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Pleasure Dome Thunder BW

Beach Boys

My dad grew up without a father and endured much abuse at the hands of others. He testifies that from a young age he called out for God to be his Father. He has many amazing stories of how God carried him, even as a soldier battling through the Angolan War. Even though my dad overflows with interesting stories, this one includes me.

We were camping in our caravan tent at a beach in South West Africa (now Namibia) about 50 km north of Walvis Bay. The beach, known as Jakkalsputz, was a great place for fishing vacations. I was about nine years old and it was Christmas day. While the adults prepared lunch, us boys played ball. Since the beach at the waterside was much too sloped, we played higher up on the soft, level sand.

Every now and then, the misfielded ball rolled down the slope, across the beach, and into the sea. Being my turn to fetch, I ran towards the surf, happy as can be, eye on the ball and oblivious to the approaching danger. I was struck down by a Land Rover cruising at high speed on the hard shore.

When I came to, I saw blood everywhere and people standing around me. They offered to carry me but I declined, telling them that I’m fine and I’ll walk. However, upon attempt, I was too dazed to do so.

As the local doctor was also camping nearby, he drove us to his office in town while my dad held me. Along for the ride was a police officer who hounded my dad to make a legal case against the driver of the Land Rover. Although the policeman was most persistent, his legal advice was declined. My dad steadfastly refused to make a case, instead forgiving Mr. Paulsen even while I was bleeding in his arms.

At the doctor’s office, I was stitched up and able to return to our Christmas meal shortly thereafter, though the festive spirit had certainly been extinguished.

I can only try to imagine the horror as the other boys watched me run to get the ball that day. Standing further away, they must have noticed the Land Rover approaching and seen that I was totally unaware, running to my death. Perhaps they even tried screaming to get my attention—impossible above the din of crashing waves. If I had run a split second earlier or faster it would have been a head-on collision. Instead, I smacked into the Land Rover’s side, where one of the tarpaulin hooks tore the back of my ear. That’s where all the blood came from; no other harm was done.

Mr. Paulsen was immensely remorseful and grateful for my dad’s forgiveness. He invited us boys to help ourselves to the huge stash of sodas under his caravan at any time. As an atonement gift, he bought me a huge, bright-orange acrobatic kite with an aluminum frame, twin control lines, and a very long tail.

Over the next few days, my dad noticed the policeman wasn’t letting the matter go and was making other plans to press charges. My dad advised our new friend to rather pack up and quietly leave. Lacking understanding about legal matters, we were sad to see that stash of sodas vanish so soon.

Even though my dad nearly lost his son and perhaps still fought concerns about undetected internal damage to me, he forgave this man and blessed him further by warning him of imminent danger from the overzealous lawman.

My dad exhibited that which his heavenly Father had imparted to him: forgiveness, kindness, friendship, and love. Although I was the accident victim, I’m thankful to have been taught God’s grace and love by my earthly father.

Much later in life, with children of my own at roughly the same age as me during the beach accident, I remembered the man who had bought me that acrobatic kite. I then also forgave Mr Paulsen for causing that accident which nearly maimed or killed me. I’m glad to report that my heart is clean and full of joy toward him.

Read what Jesus said about forgiveness in the book of Matthew:

But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.

Matthew 5:44-45 — World English Bible

And in the book of Luke:

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for He is kind toward the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.

Luke 6:35-36 — World English Bible