Saturday, March 24, 2012


I became a seminary student at the age of twenty-seven. Karen and I had been married seven years. We had two sons aged four and one. Life was simple and hard. Karen worked as a secretary to the professors. Between classes, I labored in the school's wood shop. Our cramped, duplex apartment was subsidized by the Southern Baptist Convention because most students could not have lived in affluent Marin County, California, otherwise.

We were young, not yet embarked on our careers, and making little money. At least one of my paychecks went entirely to childcare; begging the question, why was I working, at all? During that time we went without many things I consider staples, today. Of the things we often did without, goodies topped the list. We simply couldn't afford to indulge ourselves that way.

One fine day, our oldest son asked if he and mom could make some chocolate cupcakes. And believe me, he was not impressed with our sound, fiscal reasons for denying his request. Karen had an idea; why don't we pray, asking God for cupcakes? "Chocolate cupcakes," my son was emphatic. They prayed, and that evening--with impeccable timing--a neighbor dropped by bearing a plate of chocolate cupcakes.

Now, I have to admit, I don't KNOW that Karen did not talk to her friend, who then took it on herself to answer our son's prayer. Frankly, I never WANTED to know the answer. So, you might be forgiven for doubting that miracle.

But there is another incident in our family history of which I am unshakably confident of its divine nature. Years later, the boys and I went camping. We found a spot in the nearby mountains that was absolutely devoid of other humans. In two days we did not see another human or even a vehicle. We enjoyed absolute privacy; an unheard of luxury in Southern California.Yes, it was a fantastic father/son trip.  ...Right up to the moment I locked the car keys in the trunk.

The boys turned in surprise as I let out a howl of despair. I was angry with myself. The nearest road was ten miles away. The nearest dwelling three miles farther. Throwing a tantrum in front of my sons was not going to improve our situation. Instead, I called us together for prayer. We simply asked God to rescue us.

No sooner had we said "amen," then a beat up old Dodge van rolled into the campground. The men inside--from South Carolina, no less--had camped there twenty years previous. On a whim, they decided to drop by on their way back home. How's that for a miracle?

But wait, there's more. These guys were AUTOMOBILE UPHOLSTERERS. They quickly yanked the backseat out of the car. My younger son wriggled through the packed gear to grab our keys.

The cupcakes?  Hmmm... I don't know. I BELIEVE God could have supplied them; no question. Did He? Got me. I DO know an out-of-state van full of automobile upholsterers arrived on cue to rescue us. THAT is nothing short of divine intervention. David Hume, take a hike.

One final thought about the cupcakes. Suppose Karen DID talk to her friend, who decided to answer a boy's fervent prayer? I can tell you this; they were seminary students too. They had children as well. They bore the same financial burden as we. I think its at least NEAR miraculous she had the heart to think of somebody else's children. I believe God did it, either way.


Edie Melson said...

What a great reminder! Thank you for sharing these two incidences. I know that as the years have passed and we're not quite as strapped for cash as we used to be, it's easier to rely on ourselves than to stop and pray. This is a timely reminder as we're about to face a season with two sons in college.

Don the Baptist said...

Now THAT'S how to write an endorsement. Thanks, Edie.

Carol Anne Wright Swett said...

Oh, Don...what an amazing story. See what a little nagging will do? ;-) Remind me to tell you about the time when I was a baby and all we had in the house was a can of Evaporated Milk and a biscuit! said...

Amen and blessed be the name of the Lord Most High!