Welcome! Here's another true Christian story from my collection of things that have really happened to me (including stories about miracles, angels, and God's love and blessings). This one is about God sending an angel to encourage me in 1975.
Copyright © 1997, 1999 by Debra K. Matthews. All rights reserved
I had grown up believing that I would never amount to anything. Now at twenty I found myself standing on an eight-foot ladder attempting to do something I had convinced myself years before I couldn't do.
About a month before, I had been chatting with my pastor outside an old theater. It had signs on the door and in the display windows identifying it as the Tacoma Crusade Center, but the marquee was empty.
As we talked about the history of the center, my pastor mentioned they'd never had the money to get the center's name painted on the marquee. Without thinking, I said, "I can do it."
I was shocked that I had said it. Sure, Deb. Just like that, this guy's going to up
and let you paint giant letters on his marquee. You've never even done anything that big
before. What are you thinking?
I was committed now. Before he could say anything, I said, "I painted the emblem on my car door," nodding my head towards my station wagon parked at the curb beside us. "I could paint your marquee for you."
He stepped over to look at my car door, where I had painted a large eight-color symbol, similar to the patch I had designed for my Civil Air Patrol squadron. It had a big eagle in flight carrying a CB radio antenna with lightning bolts emitting from it, over a big "S" in the background, and a scroll above and below it. The one I had created for my squadron had said, "Pride In Our Teamwork." But for my own personal emblem on my car I had designed it in the shape of a shield, added a large brown cross in the back of it all, and written, "In God We Trust." I had painted it with a great deal of love and pride.
My pastor looked at it for a minute, and then said, "That's very good. How much could you do our sign for?"
"I'd do it for free," I said. "I've been wanting to do something for you folks but didn't know if there was anything I could do to help."
So we agreed on the job, and over the next few weeks I painted a little each day before going to work, and eventually got the whole thing painted with a navy blue background and large white letters. When it was done, I went across the street to look at the finished product, but felt it was missing something. It looks kind of flat, I thought. Maybe I should paint a black shadow effect on the letters.
After drawing a picture with the shadow effect added, I decided to do it. I painted the shadow on the first word, then walked across the street to see how it looked. It had made all the difference in the world. All right!
I went back up on the ladder and kept going. I had finished the C-R-U- and was carefully following the curve of the S when suddenly I had a scary thought. One thing about drawing as a child was that I always had to brace my arm on my desk when I drew. I couldn't work like painters and have my arm up in the air and just paint free-flow curving lines. Now, as I was painting the curve of the lower part of the S, I had my arm off the sign and was smoothly and exactly following the curve.
All this time in painting the letters, I had thought of it as a cut-and-dried business of filling in simple boxes and curves, not as art or drawing. Now, as I found the brush moving freely in this large curving line, I suddenly thought, Maybe I can still draw.
Suddenly, from below me, a voice said, "Well, I see someone is still an artist."
I looked down. "What?!" An elderly man stood just a few feet to the left of my ladder, pulling one of those little wire carts you often see older ladies walking home with after shopping.
The man looked up at me with a smile and said, "Anyone who can draw without the paint dripping is still an artist."
I looked up at the black line I had just painted so perfectly, and then looked down again. The man was gone! I stepped down a few rungs so I could see under the marquee, but couldn't find him anywhere. There was no way he could have left that quickly. The businesses on both sides of the theater wouldn't be opened for hours and were locked up tight. He had simply disappeared!
I was so amazed I just stared at the big "S" in front of me. Why had he said still an artist, after I had just thought maybe I can still draw. And how could he just disappear like that? This was the third time in less than two years something unexplainable like that had happened. Could it really be that the creator of the whole earth would care enough about someone like me to send an angel to give a simple word of encouragement?
Now, years later, whenever I'm tempted to doubt that God cares about the little things in our lives, all I have to do is remember that little incident on the ladder, and I know without a shadow of a doubt, Yes, God loves us and cares about every detail of our lives.
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Added July 11, 1999