I remember the day clearly in my mind. It was a brisk, sunny day. The wind whipped through the light jacket I wore as I walked across the parking lot. I opened my car door and made a mental note to pick up a heavier jacket when I left later that evening for Washington, D.C.
Despite the cold temperature, I sat in my car staring inside the small black box in my hand. After months of saving money each week and searching for the perfect ring, I had purchased the diamond ring that I would use to propose to Kathy.
My plan was coming together. I would work until noon and then drive three-plus hours to D.C., take Kathy out for a romantic dinner to a restaurant that we liked, and propose later in the evening.
Leading up to the big weekend, I thought the reality of the situation might hit me or that I might have concerns about the step I was taking. Staring at the ring, however, I felt a deep calm. I wrote later in a journal that I felt a mixture of excitement and peace unlike I had ever experienced. I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else in the world. It felt like the exact right thing to do at the perfect time and place.
God’s finger prints in our lives
I’ve been thinking about that memory since I read a story about a man who described the moments and situations in his life when he felt touched by God. He wrote how God was at his side during the most challenging moments in his live.
Like many people, I struggle with my faith. I believe in God and I see his blessings every day. I struggle though understanding how God so powerful and mighty would care so deeply for an imperfect wayward, sinner like myself.
Despite the obstacles I put in my own path, I continue to see God’s fingerprints throughout my life. I see the moments, the times, where he’s lifted me up and protected me from my own idiot self. I think we all can point to those type of moments.
Life, death and everything in between
When I think about God’s handiwork, I think of the kid’s births. For example, when Kathy was pregnant with our oldest daughter and her water broke, we quickly got ready to race to the hospital. In our haste to get on the road, we both came close to falling down our small flight of stairs.
Kathy started down the steps. I followed right behind her and my feet went out from underneath me, nearly kicking Kathy’s legs out from underneath her. She could have very easily fallen face-first down the steps and God only knows what could have happened to our baby girl. However, as Kathy tottered on the edge of a step, I was able to grab hold of her waste until we both miraculously regained our footing. I’m convinced that God caught us that day ensuring a safe and happy delivery.
In the same vein, but many years later, God protected us again when we came across a snowy blizzard on the Pennsylvania Turnpike the day after Christmas that caused a massive 28-car pile-up. We went from traveling on a clear, wide open highway one minute to white-out conditions that turned the clear road into an icy mess that left you searching for control. In fact, the snow fell so fast that the wiper blades in my car could barely keep up clearing the snow from the front window.
We rounded a curve and as our luck would have it, a larger SUV lost control and started to veer into my lane. I pumped my brake hard to avoid hitting the SUV, swerved one way and then another, crashing into and kissing the concrete median. We continued on, completing a full 360-degree turn before crashing into stopped car. A third car finished off the crash, running into our rear-end, pushing us into a guardrail.
Kathy and I let out a sigh. We sat motionless for what seemed like minutes. We weren’t sure what to say or do. We looked all around us in amazement. The highway looked like a battle scene. Cars ripped apart, trucks on their sides. When we felt safe, we quickly went to check on other drivers. Most had the same shell-shocked look that we had on our face. Despite a few minor aches and pains, we walked away from the accident without injury. When I reflect on the accident, I’m still not sure how we escaped more serious injury.
The mundane too
Both incidents represent times when God has protected us from harm, but he’s been there too in the good and the bad, the happy and the mundane, the once in a lifetime and the everyday things too.
For example, I find that God has given me exactly what I’ve needed throughout my life. Oh, he hasn’t come through yet with the winning Powerball numbers despite my pleas to donate half my winnings to the Little Sister of the Poor or some other wonderful cause. And on busy days when I struggle to be patient and loving like his son Jesus, he hasn’t parted my modern day Red Sea — traffic on Route 422. Instead, I’ve been forced to make my way home in the onslaught of traffic.
However, when I’ve been unable to go on other days, God’s provided me with an encouraging word or reminder of his love. He’s given me the strength I’ve needed to keep fighting, keep pushing forward, to believe in the power of his word. Bad medical news. A challenging schedule. Conflicting priorities. No problem.
I’m sure that I will stumble again in the future. I know my imperfections too well, but every time I think God has left me, every time I feel like I’m on my own, I learn later that he has in fact been the one carrying me all along and has put me in an even better spot than I could have ever imagined.
In the end, he reminds me that a little faith goes a long, long way. Thank God.