That Time I Drowned in the River

Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.    

Jon Bon Jovi
His Mighty Hand

When I was a youth, we had an activity where we would go canoeing down a river that was in our backyards. The entrance to the river was just a minute walk from my front door. The river is known for its undercurrents, where they can suck you under if not careful.

As a group we were walking along the side of the river. The older kids were carrying the canoes over their heads with the leaders and all of them were in front of me. I was in the very back, as I was the youngest participant and could not carry the canoe. The group was singing songs as we walked along.

As I was walking, I took a misstep and found myself in the river and immediately being pulled under by the undercurrent. I was really small and because we were walking along the bank, I did not have a life vest on.

I immediately tried to yell for help, but the water would fill my mouth before I could get anything out. I could see the entire group continuing to walk on; they had no idea I had fallen in the river.

The secret to undercurrents is that the more you struggle, the more it pulls you under. I was no match for it and it did not take long before I could not struggle anymore. I knew I was going to die.

That is the weird thing, I knew in that moment I was going to die, and so I stopped struggling and I took what I knew would be my last breathe and went under. I had drowned.

Then it happened. Under the water, and to my surprise, I was calm. Resigned to my fate of death by drowning. Far from being scared, I was at peace. A peace that I can’t describe and one that I have never forgotten. A life altering peace.

Then I heard a voice. It was not an audible voice, not a loud or frantic voice, but an inward voice that penetrated me to my core. I can only describe it as a feeling that I can still feel today, but one that spoke to me – spirit to spirit. It simply encouraged me to use all my strength that I had left and reach up my hand as high as I can.

I obeyed the voice, and tried as hard as I could to push my hand out from under the water. I am not sure I got it out of the water much, but it was enough. Suddenly I felt a hand grab mine and pull me out of the water.

The leader of the group never noticed that I had fallen in the water, but his daughter was told to run down to the river to give her dad a message before he left. As she was coming to find him, she saw me fall in the river. She ran down to where I was, but could not see anything. Then my little hand came out of the water and she was there to pull it out.


Do I believe in miracles? Absolutely! Do I know there is something more out there, something beyond this world that can and does at times help us? I can’t doubt it, because I know what I went through, I know what I heard, I know what I felt.

Call this experience what you will, but I can have no doubt that there is a God and that He is there for us.

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