Angels Among Us

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

I clearly remember Christmas Day in 1967, when Paul Crume–in his popular daily column featured for three decades in the Dallas Morning News–professed his belief in angels. Oh, he acknowledged demons, too, but this day he wrote of angels.

It was a heart-warmer, and his column was applauded so widely by Christians, the newspaper has run it each Christmas Day since. Doubters might just as well stop reading this column right now. I believe in miracles, too, even more fervently upon learning what happened on December 30, 2011, a mere five miles from our home.

Who knows? If we’d listened carefully, maybe we would have heard the rustle of angel’s wings.

Probably no sycamore tree in history is better known than the one Zacchaeus scaled in Biblical days to get a better view of Jesus. Surely whatever other purposes it served fade in the brightness of its ultimate sacred destiny.

The same seems true of a giant cottonwood, stretching skyward for 100 feet and attaining at least 100 years on earth before its monumental worth was known.

On that fateful December day–its center core rotted away–the tree became central in the restoration of health to a ravaged nine-year-old named Annabel Beam.

At the edge of death more than once during her four-year battle with a condition called pseudo-obstruction motility disorder, Annabel summoned strength that day to climb the big tree with her older sister Abbie. Soon after reaching the three-story-high limb, a cracking sound was heard. In their haste to get down, Annabel tumbled into what they’d called a “cave.” It turned out to be much more–it was instead a dark, rotten tunnel leading to the tree’s base. She fell 30 feet downward head first, lying motionless while Abbie summoned their mom.

What to do, rescuers wondered. Little did they know they were to be inspired servants during the five-hour ordeal in which Annabel says she saw Jesus and sat in His lap. She added that an angel in the tree helped her attach the harness lowered by rescuers. Annabel was airlifted to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, where doctors were dumbfounded. Falls such as hers often are fatal, or at the very least, cause serious injury.

Not so for Annabel. She was not injured, and no longer had any disease symptoms, either.

Boston Children’s Hospital doctors who had treated Annabel dozens of times were likewise baffled.

Soon, she was back in school, gaining strength, no longer requiring ANY medication. None. Period. Now 13, she’s taken no medicine since “the miracles.”

Mother Christy has journaled much of the pilgrimage, and friends urged her to write a book. She did. It has been on the New York Times’ best-seller list since the movie’s release. The day the book was released, a storm came through, claiming the big cottonwood. It now stands only about eight feet tall, with more than 90 feet resting across several smaller trees below.

My wife and I visited Christy, who, with husband Kevin, continue to live on their 30-acre place near Burleson. They’ve relied greatly on their faith, Christian friends and their pastor, Dr. Scott Sharman.

They are committed to living as normally as possible. Their daughters–Abbie, Annabel and Adelynn–are now ages 16, 13 and 11, respectively, and attend Joshua schools.

Kevin is a veterinarian in Alvarado. He’s forever bringing home stray animals, so the “pet population” at their house changes often. Needless to say, he likewise lives like every day is Thanksgiving, and he, too, believes in angels.

Miracles from Heaven is a “must see” movie. Based on the book, it has grossed more than 70 million dollars. My suggestion: Read the book first. It is written with no embellishment. The movie is a “based on” film, but deviations from the “way it was” are minimal. For either, have tissues at hand, maybe even towels.

It should be noted that Christy “held out” for the name of Jesus Christ be included in the movie. It is.

A final hurrah: Jennifer Garner, “Christy” in the leading role, has said the movie has made her view spiritual matters in a different way.


   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Columns archived at