Day 20: Remember, He knows what we need - 28 November 2018

By Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Have you ever experienced how God positions people to be in the right place at the right time to help you? Stefan Dreyer, a Cape Town body boarder experienced it.

During last year, Stefan’s year long dream to go bodyboarding at Skeleton Bay in Namibia was fulfilled. Alongside hundreds of surfers from across the world, he had the privilege to ride breaking waves from up to 2km along the coast.

On Stefan's last morning in Namibia, he walked up the foggy coast with other South Africans to the place where everyone entered the sea. Although they entered the water together, they soon lost each other. With the third or fourth wave of the morning, Stefan's head was drilled into a shallow sandbar. After a hard blow he was immediately paralyzed. With his head in the water and his arms and legs floating numbly next to him, he knew he had trouble. If someone did not get to him quickly, he would drown.

A wave broke over Stefan. For a moment he could breathe and call for help. But, with the thick fog he did not know if anyone was close enough to hear him. His head was in the water again. This time, the seconds passed by. His breath started to run out. Just when he was about to give up hope of being rescued, arms wrapped around him.  He was turned  around to catch a breath. It was Hawaii's legendary surfer, Eli Olsen.

What makes this rescue such a miracle is that Eli is one of the few people that understood Stefan’s injury. In the past he already saved three people with similar injuries. He immediately knew that the slightest mistake would leave him permanently paralyzed. On the beach, Eli built a neck brace from sand to prevent other enthusiastic surfers from moving Stefan until he was taken to hospital.

Back in South Africa, the doctors agreed that it was a miracle that Stefan, with the injuries (both a skull fracture and neck and back injuries), was able to recover completely. Many others in the past with similar injuries did not survive or were left permanently paralyzed.

Did God see Stefan in the water that morning? Definitely. In Psalm 33: 13-14 we read: From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth.” From Psalm 46: 1, we read: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Also in Psalm 91: 11,14 we are reminded that God sends his angels to help us: For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. . . . The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name.’”

God positioned Eli Olsen that foggy morning in Skeleton Bay to be in the right place and time to save Stefan. Likewise, He wants to position us to be an instrument in his hand to help others. May we keep our eyes open for these opportunities. And may we stay grateful for every time He protected us and our loved ones in the past. Because we love God, He saves us. Because we trust in His name, He protects us! God bless.

Father God, thank you for your protection. Help me today to be obedient if you want to position me to help others in need. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  • See pictures of Stefan during and after the incident at or at the Stories van Hoop page on Facebook.
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