I’ve always been fascinated by fairytales. In the fantastic there is incredible beauty we cannot see, music too sweet for us to hear, epic tales too great for us to experience. It is more than mere mortals can understand. Fairytales teach us to believe that if we just wish hard enough, if we dare to dream a little more, and if we can just believe, we can have it all. The so-called “realists” of today dismiss these efforts as the pointless, naïve musings of lesser minds. But what if they’re wrong? What if we had proof? What if these fantastic things could actually happen in the real world to people you know—your neighbor, best friend, teacher or even the preacher down the street? What if they bore witness to the fantastic intersecting with their ordinary lives?
I’d like to tell you a story—a true tale about a simple preacher man and his wife, desperate and hungry. It was 1938. Homer McSwain, pastor of a congregation in a small mill town in South Carolina, sat in a plain kitchen with his wife Pearl. The preacher and his wife lived in a boarding house. Times were hard and the offering plate had been empty for weeks. The McSwains had run out of food and had no money to buy any groceries. Their stomachs were growling louder than their feeble attempts at positivity. But, Homer and Pearl were made from tough stuff. They never gave up without a fight. Homer told Pearl to make a list of every single food item they needed. Pearl made her list. Then, husband and wife prayed over the list asking for provision—their faith was great.
As soon as they said, “Amen”, there was a hard knock at the door. Homer opened the door and was met by a large man. He carried a big cardboard box. The man’s face was hidden behind the box.
“Is this where the preacher lives?” the man asked roughly.
“Yes, sir. I’m Pastor McSwain,” Homer answered.
“Well, I gotta a delivery for you, preacher.”
The man walked in the small room and set his box on the kitchen table. With no thought to look at the man, the McSwains looked instead into the box. Every single item Pearl had written on her list was in the box. Every. Single. Item.
When they turned around to thank the man, he was gone. Homer sprinted downstairs in hopes of finding him, but instead found the old woman who owned the boarding house. She was in her chair rocking on the porch by the only door in or out of the building. Homer asked her if she had seen the man.
She replied with surprise, “Preacher, no one has come in or out that door in over an hour.”
Wait…what? How is that even possible? All that is written here is true. No one saw the list but Homer and Pearl. The man knocked on the door as soon as the prayer ended. Every item Pearl listed was in the box. The man disappeared. They never saw his face or heard from him again. In our times of desperation, when there seems to be no place to go and no air to breathe, we can be met by the fantastic and the impossible if only we believe.
We are lucky enough to call the McSwains our grandparents. Many nights, before being tucked into bed, Pappa and Nonny would tell their “little girls” incredible stories. Their supernatural encounter with God and one of His angels has not only inspired us spiritually to call upon the Lord, but has inspired us creatively to use this experience as the cornerstone of our story. We believe in this book, because its more than just a story. Angels walk among us, and if we believe, we have the power within us to call on them.
– Susan Alford