TITLE: The Accidental Miracle
By Alice Lewis
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I had grown up in a Christian home and was familiar with scripture and the teachings of the church. Where is says in the Bible. “ Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you”, Matthew6: 33 (KJV) I only gave mental assent to that truth. My attitude was a little like Job’s; I had heard about you before, ---.” Job 42:5 (New Living Translation)
All that changed one cold January day back in the early seventies. The weatherman predicted that by the following morning the temperature would plummet to –30 degrees, Farenheit. It was going to be one of those bitter cold Minnesota winter nights that make the houses creak and pop, as the temperature continued to drop.
We were a young married couple with small children, and we found ourselves in a desperate financial situation. My husband was an owner of a small independent gas station. Because of the gas price wars, we were loosing the business, as were many of the other independents. We bought the gas from the wholesaler for $.17 cents a gallon, and were forced to sell it to the consumer for $.19 cents a gallon. The two cents profit was eaten up by the overhead. There was nothing left for us.
My husband took a second job, thereby working 18 hours a day, just to put some food on the table, with very little for anything else. On Friday nights, when he got his paycheck from his second job, he would buy two five-gallon cans of fuel oil for our furnace. That had to last all week. But this particular week, we could afford only one. And the weather was against us.
It was 6:00 A.M. Tuesday morning. I was preparing my husband’s breakfast and lunch for work, when the furnace sputtered, then died. It was out of fuel oil. There was no other choice. My husband had to leave for work. I was left on my own to deal with the emergency.
I went into the basement to start a fire in our wood-burning stove. However, there were only a few pieces of firewood left. I knew that this fire would keep us warm for only a few hours. After that, the house would start to feel the effects of the outside deep freeze. How was I going to protect my children?
As I sat in front of the stove and placed the last pieces of firewood into it, I cried out to God in desperation, “Lord, we are entirely at your mercy. Maybe you could make it be not so cold. Or you could give us tough hides to see us through this. My help is in you.” I also prayed, “Jesus, you promised you would never leave us comfortless. You promised when you went away that you would send us another comforter. If I ever needed a comforter, it is right now!”
Little did I know what I was asking for since I was thinking in terms of a warm blanket, or physical comfort.” But He sent the Comforter, The Holy Spirit, in a special way.
I felt a surge of energy flowing into me from the top of my head, down to the bottoms of my feet and up again. A few words, in a language I had never heard before flowed out of my mouth. I thought this to be strange, but dismissed it because now I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that we were going to be all right. I knew that God would not leave us comfortless. My little children would not suffer. Whereas moments before I was filled with desperation, now I was filled with joy, and I knew that none of this was my own doing.
I rose up from in front of the stove and started singing and praising, also dancing which I had never done before. I sang all the praise songs I knew and made up new ones when I ran out. “Lord you are my Comforter. You will not leave me comfortless.” This wonderful feeling and unshakable faith stayed with me all day.
Throughout the day the house grew colder. At night I put the children to bed with their snowsuits on and piled on all the blankets we had. I was so filled up and reveling in the presence of the Lord that it never occurred to me to worry that the water pipes in the basement would freeze up.
My husband come home from work about 11:00 P.M., crawled into bed next to me and promptly fell into an exhausted sleep. There was nothing else we could do about the heat. The little electric space heater in the center of the house would have to do.
At 2:00 A.M. I woke to the sound of the furnace fan running. I got up to turn it off since it would be senseless to let cold air blow about the house. I pushed the thermostat lever all the way down, as far as it would go, but the furnace kept running since the house was already colder than the coldest setting. “This is crazy,” I thought.
Next, I went into the kitchen and placed my hands over the hot air vent that was in front of the sliding glass door to the patio. I really don’t know why I did that. To my utter amazement, warm air was coming out of the vent. I sat down on the floor holding my hands over the vent, and looked up into the starry sky. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I cried out, “Oh my God, what are you doing?”
The furnace had been out since 6 A.M. and now it was two o’clock in the morning of the following day. It had started up by itself after having been out for 20 hours. “God, I have never heard of anything like this before. I knew you could maybe moderate the weather. But making an empty furnace run, that’s a greater miracle than anything I have ever heard of. Oh my God, Thank You.”
Next, I went into the basement to check the fuel gage that sat on top of the big, green tank. Sure enough, it read empty, like I knew it would. I tapped on the tank from top to bottom. It was hollow all the way. There was no oil in the tank, yet warm air was circulating throughout the house. I started laughing as I was remembering an old Sunday School song. “Give me oil in my lamp. Keep me burning.” Here’s a new twist, I thought. “Give me fuel in my furnace. Keep me comfy. Oh, God, you are Wonderful!”
I went back upstairs and set the thermostat back up to 70 degrees, then went into the kitchen, sat on the floor next to the vent and continued praising the Lord, as warm air circulated around my body.
The furnace continued to run without fuel until the next Friday before it sputtered out again. But it was payday, and we had money again. Then my husband had to go through the usual process of pushing the re-set button, and bleeding the air out of the fuel line before it could start up again.
Even to this day, I still can’t see this as anything else but a miracle. I have tried to think of possible ways that could explain this phenomenon. But there are none. God was at work.
I learned that God is as present and as powerful today as he was in Bible times. I can now say with Job, I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. Job 41:5
I have also come to realize why God could do that miracle for me. It was because of the way I prayed. But it all came about by accident because I did not plan any of this.
Looking back, I find it strange that I did not complain and whine against God, since usually I was a worrier. I did not speak to the empty furnace and command it to run. I did not anoint it with oil. Nor did I do any of the things people usually do when they think they are earnestly praying. I didn’t pray for God to fix my circumstances. I prayed only for the presence of God. “I need you now Lord. More than ever before.” He honored that prayer.
From that day on, I have felt a special indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Without knowing it, I was fulfilling the command Jesus gave in Matthew 6: 33, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
I’m convinced when we are faced with life’s calamities, that’s how we must pray. We must earnestly seek the presence of God, rather than look at our circumstances. We must seek His Kingdom to be manifested in our lives above anything else. Then we must leave the outcome up to Him. Only then, can God work great wonders and miracles in our lives.
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