I've been reading Peace Like a River, a birthday gift from another son (see iTunes gift card posting). After hearing Leif Enger speak a couple of years ago, I'm happy to report that he is as impressive on the page as he is in person. The book--the story--is great.
The story has gotten me to thinking about "the work of Providence" in the course of daily life. Those occurrences that seem like pure luck, but instead may be the result of some divine handling. Here's an example: Without giving away too much...at one point in the story the protagonist and his family are in need of automobile assistance and find themselves asking for help at a service station that appears closed. Providence is at work as the reader soon realizes. This part of the story brought to my mind a time when I was a young girl (7 years old?) and my family had car trouble in the middle of Wyoming. The car was attended to by a service station in the town of Rock River--which was very small at the time--over the course of several days. There was no Holiday Inn or Best Western for this family of five to check into during this time of automobile convalescence, however. Instead, a room was given to us in the back of the service station. It was the town's only guest lodging. As "Providence" would have it, a waitress in the local coffee shop (which in my memory was also attached to the gas station) had a son about the age of my brother, who was about 9 years old at the time. She had compassion on us and brought a box of comic books to us in our back-of-the-gas-station room.
Those comic books and that waitress's kindness transformed what could have been a bleak couple days into a kind of vacation. I don't remember any angst or handwringing by my parents (whether or not it occurred) at this inconvenient or costly interruption in their plans, What I do remember is the delight of laying on a bed in this cramped room reading a stash of comic books with my older brother. I remember sitting at the counter in the coffee shop getting attention from the waitress. I also remember going to church. My father found out where the church was and we walked there on Sunday morning. I remember that my brother and I grumbled a bit at having to go to a church where we wouldn't know anyone (my sister --who was only about 3 years old--was probably not yet tainted with the sin of grumbling as we were). Nonetheless, we all went and I remember feeling safe and secure sitting in that back row of the small town church. Parents that honored God in the middle of nowhere and a waitress that brought us comic books. Works of Providence.