God does not use chance when we’re in need of help
A personal note of how God reached down and touched me with blessings to accomplish what I have been able to produce through the grace of Holy Orders.
The first sign that God was calling me occurred on a sunny afternoon while I was still an infant. My mother was wheeling me on Kelly Avenue in front of my grandmother’s house when two neighboring women stopped her so they could see me. While they and my mother were standing looking at me, I was above them looking down on the scene. Of course I didn’t recall this for many years, but the imprint remained in my conscience.
As I grew up different accidents occurred where my life or serious injuries would have changed the direction of my future unless something short of a miracle interceded with the accidents. Let me here clarify the word miracle as far as the outcomes of each incident. At a young age, pre-teen, a group of us were sled riding on a very steep street in Wilkinsburg. Because in those days there were no salt trucks this street was closed by order of the police. However, a visiting music teacher ignored the order and parked his car on the street. As we were coming down on this street that was almost totally ice covered, I began dragging my feet to decrease the speed I was encountering. My friend who was close to me on his sled reached over and bumped my sled with his hand saying quit dragging your feet. Almost instantly my sled moved in the direction of the parked car. I hit the car with a tremendous impact and I rolled on the street unable to catch my breath. It happened that two men collecting ashes from houses picked me up and laid me on a couch of one of the neighbors. They called the police, picked my mother on the way to the hospital and once there the x-rays showed no injury. The doctor said I just had the wind knocked out of me.
To clarify the steps of this incident (without injuries), if I would have had my head raised at the speed I hit the car I probably wouldn’t be here writing this. The possibility of the outcome may have been too gruesome to even think about. Hitting the car like I did without any serious implications leaves one to understand how serious the meaning of God’s protection goes beyond just spirituality.
One afternoon, when we had a snow storm, unlike what we are getting nowadays, we found several of us having a snow-ball fight from two new houses. The one I was on had only a first floor deck with no walls in. The other house was a two-story without any celotex covering that is nailed to the outer studs and both floors being erected made a good rampart for those on that building. I Was backing up while preparing to throw a snow-ball and unbeknown to me I backed into an opening which was for cellar stairs to be installed. As I was falling into this opening I felt I was sliding down a plank, 2” x 10” I believe, but thought I was not on this plank as I slid backwards. I did hit my head on the concrete floor but only got an egg sized bump. One of the neighbor boys walked me home. I was laid up for a few days with ice packs on my head. Had there not been the plank I would have hit concrete with my head without any bracing to limit the fall with some protection. The irony of this is the 10” plank in a 36” opening to be the protection is more than chance. God does not work by chance.
Once after moving to Mt. Lebanon and perking my car in a garage overnight I went to get my car for work (the parking garage is a 6 story structure) and the stairways are exposed to the elements by an opening in the outer walls at each landing. As I was about to turn to go down a flight of stairs a voice told me there was ice. Too late. As soon as I placed my foot on the top of the stairs I was thrown with my feet out and slid down the 11 or 12 length of steps with hardly touching any steps. It was seconds before I hit bottom and I stood up wondering what happened. I wore a very heavy winter coat which absorbed the touching of my back. My head never hit a stair and I walked away with no bruises. Again, nothing by chance.
I have had many falls on ice as I worked as an electrical inspector, but nothing more than skinned knees. My latest fall came on a Sunday morning as I was reaching for a newspaper that was off the walkway at our apartment building and as I was ready to grasp it I felt as though my balance threw me and I ended up on my stomach and said to myself I fell. There are red bricks lining the edges of the walkway and they are laid in a manner that a pointed edge sticks up. From where I began falling to where I found myself is further than I should have landed without injury. I felt two things happen; something caused me to fall more than loss of balance, as if a force pulled me over, but whatever was the cause I was lifted and laid down on the concrete sidewalk with only over a skinned knee. The distance of my travel was further than where I ended up. I have no doubt an angel kept me from a serious injury. Again, chance is not a factor.
With God there are no chance happenings. Whenever people say you sure are lucky ochre chance of that happening again is very unlikely, we need to respond with would you say that maybe God had something to do with this?
Ralph B. Hathaway