Divine Interventions

– Cheri Appel

Palm Desert, CA

Recently, my good friend, Ann, and I started to include Ned in some of our activities. We knew from what neighbors told us that Ned had lost his beloved wife just a year ago and was still in the grieving process. So to help alleviate all the meals eaten alone, we started to invite Ned to join us in some of the evening meals we shared now and then. Both Ann and Ned were avid movie watchers, so about once per week we arranged “dinner and a movie night.”

After a few of these get-together meals, I began to be offended and somewhat upset by something Ned said at least once per evening. I thought he was insensitive, self–centered, and thoughtless now and then. After one such evening, I found myself texting Ann that I didn’t think I would be participating in events that included Ned any more. I wanted to keep him “at arm’s length” and avoid conversations with him as much as possible.

Ann encouraged me to talk to Ned about the remarks I found upsetting instead of avoiding him. So, realizing that my Christian witness was on the line with these two friends, I responded to her wise and gentle push by saying I would pray that God would provide both the opportunity and the words to talk to Ned. This “talk” had to happen within a few short days, as Ann was already planning our next dinner and a movie night for that weekend. The next morning I saw Ned outside, walking around his house and I considered going over to talk to him. However, a clear thought came into my mind, “No, I will bring him to you.” I recognized that as a direction from God and did not go over.

A day later, I was driving home, not paying any attention to the time. I was hungry for some supper. It had been a long day. I was not up to the effort of cooking my own meal in the kitchen at home. On impulse, I pulled into a pizza place on my route, and ordered a Hawaiian style pizza to go. After paying for it, I sat outside, occupying myself until the pizza was done and my order was up. At least twenty minutes went by, and most likely more, when I finally realized that folks who had entered the pizza place after me were now walking out with their food to go. So I stepped inside to find that my pizza was up and ready.

Continuing to drive home with the pizza, I saw Ned coming down our street in his vehicle. Our cars met just outside my driveway and I rolled down my window to wave. Ned rolled his window down for a brief conversation. He was headed out to get some supper, so I invited him to share my pizza. God continued to answer my prayer providing the words as we had our dinner conversation and cleared up some misunderstandings.

I can’t help but think about God’s undeniably perfect timing again: if I had just gone straight home, or sat waiting at the pizza restaurant for a different amount of time; if Ned had chosen to head out for supper just a few minutes earlier or later; God is good all the time! He answers our prayers when we ask according to His Will. Oh, and by the way, I found out that evening that Hawaiian style pizza is Ned’s favorite.

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— Thelma Tarbox

Saunderstown, RI

Examples of Divine Intervention which I have experienced:

1. Several years ago I was driving to church on four-lane Route 1 when a pickup truck passed me. Out flew a saw horse. It bounced ahead of me. I KNEW IT WOULD HIT ME! But at the last possible second, it swerved and struck the guard rail.

2. I parked my car by the bowling alley’s rear entrance and walked through the corridor leading to the lanes. Inside, I passed a young man who said, “Give me some money.” I ignored him.

Returning from the rest room, I saw a large man also walking out. I closely followed him,

almost scuffing his heels. As I expected, the young man was waiting by the door. I hopped into my car. Our eyes met. His couldn’t have been more hate-filled.

3. I was at Rhode Island Hospital in a waiting room with other women scheduled for a free examination. An older woman entered and I got up, offering her my chair. A young man walking past the door apparently fainted and fell across the chair I had vacated, and the other woman not yet occupied. Neither of us was hurt.

4. Several years ago, I was in Providence on an errand for my husband (a hot day). The car window was open. I was waiting for the red light to turn. Suddenly, a wild-eyed man brandishing a knife appeared at the window! The light turned green. I slammed on the gas pedal and zoomed to safety!

5. A few years ago, I was returning from work and had just driven from Rt. 138 to Rt. 1A. A car came from Heffie’s Filling Station, zooming across the road in front of me. I slammed on the brakes. My skid marks remained several weeks.

LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS…

EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE.

  • Matthew 28:20b

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— Cheri Appel

Palm Desert, CA

In the process of emptying out a buffet that I had advertised for sale, I came across some paperwork with the name of an acquaintance. Ed lives down the street from me. He was an art appraiser prior to retiring and helped me evaluate a few screen prints a year ago. I hadn’t thought about Ed for a while, and certainly had forgotten his name, as we rarely cross paths. So with that renewed memory in my brain, I threw the paperwork away and continued with the task at hand.

That evening I was enjoying one of our community’s pool and spa with my next door female friend. After soaking and talking for quite a while, I was surprised to be stung by a bee in my upper arm. In the distant past I have had serious swelling from bee stings, and so became quite concerned right away. An old Native American treatment of wetted tobacco pressed onto the sting area and held there with a bandage had worked for me before. I immediately began thinking about what nearby neighbor was a smoker, and would be up at that hour of the night.

As my friend and I quickly drove home from the spa, we passed Ed’s house. I could see lights on and the flicker of a TV screen. I knew from our connection a year ago that Ed was a smoker. Knocking at his door at the late hour caused some concern within the house. However, after introducing myself and being able to mention Ed’s name and how I knew him, I was invited in. I apologized for disturbing them, and explained my situation with the bee sting. When I asked for a cigarette in order to use the tobacco, Ed graciously produced one. His response was swift and caring. I thanked him and was on my way.

At home, applying the tobacco to the bee sting area and securing it with a band aid, I thought about how God had that very afternoon reminded me of Ed’s name just hours before He knew I would need it. Once again I was reminded that God is good all the time, and His timing is perfect as He cares for us.

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— Donna S. Bond

Shiloh SDB Church, NJ

“Our old house burned down.” Thus my husband greeted me one frigid January day in 2014.

With shock and dismay, we drove to view the damage. The roof, held in place by 170-year-old timbers, was intact. But between those timbers was empty charred space where our children’s bedrooms had been. We had bought the handyman’s special as newlyweds, brought our new babies into it, and spent most of 25 years making it as comfortable and presentable as the budget would allow. Then in 2000, with a son in South Korea with the Air Force and a daughter starting her final year of college, we found a charming Tudor-style house in town — smaller, 100 years newer, and closer to our jobs and the pharmacy.

Energetic young parents of a two-year-old were excited to buy our old farmhouse and began to renovate it, hoping to fill some of the four bedrooms with more children. The tired old house took on new life under their regime; the empty bedrooms did not.

We grieved the new owners’ loss as well as our own sweat equity and were greatly relieved to learn that the blaze was not a result of any of our amateur electrical projects.

The community rallied around the family who had been left with a garage, two dogs, a rabbit and hutch, a mailbox, two bikes, and a sundial. Fund-raisers were held and household goods were collected. A temporary home was offered from someone’s estate.

In a few weeks’ time, the charred timbers became a pile of rubble which mercifully was bull-dozed. Grass was planted on the site and a new septic system replaced our three cesspools, satisfying the township code.

The family celebrated our Savior’s birth in a brand-new rancher on the spot where I had once hung diapers every other day. Speaking of diapers….a brand-new baby daughter joined the family mid-way through the ordeal — joining her 16-year-old brother!

As I ponder the events of this tragedy and new life, I am reminded of God’s promise…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning…” (Isaiah 61:3b KJV).

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