Story by Luke Schoenhoff
Even if you aren't Christian, God performs miracles (for you) all the time.
I haven't thought about this in a long time...
Approaching mid-December 1979. I was in the US Navy, stationed aboard the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) in San Diego. I lived in Imperial Beach, California.
One evening, I went for a stroll on one of the local piers. The pier was pretty much deserted (it was a bit foggy), except for one lone figure near the end of the pier.
As I approached, I saw it was a young woman a couple years older than me (I was 19). I could hear her talking quietly, to what appeared to me to be no one. As I passed her, she greeted me. I stopped and said "Hi" and asked her how she was doing. She made a bit of small talk (coincidentally, her name was Ruth). She told me something inside her said she should talk to me. I was intrigued and wanted to hear more. We sat on a bench and continued. I told her about myself and why I was in SoCal.
She told me that she was a single Christian mom and she had recently lost her job. Money was so tight, she couldn't even afford a Christmas Tree or gifts for her 2 small kids. She said she had come to the pier (which was a fair distance from where she lived) to be alone and have a conversation with God. She asked Him why things were going so rough for her. She said God told her not to worry, and things would work out. As I had passed her, she had been praying to God. We talked a bit more, and we agreed to meet in a few days.
In the meantime, I had questions.
- What made me go to that pier instead of the one that was 2 blocks from my apartment?
- I could have said "Hi" to Ruth and walked on by. Why didn't I?
- What made HER go to that pier that was farther away for her?
- Even though we had just met, what made her so comfortable that she would share such personal information with me?
December 15 was payday. Ruth and I were planning to get together that evening. (In case anyone wonders, this was a completely 100% platonic friendship and remained that way for as long as we had spent time together.)
We went to have dinner (I paid) and during dinner I had an overwhelming desire to take Ruth Christmas shopping. I told her after we got in her clunker of a car. Her eyes grew big, and then she burst into tears. I was flabbergasted when she said God was keeping his promise to her. That had never occurred to me. I, for once in my life, felt JOY because I was doing something that someone was truly thankful for.
I bought her a real Christmas Tree. I bought her decorations, stockings, gifts for her boys and family. She invited me to her family's Christmas dinner.
The New Year came and went, and Ruth asked me if I wanted to go to a revival with her and her sons. I said sure, not quite sure what to expect. TV had mostly negative portrayals of revivals.
The revival was a lively, noisy, musical, 3-day event. You could feel His spirit in the auditorium. I felt an unusual elation being there. Baptism by submersion happened every night. On the third night, I was baptized. Ruth and I continued our friendship and growth in Christ.
Sadly, Ruth and I lost touch after I returned from a 6-month WestPac (Western Pacific) cruise, and my ship was sent to the drydocks in Long Beach.
I truly believe God brought Ruth and I together for a dual purpose. I was an answer to Ruth's prayers, and Ruth brought me to Christ.
Over the years, I have stumbled many times, but my Faith has never wavered. I met and married my wife, Hope, over 16 1/2 years ago, when I was going through a rough patch in my life. She was also a Christian and was just what I needed at that point in my life. Once again, as with Ruth, God showed me what His love and grace can do.
Thank you for all the miracles throughout my life, Lord!
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