I once over heard a man say-“There are no coincidences. There are only minor miracles.”
We hear about miracles from time to time. A miraculous recovery or escape from sure harm. Many, if not most of us, have experienced a dramatic providential event that can be called a ‘miracle’.
These miracles are easily recognizable and usually undeniable. Receiving help, comfort, and strength in this way can help us to feel gratitude.
But, I came to realize, that if we always have an attitude of gratitude, we will see the miraculous hand of God working in our lives everyday. There really are no coincidences.
In 2005, barely a month after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the weather folks had more bad news- Hurricane Rita was coming to town. The weather folks had been dead-on with Katrina- almost magically predicting it would hit New Orleans before it had even hit Florida and entered the Gulf. And sure enough it did.
So when they said Rita, was going to roll into the mid- Texas coast as a cat 4 or 5, people took it serious. Like 5 million people serious loaded up and began hitting the road at the same time. Our adventure through that ordeal showed me that indeed the miracles of God, big and small, are there if we will only see them.
We had decided to go to my wife’s grandmothers house, which was about a three hour drive inland. My mother in law and oldest daughter decided to leave the evening before, going to head up 288 and 45, but returned later because her air conditioner started acting up. So they rode with us up Hwy 36 the next morning.
Traffic wasn’t bad for a bit, then it got progressively worse. Soon we were crawling up the road in the Texas heat. When we got to Wallis, our group spotted a Dollar General and, over my objections, decided to stop in.
After the shopping trip, we resumed the crawl up the road. After several hours on the road, the little Ford Escort I had driven was getting low on gas. All the stations we had passed were predictably sold out. As we neared Bellville, just as we were approaching a convenience store, here came a gasoline truck.
After filling up both vehicles, we found that the long day on the hot road had weakened the battery on the minivan and it wouldn’t start. We didn’t have cables. I ran into the store, which looked like it had been raided by a mob which it had, and asked the lady where the jumper cables were. She laughed. “If there was any, they would be on that shelf” she pointed.
She was right. There was nothing on the shelf. Then, I saw a red wire sticking out behind some sacks of charcoal. It was jumper cables, a thin cheap pair, but they worked.
At 1 in the morning, we crawled into Brenham, 13 hours longer than it normally takes. After we got past 290, I spotted a little parking lot by a soccer field. We were exhausted, and we pulled in to rest. After about hour, we decided to head back out. The battery was completely dead, and the little cheap cables couldn’t get it.
We had passed a Walmart on the other side of 290 so I decided to go back into the chaos to get a battery. When I got to the Walmart, the Red Cross had set up a center in the parking lot. I estimated there was about three thousand people there. I went to the restroom and it looked like there had been three thousand people in there. I looked around and caught a glimpse of what it is to be a refugee.
In the automotive section, there was ONE battery on the shelf. I didn’t know if it would fit the van, they come in different sizes, but there was no others to choose from anyways.
It was the right battery, and we hit the road. Somehow, surreally, there was hardly any traffic the rest of the way. We came across a country store that hadn’t even been affected, filled up and got snacks. As we neared Crockett, we crossed over I45. I looked down and saw a parking lot. Traffic was stopped. People were milling around.
We rolled into grandma’s at 6:30 in the morning, 21 hours after leaving on a trip that normally takes 3 hours.
I could have slept all day, but I woke up after a couple of hours and felt like I should go fill up the vehicles, even though they were still not too low. I thought maybe I was concerned about the storm knocking out power.
Rita took a turn east and weakened greatly. She made landfall in Louisiana as a cat 2.
Later that evening I went to the store to get some milk, and the mobs from 45 had found Crockett. There wasn’t a thing left, including gas. I saw a little girl run up to the cashier with a crushed ripped loaf of bread, ecstatic she had found it. I walked outside and saw a man standing by his car at the empty gas pumps, weeping.
I knew the miraculous hand of God had brought us here, watching and directing the whole way. How many coincidences had there been? The gas truck, jumper cables and battery were obvious, but there was so many others.
My mother in law’s car a/c. If it hadn’t broke, they would’ve been in that 45 parking lot. People died, were victimized, and never got where they were going on that road.
The pit stop at Dollar General. If we hadn’t stopped there for 30 minutes, we would have missed the gas truck later. And even though it wasn’t life or death, without my waking up with an obsession to get gas, it could have been days until we could have gone home.
I think the biggest miracle of all was the storm weakening and turning. It could’ve been a tragedy of historic proportions if a category 5 hurricane had followed the predicted track and rolled up on the millions of people stranded on the roads.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Don’t give up on the miracle before it happens. Know that God is ready to perform that miracle, no matter how small, when you need it.
There are no coincidences.