“He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 5:9).
My cousin Raymond is like a son to dad, and they spend tons of time together. Raymond is a master mechanic, and tinkering with dad is a treat for both of them. Last weekend their project was to replace the brakes on dad’s dozer. I’m not sure how long they’d been working on it, but mom had told stories of Saturdays spent tearing down, looking for parts, basically getting nothing done, but the two of them having a good time. They had taken side and front panels off the dozer, removed the seat, taken the brakes apart, stripped almost everything off of it. They had removed the gas tank and had it hanging up in the air with a come-along, and dad was using it for a seat.
They get the brake part on and want to test it out before putting everything back if they can, so they try to manipulate the place where the levers should be and put the dozer in gear to move forward. Oops, wrong lever slot – it starts going backwards, right towards a truck worth about $100,000. Dad is sitting on the come-along swinging gas tank, and he can’t reach forward far enough to try to get the lever into the right slot, and his were tangled in all the other parts and he couldn’t get them loose. Right about panic time, somehow dad reaches the brake with his foot and it works! They could have both been run over, or dad flung off the gas tank, the truck destroyed, you name it.
When dad is telling the story, he’s talking about how where he was on the gas tank, he knew he couldn’t reach this or do that, but his mind is racing through all the possibilities of how to stop this train they’ve put into motion. Praise God his mind works! How many almost-80-year-olds can take a dozer apart and put it back together to start with?
One of my favorite songs we sing at church talks about taking back what the devil has stolen, and when I think of this past year, how dad has been restored, I just praise Him! There are so many areas in our life that the devil has stolen - the drugs in this community that have stolen the future of young people, the health of so many, the marriages that have been destroyed and wrecked through selfishness, sinfulness, neglect, the depression that has taken over our state and country. I could go on and on. If we did not have the Lord, where would come our hope? I think the moral of today’s story is that our lives are purposeful – God has a plan for our lives, for all of us! Dad was so close to death’s door, and he was spared, once again – and why? Because God still had work for him to do!
Just a couple months ago, the church my parents attended in Florida closed down, and they gave ALL their possessions (chairs, hymnals, Sunday School literature, toilet paper, coffee pot, literally everything) to our new church here. Mom and dad drove to Florida and brought back a U-Haul full of things that we were desperate for, as we hope to close on the Around the Farm property this week, and we had nothing to put in it, not even the first chair. Nearly 80 years old and still being used of God……oh, how I want that to be my life, to not have wasted a single minute of it, but to know that God has me here for a purpose and He needs me to get to work!
I worked out in the yard all day yesterday, planting flowers, getting my fountain going, the usual spring drill, and the whole time I was out there, I was praying and thanking the Lord for the miracle he performed a couple weeks ago on our property. As I worked on getting things ready to enjoy for the summer, I realized that had God not intervened, we could have been in a place where we never wanted to sit on our porch or relax in our yard because it had become the scene of a terrible tragedy and loss – we probably would have moved just out of emotional guilt and grief.
To give you the background, I’ll tell you about our friend Tommy. Several years ago, I remember telling my Tom that I wish he had some friends, you know, people he could go do things with, hang out with, do whatever it is men do when they get together. All he did was work, go to church and be with the kids and I. He says to me, “What kind of wife would complain that her husband only wants to be with her and the kids? I could be out in some bar somewhere or doing who knows what!” And he was right, of course – what kind of wife does complain about that? That said, I still wanted him to have something other than us. Wives, watch what you wish for!
A little after that, Tom starting becoming friends with Tommy. Tommy went to church with us and was very quiet, but his wife cleaned for us and had become one of my best friends, so Tom and Tommy became more well-acquainted. They have a mutual interest in guns and target shooting, hunting, you name it. Around this same time, our son Tyler bought his first house, and I don’t know what he would have done without Tommy. My parents are extremely good carpenters, so grandma and grandpa were helping him with his remodels, but Tommy was right there for whatever Tyler needed. His gutters were a little clogged, so he thought he might need to clean the spouts out or something. Turned out trees had grown into all his underground piping system and his entire drainage system needed dug up.
