Sunday, July 30, 2006

MIRACLES
Pastor Andy Wilson of La Crescenta Presbyterian Church preached today about the purposes of God's discipline and punishments (plagues in Egypt as example and Hebrews 12:7-11). He talked about his belief that God does indeed work miracles and punishments through the lens of his earthly creations. I myself have always viewed the "supernatural" as being natural with a push, either from God or Satan. That either will use the clay of our physical matter, but not necessarily following the rules of our current understanding of physics.

I want to set down some of the miracles that I personally have experienced. Some might view them as logically explainable. I assure you that I was there. I am of skeptical mind. And none of them have an explanation in ordinary terms.

The first happened before I was born. My grandmother grew up without a mother for the major part of her childhood. Consequently when she became a mother herself, her parenting skills were virtually non-existant. She had lots of love. No shortage there. But practical matters eluded her. Thus, when she and my grandfather (who I never met) moved with her infant daughter (my mother) from Missouri to El Centro, California, in an open automobile....in summer....it did not occur to her to shade my mother from the sun. A severe sunburn ensued, resulting in extreme dehydration. It was a miracle my mother lived through that. Only to experience the second "close call".

After settling into El Centro life, my grandmother packed a picnic and went to the great outdoors to enjoy a meal. Twenty minutes after having swaddled my mother in a blanket, my grandmother's picnic was disturbed by my mother screaming at the top of her lungs. My grandmother picked her up and not knowing what else to do, unwrapped her blanket. Caught by the teeth in the blanket was a baby rattlesnake. It had not bitten my mother directly, but some of the venom had dripped on her skin. She carried that scar for many years.

My first miracle that I remember happened when I was 16. I was driving east on the 101 from Agoura Hills to Reseda on a Sunday afternoon after a wedding. I was in a dress, pantyhose and low heels. My car was a Toyota Corona that I had been given when my father bought my mother a new car. I was in the third lane. There was considerable traffic and quite a few semis on the road. I was going about 65 when my car started to slow. It did not occur to me to put the car in neutral. Cars behind me began to honk as I went from 55 to 45 to 25 to a dead stop just before the Canoga exit. Uphill to the Canoga exit. In the third lane. Sitting dead in the water, so to speak. I was terrified. But at some point soon after stopping, a very strange calm came over me. The cars and semis whizzing around me did not seem to be going all that fast. I opened my door, got out and started to push my car. Uphill. To the freeway side shoulder of the onramp. I crossed over two lanes of traffic, pushed the car onto the small space between the onramp and the slow lane, got my purse out of the car, locked it up and walked down the onramp. Farrells Ice Cream Parlor used to be there. I walked past Farrells, still feeling this odd calm, to the gas station pay phone next door. I went into the booth, pulled out a dime and called home. I felt the calm all through the ringing of the phone. When my father answered the phone, the calm left me and I broke down into tears.

When the car was finally returned and parked in front of our house, on flat ground, I tried to push it up the street. I couldn't budge it. At all. I tried. And I had sneakers on at the time, not slippery low heels. Plus the ground was flat and not uphill. I know you're thinking, like myself, "adrenaline rush". But that calm I felt was so soothing and so peaceful. It was palpable. Like a presence blanketing me. I believe it was God.

It turned out that what had happened to the car was the needle in the carburetor that regulates the gas flow, broke off and fell to the bottom of the chamber. Thus no gas was able to flow. I was told that this was an extremely rare thing for a Toyota to experience. After it was supposed to be fixed, my mother took me to pick it up. On the way home, smoke poured out the back and I was pulled over by a police officer who said I could not drive the car in this condition. It was not fixed. After what I had been through, my temper heated up. My mother followed me back to the mechanic. I marched up to the manager. He was with another customer and said I had to wait. Something about this experience boldened me, and I, in no uncertain terms, let him have it right then. The customer he had been talking to, took off. My mother later told me that she was astonished at how strong I had been with the mechanic. It's an ability that has served me well in other instances and one I would not have at all if not for this experience.

There are more.