Six-year-old Lucy Mangum was with her parents and sister at Ocrakoke Beach
on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on July 19 when suddenly she was
attacked by a shark. She was playing on a boogie board in only 18 inches of
water when the shark came toward her. Lucy told WRAL.com that she tried to
swim away when she saw the shark coming toward her, but the shark was too
fast. The shark grabbed her right leg and foot within seconds, leaving two
deep bite marks that exposed her tendons and muscle.
Jordan Mangum, Lucy's mother, said, "I heard her scram, and I turned and
immediately saw the shark." She ran toward Lucy, followed closely by Craig
Mangum, Lucy's father, snatched her up and got her to the beach.
Lucy's parents said she remained remarkably calm as they got her out of the
water onto the beach, but said she was asking questions like: "Am I going to
die? Am I going to walk? Am I going to have a wheelchair?"
Lucy's parents assured her that she was going to be okay even though Craig,
an emergency room physician observed that the injuries were pretty severe.
Emergency crews flew Lucy to Pitt County Memorial Hospital.
Her surgeon said she was within a fraction of a millimeter of having her
nerve severed, which would have meant amputation. Ninety percent of her
muscle was severed, as well as 90 percent of her Achilles' tendon, and one
of the main arteries in her leg was severed.
She later underwent two surgeries and is expected to make a full recovery.
But while they were still on the beach, Lucy had another question: "Dad, can
we say a prayer?" Jordan told the WRAL reporters, "We said a prayer for her
on the beach. Her faith and stoicism were a marvel to us."
But then there's yet another marvel. This brave little six-year-old from
Durham, North Carolina who survived a shark attack says she FORGIVES the
shark that did it!
How could she forgive that shark? Perhaps it's because of her parents'
gentle instruction about how sharks look for food along the beach in the
late afternoon. Or perhaps it is because of what she may have learned about
God, who forgives US when we sin against Him.
It was Jesus who suffered the vicious attacks of an angry mob as He hung on
a cross outside Jerusalem. Yet, it was for the sins of the world -
including yours and mine - that He was put on that cross. The only way that
God could save us was for Jesus, the sinless Son of God, to pay the price
for our sins through His atoning death on the cross (1 John 2:2). He died
so that you and I might have forgiveness for our sins and the hope of
eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; Titus 3:7).
We can know this forgiveness and hope when: we place our faith and trust in
Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31),
confess Him before others (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into
Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Forgiveness in the wake of a shark attack - what a marvel that further
endears little Lucy to all of us! May her actions remind us of how much
Jesus loves us as He gave His life for us on the cruel cross, and may His
marvelous love compel us to accept His forgiveness on His terms.
David A. Sargent