She noticed him sitting by the side of the pool. He had shoulder-length sun-streaked hair and a contemplative look on this face. He sat alone, with his feet dangling in the water. Behind him, couples and singles crowded the swim-up bar and others strolled around the sprawling deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. In the distance, waves rolled lazily in to the shore and lapped at the white sand, inviting sun-soaked visitors to wade out into the turquoise-blue water.
She peered at him over the top of the otherwise engrossing novel she’d been reading. This was a weekend away with her friends; a time to relax and reconnect—and to take in deep breaths of the salty air. It was good for her soul. But the stranger had distracted her from her self-imposed therapy. She knew she hadn’t seen him before, but she was drawn to him like she would be to an old friend or to her long-lost brother. She fought a compulsive urge to walk over to him and pick up on a conversation that they had never started. She resisted, of course, since she was quite sure she had never met this man.
Soon, her friends announced they’d had enough sun for the day and were going up to their hotel rooms to get showered and dressed for dinner. She reluctantly packed up her book, sunblock, and towel and followed them inside. They were probably right; a sunburn would not be a pleasant addition to this weekend away.
Later that evening, they decided to check out the club on the main floor of the resort. The music was loud and the lights were dim. Cocktail tables filled the upper balcony that circled the lower dance floor and most were packed—except for one table at the back near the wall. The stranger was sitting there alone. Again, he looked like he was deep in thought. She again resisted the urge to go and sit with him.
After over an hour of broken conversation over the roar of the crowd, she slipped out to go outside and call home to say goodnight to her husband. She sat alone on the now vacant pool deck and made the call. As she listened to her husband’s soothing voice telling her about his day, she saw movement to her right, by the entrance to the stairway to the beach. It was the stranger again. This time, he was walking with his hands in his pockets. He walked casually around the far side of the pool and through the entrance to the lobby.
She told her husband about him. She tried to explain that there was something strangely familiar about the man—that he seemed like someone she knew, even though she didn’t—and that it seemed no one else took any notice of him. It was like they couldn’t see him at all.
That night, she fell into blissful sleep. The water and the sun had exhausted her. In the middle of the night, as she slept, she had a dream. The man approached her in her dream and sat across from her at a table. “I am an angel,” he said. He looked at her kindly and his expression invited her to respond.
She sat quietly, trying to comprehend the reality of the moment, and yet somehow knowing she was asleep.
“Do you have any questions for me?” he asked.
“Well, I guess if you’re here and I get to ask you anything,” she said, “I’d like to know how to avoid these blow-out arguments I keep having with my husband.” She smiled apologetically at the angel, wishing she’d come up with a more consequential question.
“You fight because you argue from the arena of the lie,” he said, as though his meaning should be as clear as the ocean water.
“I don’t quite understand,” she said.
“When you believe a lie, like ‘He doesn’t really love me,'” he said, “you are standing in the arena of the lie. Every question you ask from that place, and every defence you offer, will cause more confusion and more pain. You must learn to stay silent and ask the Master to take you back into the arena of the truth.
She thought back on the last argument she and her husband had had. It was true, something had caused her to fall from her place of certainty and start to doubt the things that she had come to believe. In that place of doubting, she had lost her perspective—she had lost her vision of reality. She had lost hope.
“The next time an argument begins,” he continued, “simply ask Jesus to remove you from the lie. Enter back into the truth for that moment, and then speak to your husband from there. For that is the place where all truth can be brought to the light, and truth is what will bring you freedom.”
She awoke to the grey-purple of the pre-dawn sky outside her ocean-view windows. She lay still in her bed as the ocean waves continued their rhythm down below and she thought about the angel in her dream. And she wondered if she hadn’t just been a part of something profoundly beautiful; an encounter with a heavenly creature that she had actually known all her life. The more she thought about what he had said, the more she realized how true and how simple his words had been.
She closed her eyes and whispered a prayer as she fell back asleep. Keep me in the arena of your truth.
Little did she know, this simple prayer was about to alter her whole life. It was one she would utter a thousand times. One that she would share with others, and that would change their lives too.
When she left for home, she purchased a silver necklace with an ocean-blue pendant. Every time she wore it after that day, she would remember that day by the beach. She would remember her friends and the crystal-clear water. And she would remember the face of an angel.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —Yeshua, 2,000 yrs. ago