74: Miracle in the Rain

74: Miracle in the Rain

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Miracle in the Rain

Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.

~Satchel Paige

Sometimes miracles are so astonishing they seem to defy the laws of the universe, such as when someone survives a horrific accident without a scratch or a dying person experiences a cure that cannot be explained. And sometimes the miracle comes softly in the rain, and works its magic in a very quiet way.

My mom, brother, sister and I were on our way back from visiting relatives in the country. We didn’t have a car of our own, so Mom had borrowed an old truck from a neighbor. The drive to my uncle’s farm was a long one, deep in the country and far from any major road. The sun was warm on my face as I sat in the back of the pickup with my sister. I was looking forward to playing with my cousins.

We had such a good time visiting that it was near sunset when we finally got ready for the ride home. Dark clouds had begun to stack up in the sky above us. My aunt hugged my mom and told her to be careful driving home. “Sometimes the storms get pretty fierce out here where there aren’t any trees to stop them,” she said.

We rode along for a while and I was just beginning to doze off when I felt the first raindrops splash against my face. I scrambled after my sister into the front seat of the truck next to my brother. With night falling and the rain, it was easy to miss a turn on these dirt roads. Soon we were bumping along hard ground that wasn’t a road, and I could tell by the look on my mom’s face that we were lost.

I watched the rain come down, pierced only a little by the truck’s headlights. Mom drove slowly, and for the first time my brother and sister and I sat silently so she could concentrate. The road got muddy, and the truck slowed down even more. All of a sudden we heard a loud pop as the left back tire fell into a hole. The truck shook, and Mom tried to get it to move again, but it wouldn’t budge. We were stuck in the middle of nowhere.

“Wait here,” Mom told us, as she grabbed a flashlight and stumbled into the torrential rain. She’d left the headlights on and I turned around to watch her struggling with the back tire, kneeling in the mud. She came back after a moment. She was covered in mud and grime. She must have seen how worried we looked, because she smiled and said, “Don’t worry, everything will be all right.”

“Are we near a farm?” my sister Sandy asked.

“We aren’t near anything,” Mom said. “I don’t even think we’re on a road.”

“What are we going to do?” my brother Larry asked.

Mom reached over and gave him a hug. “We’re going to pray. I’ll go back out and see if I can push a rock into the hole so I can drive the wheel out. We don’t have a spare tire, but maybe we can drive someplace for help.”

I felt a knot of fear in my stomach. Then my mom had us fold our hands and bow our hands while she whispered, “Lord, please help my children and me find a way to get back home. We desperately need your help. Amen.”

Then something happened I can’t explain. Lights suddenly came on behind us, and I heard footsteps. A large shadow loomed against the driver’s window, and a hand gently knocked on the glass. Mom opened it, shining the flashlight into the darkness. A man’s face appeared. He was tall, he wore a dark raincoat, and he smiled when he saw us.

“I don’t mean to scare you,” he said in a voice barely above a whisper. “But I saw you were having trouble. If you all will just sit tight, I’ll have you taken care of in a bit.”

Then he turned and disappeared back into the darkness. In another moment, I felt the back of the car lifted up. There was some noise I couldn’t identify, and more movement of shadows behind us. In what seemed an impossibly short time, the man reappeared at the window. This time he was covered in mud and dirt, but the smile on his face never wavered. He nodded at my mom and said, “I think you’re all right to go now.”

Mom started the car and it rolled forward. She stopped and leaned out the window. “Thank you so much. I didn’t see any farms close by. Do you live near here?”

“I’m from around,” he said in that same quiet, friendly voice. “Glad I could be of help. You all have a good trip home.” His eyes locked with mine for a second. “Be safe.”

Then he was gone again, and the bright lights behind us went out. We waited for him to drive on past us, but nothing happened. Mom put her head out the window and looked back. “He’s gone,” she said. “I don’t see a truck or car anywhere.”

Then she turned to us and smiled. She gave us each a hug, and as she did I heard her whisper, “Thank you, God.” We drove home in the rain, safe and sound, thanks to a kind soul who came out of the darkness to save us. It was a quiet miracle for which I’ll always be grateful.

~John P. Buentello

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