My friend Deb DeArmond and her husband Ron were in Israel when the war started on Oct. 7, 2023. Here’s the incredible story of God’s presence and provision for them in that harrowing time.
God—an Ever-Present Help in Trouble
Wailing sirens startled Deb and her group. “Do you think this is a practice drill?” Ron asked.
“We always take these seriously,” said their Israeli guide as he ushered them to the bomb shelter.
Hearts pounding, Deb’s group descended the steps to the underground shelter. As they continued further below ground, the faint sound of singing voices greeted them. They didn’t understand the language, but they recognized the tune—“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Yes, God was with them, and He was their mighty fortress.
The group reached their designated shelter area, well beneath the hotel. The bunker was divided into two areas, with a narrow walkway dividing the space. The Americans stood across from the group of singers and clapped when their companions finished the hymn. The woman who led the singers turned and stretched out her open palms as if to say, “Your turn.”
The Americans chose a familiar hymn and sang back to the group they learned was from Togo. Taking turns, they passed the hours singing to each other, not knowing what was happening above them.
The DeArmond’s sons had called days earlier. They had an uneasy sense their parents needed to secure their return from Israel. The three grown sons went in together to purchase two more tickets with another airline for their folks in case they needed a backup route.
Sunday, one day after the initial attack, Deb and Ron found a driver who was willing to take them to the airport. The driver became concerned when the highways were eerily vacant. “You don’t understand. Our weekend is Friday and Saturday. Sunday is a workday. These roads should be jammed with traffic.”
While the roads were empty, the Tel Aviv airport Deb and Ron entered was crammed with people. They’d stood in line with hundreds of others for 45 minutes without moving an inch. Ron turned to Deb and told her to stay put while he went to see if another ticket counter could help them.
The Pink Sweater
Deb continued to stand alone in the crowd when she felt a gentle tap on her back. She turned to see a petite woman in a bright pink sweater.
“How can I help you?” the woman asked Deb. She wore street clothes with no badge.
About that time, Ron returned to say he’d come up empty-handed. Deb nodded toward the woman. “She asked how she could help.”
“Why don’t you have an airport badge or uniform? Deb asked.
“If I did, I’d be mobbed and unable to help anyone.” She reviewed their itinerary and requested they wait in line while she went to the service desk.
The small woman cut through the crowds and secured tickets for Deb and Ron within minutes. She ushered them through the crowd to head immediately to the plane that was ready to depart for the United States. They didn’t understand how she had worked so quickly and why she had picked them from a throng of others.
Deb and Ron settled in their seats. As the plane took off, Deb noticed tears streaming down Ron’s face. “Babe, what’s wrong?”
“Last night, I dreamed that a woman in a pink sweater would help us today.”
Ron and Deb’s sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren embraced them at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. The Tel Aviv Airport canceled all departing flights shortly after they left.
I asked Deb if she had anything to add. After clarifying a couple of details, she wrote, “Under the circumstances is often an indication that things are proceeding—but not as one might have hoped or expected. As Christ followers, we are not immune from unexpected or difficult experiences in our lives. Yet, we are under the watch of our heavenly father, and when there seems to be no way, He makes a way. Was the woman in the pink sweater an angel sent by God? Ron and I are certain of it.”
Please, continue to pray for Israel.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our GodHere’s the incredible story of God’s presence and provision for my friends who were in Israel Oct. 7. #AmazingGrace, #AngelsWatchingOverMe Click To Tweet
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1 NIV).