Yes, boys, you may go out and play in the rain, but don’t go past the corner at the bottom of the hill.”
Mother watched as 5-year-old big brother and 3-year-old Little Brother splashed down the sidewalk in front of the bungalow on their Singapore mission compound. The daily afternoon showers were always a welcome break from the constant tropical heat, and playing in the rain was great fun for the boys. The street in front of their home was short and safe, about a block long on a gentle slope, with no vehicle traffic, and lined with a wonderful little drainage ditch that carried three or four inches of rainwater when it was full—perfect for wading and stomping and sailing wood-chip boats.
So perfect, in fact, that as big brother and little brother ran and splashed and chased the raindrops they forgot Mother’s warning about the corner at the bottom of the hill. Almost before they knew it, they had wandered onto the bigger street around the corner, with a much bigger drainage ditch.
That big ditch was the reason for mother’s warning. More than once she had read a story in the newspaper about a child swept out to sea in the open monsoon drains that lined the streets of Singapore at that time.
Look out, little brother! But it was too late. Little brother’s 3-year-old feet slid out from under him, and down into the big ditch he went. The water was deep and flowing fast. The concrete sides of the drain were steep. Big brother watched helplessly as Little Brother disappeared under a driveway—came out on the other side—then under another driveway, and down past a tall office building toward the wide boulevard with an even deeper drainage ditch that flowed on to the ocean.
Mother was far away. Big brother had no idea what to do. But God’s guardian angels are never far away, and they always know what to do. Somehow little brother managed to grab a water pipe that crossed the ditch near the tall office building. As he hung on for dear life, a missionary at a desk on the third floor decided it was a time for a stretch. He pushed back his chair and stepped over to the window to watch the rain. Instantly he knew that an angel had nudged him to the window, because below him, in the ditch, he saw a pair of little arms hanging on to that water pipe. In a flash the missionary was out the door, down the stairs, and lifting the little boy safely onto the sidewalk.
Amazingly, little brother seemed none the worse for his near-death experience. Mother wondered why the boys seemed quieter than usual when they came in from their play in the rain. It wasn’t until evening worship time that the whole story came out. “Thank You, dear Jesus,” prayed little brother, “for being with me when I went through the dark places.”
This true story happened more than 50 years ago. Little brother is a grandpa now. His life has led him through other “dark places.” Sometimes he preaches in his local church, and he never fails to praise God for His protection and guidance through all our dark places.
---As told by Louise Wolcott (little brother’s mother) to Dale Wolcott (Big Brother)