Tommy to the rescue. He brought in his backhoe and tractor and spent a good week or two digging up Tyler’s yard, helping him with all of his projects for pretty much the next year. He has done so much for Tyler that you would think he was his father. And the thing is, Tommy does the same thing for his neighbors, people he goes to church with, even random strangers. He is a blessing to so many, it would be hard to keep track of all those who have had assistance on a project or a need by Tommy.
One of the weirdest things happened also – Tommy had this friend over in Ohio who he hunted on his property, and when Tom and Tyler bought this Ohio farm, they hooked up with Tommy’s friend and maybe hunted there, I’m not sure. When Talia began dating her husband Jimmy, we learned that his best friend was a 60-year-old man (that’s who he had as his best man in their wedding), and it was the same guy, Tommy’s friend! Talk about a small world! Tom says Tommy knows everybody – everywhere they go, in town, out of town, doesn’t matter, Tommy knows people there.
I give you all that background to tell you what a servant to others Tommy is – and his wife is the same way – she never stops looking out for people and what they need, and she just quietly slips in to offer her help, to raise funds for Gavin, to notice that a neighbor is sick and may need a meal, or someone at church has a need and she can fill it. They are an incredible couple that we and many others are truly blessed to have in our life.
Back to Tom and Tommy’s friendship – they started going to all these gun shows, and seemed like every time they went somewhere, it involved spending hundreds of dollars! I didn’t realize that gun shows weren’t like a car show where you go and just look at the pretty cars – oh, no, you see guns and you want to bring them home with you! I’ve told Tommy multiple times that this friendship is getting too expensive and it’s about to get nipped in the bud, I’m going to go back to wanting Tom to just stay home.
And now to our latest miracle. Tom and I live on sort of a level knoll on top of a hill, and our property line goes down to the bottom of the hill on all sides, but you can’t really see the sides of the hill, they are so steep. Turns out that this winter, some of the trees that were on our hillside property had fallen and they’d fallen over into someone else’s yard and across their fence. We didn’t even know it had happened as we can’t see down the hill, so it took someone asking us what we planned to do about those trees before we even realized it had happened.
Tommy is an expert tree taker-downer (if that’s a word) and he has helped Tom with trees before at both of our houses. Tom has no confidence that he knows what to do, so Tommy comes up with the plan and they’ll work together to take down what needs down. They had worked over the hill a couple days, and Tom and I were lying in bed and he says, “It is incredible how well Tommy gets around working on those trees, being almost 75 years old. He just scrambles up and down those hills like it’s nothing.”
The next night after he said that, tragedy occurred. They had a tree tied off and Tom was up the bank (very steep) with the rope holding the tree back, and Tommy was down cutting it. They had it angled to fall uphill and all was well – that is, until Tommy cut through most of the tree, and somehow it twisted or something, ripped through the remaining bark and just flew off the stump, hitting Tommy and knocking him down. It put a big gash in the back of his head, and somehow when it flew off, it kind of got attached to him, so Tommy and the tree began to roll together down this steep hillside, rolling, rolling, Tommy describing the tree as right on him, staying right with him. They finally landed in the creek below.
Tommy said he knew when it hit him this was probably going to be his time to go. There’s a term in logging for a bad tree called “The widowmaker,” and that’s because so many get killed in an instant when a tree decides to do something other than what you planned. Can you imagine this happening, rolling downhill with the same tree that could pin you to your death, gouge out your eyes or who knows what? They landed in the creek, and Tommy got himself untangled, stands up almost totally unharmed! He had to get 7 or 9 staples in the back of his head, but his back was fine, his neck was fine, his legs had no damage, his arms were working and not broken, his spleen was not punctured, lungs not punctured, he didn’t have a heart attack, he didn’t have a stroke, no panic attacks, nothing!
Only God protects in this way, keeping a hedge of protection around His people when they’re in danger, when they don’t even have time to pray for themselves. Our friend Helen has been praising God for her miracle that she did not die in her wreck, and she keeps talking about how your life can change in an instant, and that is SO true! I praise God that He is watching over us all the time when we are not even capable of watching ourselves. I praise God for sending Tom a friend that he loves like a brother, a friend who not only helps him with chores, but shares in his hobbies and the things he likes to do, but also a Christian friend who can pray for him when he needs it and encourage him in the Lord – God is so good!
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.