Angels Protected My Boy
By Joelle Akiki Barkanian
Aug. 4, 2020, was a day like none other in Beirut, Lebanon.
I had just finished cleaning our home in preparation to welcome friends whom we haven’t seen for some time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
My eldest son, 7-year-old James, was so excited that he prepared a welcome picture and hung it on the door for the arrival of the guests on the campus of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Middle East University, where I work as a business teacher. “Welcome,” read the picture, which included three hand-drawn faces and three hearts.
I saw that the trash needed to be collected and went around the rooms. As I reached the front door to throw out the trash bag, the house suddenly shook. I turned my eyes toward the window to see what was happening and saw James staring out the sliding glass door to the balcony, also wondering what was going on. “Move away from the glass!” I shouted.
I barely finished speaking when a second explosion caused the double-glassed door to shatter and crash down on James. My other two children, 4-year-old Peter and 2-year-old Katelyn, started shrieking. Reaching under the broken glass, my husband lifted James up by the shoulder and ran with him outside the house. From what I saw in that split moment, I knew that James could not have survived. I raced outside and held James tightly in my arms, assuming that he was gone. I was in shock, crying, and hearing nothing but a high-pitched ring in my ears. Then my husband’s voice broke through. “James is fine,” he repeated over and over.
On Aug. 4 at 6:08 p.m., God sent angels to protect my son from the glass. James was barefoot and wearing shorts and a T-shirt, yet he did not suffer a single scratch. Angels shielded him. “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11; NIV).
That night, before going to bed, James prayed, “Dear Jesus, please bless this day and every day. And please don’t let this thing that happened with the glass ever happen again. And help us to be safe. Stay with us. Amen.”
My son’s prayer makes my heart ache for the soon return of Jesus.
The next day, I removed the welcome picture from the door. I will treasure it always. Sometimes, we focus on the big things and forget how our plans could change in seconds, our dreams could shatter, and our loved ones could be lost. We always need to be ready for Jesus’ return.
This mission story illustrates Spiritual Growth Objective No. 5 of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s “I Will Go” strategic plan: “To disciple individuals and families into spirit-filled lives.” Learn more at IwillGo2020.org.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org