Monday, September 25, 2006

The Mystery of Divine Intervention

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Have you ever wondered about the mysteries of divine intervention? Can you think of a series of events in your life where you had "near misses?" Ever why mysterious things happen?

Here are eight life changing events that could have turned out differently for me:

Incident #1: As a young boy of 9 or 10, we had an above-ground swimming pool with a slide in our backyard. One day, a friend challenged me to slide down on my stomach with my hands clasped behind my back. Not wanting to be "chicken," I said, "WATCH ME!" For some reason, the slide was more slippery than usual that day and I ended up slamming my head at the bottom of the pool, momentarily disorienting me. I came up gasping for air, but was otherwise unhurt. This act of foolishness could have resulted in a broken neck, either killing or paralyzing me. Divine intervention?

Incident #2: One winter night while in college, I had too many drinks and attempted to drive back to the dorms. While getting off a ramp exit, the car spun on black ice and came to a stop after two full revolutions without hitting the rail guards. Incredibly, not only did the car remain perfectly centered throughout, but it was also aligned in the right direction after it stopped spinning! Stunned, I rolled the windows down to get some fresh air, slapped my face as hard as I could and made it to the dorms without further incident. Divine intervention?

Incident #3: One Saturday afternoon, I was careening downtown on 8th Avenue (New York City) on my bike, in a big hurry to get home. A speeding car suddenly shot out from an adjacent street, probably in an attempt to beat the changing traffic light. It was partially hidden by parked cars on that street so I hadn't seen it until the very last second when I instinctively squeezed the brake handles, saving me. Divine intervention?

Incident #4: About to step off the curb on the Upper East Side (New York City), a cab narrowly missed me by a hair. It was so close that I felt the whoosh of the speeding cab pass by. Had I stepped off the curb seconds earlier, the cab would have hit me, possibly killing or at least critically injuring me. Divine intervention?

Incident #5: As a young boy, my job was to mow the lawn. One day, I was pouring gasoline into the lawnmower when I suddenly stopped, jerking the can of gasoline upright, causing gas to slosh up to my eyes. Dropping the can, I ran up to the house screaming in pain, where my mother immediately shoved my head under running water in the kitchen sink. The doctor told her if she hadn't done that, I would have gone blind or in the very least suffered severe eye injury. After applying antibiotics for a few weeks, I was good as new. Divine intervention?

Incident #6: Once again, I was riding my bike in New York City. This time I was going uptown. Seeing that no one was coming my way, I crossed Fifth Avenue when a cab appeared out of nowhere and actually hit me. The collision caused me to fly off my bike, roll on top of the hood and then fall to the pavement. Like Superman, I immediately got up, brushed off my clothes, readjusted my glasses and went on my way but not before reassuring the cab driver that I was okay, if not terribly embarrassed in front of a gathering crowd of gawkers on the sidewalk. Divine intervention?

Incident #7: This one involved flying. I had gone to visit my parents in for the Christmas holidays and rented a small plane for the 400 mile flight from Michigan to upstate New York, taking me across Canada. I arrived tired, but elated.

After enjoying the holidays, it was time to go back to Michigan but bad weather forced me to delay my departure for three or four days. A break in the weather finally came and it was time to leave. Four hours later, I landed in Buffalo, New York to refuel and check the weather. The weather reports gave me no inkling of what was to come that night. So I launched into the sunset, fat, happy and full of fuel.

All was well until I was a few miles from the Canadian/Michigan border. Without warning, everything around the tiny plane turned pitch black, taking me completely by surprise. Squinting out the window, the city lights below me were no longer visible. It took a couple of seconds to realize I had just flown into the clouds, which are completely invisible at night!

I was seized with panic and momentarily lost control of the plane, even screaming at one point that I was going to die that night. The instruments told me I was gyrating in the air, climbing and then descending a thousand feet a minute. Somehow, I pulled myself together and got the plane under control, using what little instrument training I had at that point.

After getting a hold of myself, I focused on keeping the plane right side up and followed the direction of the pink line on the handheld GPS (which a friend had lent me for the trip, saving my life). As quickly as I entered the clouds, I popped out on the other end as if unknown forces delivered me from the darkness of my mother's womb into the clear with the airport right in front of me. I made the worst landing of my life and could hardly walk for my knees were so rubbery. But I was unharmed. Divine intervention?

Incident # 8: I wrote a story called "Blizzard Housecleaning" several months ago which can be found here. Divine intervention?

Food for thought: Everything happens for a reason. We have no way of knowing God's plans for us but regardless of what happens to us, we are being prepared for the future in some capacity.
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