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Mysterious ways
Sudie Crouch

“God works in mysterious ways,” was Granny’s way of justifying just about everything that didn’t make sense.

Usually, it was her way of trying to make an unpleasant situation seem acceptable by some miraculous intervention.

As a child, this was something I didn’t quite understand and Granny’s application varied. It could range from her getting a perfect spot to hearing her least-favorite sister was sick with pneumonia.

No matter how odd or “curious” – Granny’s term – the circumstances were, Granny attributed it to some mysterious divine workings.

One day in my late teens, I was trying to leave college. This was when Truett McConnell had a campus in the Bell’s grocery store center in Watkinsville.

I was tired and ready to go home and it seemed like I had a big neon 411 sign over my head. Everyone in the parking lot stopped to ask me questions.

One lady was looking of the admissions office to finish paper work for her daughter.

Another guy was trying to find a place that was actually in Athens, not Watkinsville.

And the last guy wanted to know if I knew the hours of the Donut King across the parking lot.

I guess I was the only one he saw who looked familiar with the pastry shop.

“Good grief,” I groaned, as I got in my car. “Why are all these people asking me questions! I would be halfway home by now!”

About 15 minutes later, I came across a horrible wreck at an intersection I had to go through.

“See there,” Granny said, when I told her about the accident when I got home. “If you hadn’t had those people stop you, that may have been you. You thought they was a pesterin’ you – you may have been entertaining angels unaware.”

Maybe she was right.

I have had a few other experiences that could only be explained as some sort of divine intervention.

A few years ago, after I dropped Cole off at pre-k, I had someone pull up beside me at an intersection to tell me I had a flat.

I pulled into the closest parking lot and called my husband. When I couldn’t get him, I left a message, telling him where I was.  It was freezing cold and I don’t know the first thing about changing a tire and doubt I could even pop a lug nut off if I had to.

Out of the blue, a man appeared at the window.

“You need some help?”

I’ll admit, I screamed and jumped a little, causing the man to apologize.

“I didn’t mean to scare you. I see you have a flat tire. Do you need some help changing it?”

“I left a message for my husband, but I am not sure if he will get it,” I said, thinking I was stupid for sharing that information.
“Let me check your trunk and see if you have a jack.” I was hesitant, but he even offered for me to stay in my car.

I popped the trunk and he found the jack and spare and went to work changing the tire.

“You’re all set,” he said. “You will want to get a new tire soon though; don’t drive too long on that spare.”

“I can’t thank you enough,” I said. “Can I pay you for your help?”

Knowing me, I probably didn’t have any cash but I had to offer.

He smiled. “No ma’am. It is a God thing. My pleasure to help.”

About that time, I heard the roar of my husband’s truck pull in the parking lot.

“Please – I feel bad that you did that and my husband could have done it.”

He shook his head. “Nope, but I will make sure to mention to your husband about the spare. Is that him?”

I nodded as I waved to get Lamar’s attention.
I rolled down the passenger side window. “Your trunk’s open,” Lamar said.

“Yeah, that nice man changed my tire. He was going to tell you something about the spare.”

Lamar made a face at me. “What man?”

“That man. He was really nice and he changed the tire for me. I offered to pay him but he refused. Do you have any cash on you?”

Lamar straightened up and looked around the parking lot.
“Girl, there’s not another soul in this parking lot. And the business over there isn’t even open yet. You weren’t running the car with the windows up were you?”

“What?...Lamar, I promise you. There was a man. He had on a t-shirt and a pair of jeans….”

“He didn’t have a t-shirt on in this weather.” He walked to the back tire and checked it.

“Your spare’s on but I am telling you, there is no one here.”

“You didn’t see anyone when you pulled in the parking lot?” I asked.

He shook his head. “I saw you sitting here and that was it.”

When I got home, I called Mama to tell her what happened. Granny, quick to grab the phone, answered instead.

“What do you think happened?” I asked her when I finished recounting the story.

“I think that God works in mysterious ways,” she began. “I don’t know why you had a flat today but you may have had a wreck had you gone on up that road. I think that was an angel of some kind. ‘Cause I know your prissy self ain’t gonna change a tire.”

I’ve wondered about that several times over the years. I know there is something much, much bigger beyond us, but would a flat tire really be a divine intervention?
A few weeks ago at work, a client could not find her keys. We looked everywhere. I even rifled through the trash can to make sure they hadn’t fallen in with some papers.

Nothing.

“I am going to be late for work,” she said as we looked under cushions and scoured the parking lot, kicking gravel over in case they fell out of her purse.

“We’ll find them,” I assured her.

We searched for 10 minutes, maybe more. She opened a side pocket on her purse and there they were.
“What the?...” she looked at me in disbelief. “I checked there already and they were not in there. I swear.”

“I believe you,” I said. “God works in mysterious ways though, and for whatever reason, you weren’t supposed to leave just then.”

She gave me an impetuous hug. “I believe that. I really do.”

And I really do, too.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."