sue sang “Staying Alive” to help keep the rhythm of CPR until the ambulance arrived.
Jerry now had a pulse but it was very weak. Still unresponsive, the “Spirit team” got the plane’s defibrillator and administered it.
The paramedics then rushed him to the hospital where he had a quintuple bypass. Jerry says he doesn’t remember anything that happened on the plane. He’s just happy everyone pitched in and helped keep him alive. “Don’t clap for me,” he said when meeting his ‘Spirit team.’ “All I did was survive.”
A Team of Strangers
Three professionals ‘just happened’ to be seated around this man – a man who just finished his CPR training, a nurse, and a cardiac care nurse. With team spirit, they along with the flight attendant worked together to keep this man alive another day.
Ironic? Coincidence? Or a miracle? Jerry believes it was a miracle.
I choose to believe that too.
“This is a real miracle. The people were all there, and I’m so happy for this. Everything fell into place and I give the glory to God. Here I am.” Jerry Drouillard
This true-life story inspired me to write a fictional story. You may read it here.