We were cutting a load of firewood about a mile west of our house. Usually all the children didn't go with us to haul wood, but this was a fine winter day, so it became somewhat of a family outing. The best firewood, by far, in this area is the Birch tree. Because of the oily bark you can't find dead ones that aren't rotten, so we always cut them green and split them up to dry, or even burn them green. They are hard to find now without going a long way for them, so if we can get one nearby, it is a real treat. We found several a little ways from the end of a logging trail, and to save ourselves some work we decided to hook a cable on the tree and drag it out to the trail to cut it up and load it.
This was almost impossible to do for several reasons. The green log was huge, and very heavy. There was a large bank of dirt at the end of the trail that we had to drag the log over, and we had to do all this with several feet of snow on the ground! We had heavy duty truck tire chains on our 3/4 ton pickup and a big load of firewood on for traction. But even that couldn't begin to do this job without our secret weapon! We have about a 30 foot long nylon tow strap that is strong enough for a tractor to pull out another tractor that is stuck. When you hook it on something, the trick is to get as much slack in it as possible, drive off as fast as you can, and when it tightens up it just stretches so theres no hard jerk on the truck, and it allows you gain the power of the full momentum of the speeding truck to pull out what your hooked onto. It works very well.We had to use a long steel cable hooked onto the nylon strap also, to reach the tree, and we got it as far as the dirt bank and we were having trouble getting it over the bank. By this time I had a good set of ruts packed down in the snow where we were driving back and forth, but it was kind of hard to walk around in the snow, it was so deep. As I backed the truck up to the tree as close as I could get, our Jenny was pulling the cable off to the side so I wouldn't drive on it and get it caught under the truck. Then I got out and checked to make sure nothing had come loose. Jenny was standing about 20 feet, or even farther, off to the side in the deep snow, and the snow concealed the cable so I couldn't see where it was laying. I made a special point to question Jenny to make sure she was clear of the cable, because it was obvious how dangerous it would be if you were in it's way. She assured me that she was clear and safe, so trusting her judgement, I got back in the truck. Jenny's age at this time was in her early teens.
I fully realize what I'm about to describe transcends all natural laws, and I can't expect the reader to begin to comprehend what took place. It's not my agenda to rationalize it all, but simply to testify as to what took place. The log was really stuck, so I had to give it all we had to jerk it loose. I took off with full power and gained good speed before I took up the slack in the steel cable and nylon strap. Remember we had a big load on for traction and heavy duty tire chains. I had to look ahead to concentrate on keeping the truck in the ruts we had made in the snow, but as I felt the cable start to tighten, I quickly looked back, and what I saw was too horrible to describe. Jenny had gotten confused as to how the cable laid in the deep snow, and not only was she on the wrong side of it, but actually managed to be standing inside of a loop of it somehow.
When I looked back she was going through the air at incredible high speed, and the impact and stretch all took place before I could let up on the gas. When the cable tightened Jenny was stretched out lengthwise along the cable, and it had to be completely wrapped around her leg, because the most dramatic part was how she spun around the cable at a blinding speed as it tightened and pulled the loop out that was around her leg. It was completely obvious that the many tons of force on that loop of steel cable would have very easily cut her leg off, and I had no question that is what I had just witnessed. As the stretch in the nylon strap pulled the truck backwards and Jenny began to drop, my head went down for a second. We were still devastated from Jesse's recent disappearance and death. My emotions were as raw and weak as one can imagine, and now to witness my teenage daughter loose her leg...a pain far beyond comprehension passed through my heart as it looked up to God and contemplated His mind and heart as to what was happening, and that moment is imbedded forever in my heart.
I jumped out of the truck and started back through the snow. The very first thing I saw as I came around the truck was Jenny get up and walk...with a very embarrassed look on her face, like, Oh-I hope you didn't notice! We all just stared at her like a ghost. She assured us her leg was alright, and later all we could find was a slight bruise! There is no way I could exaggerate the maneuver Jenny went through. It was absolutely incredible. Her leg should have been completely pulled out the socket just from the jerk. For her not to receive any injury from this was to witness a miracle as plain and wonderful as anyone has ever seen.
My theme in these stories has been, "You can't die until God's purpose is fulfilled...", the same truth applies to all, even though you may not have been told as I was. From the little boy at 103 Knox Street, to this story...how do I think about these events? Well, until recently I had not thought much about them at all. Finally, I learned that not everyone experiences life as we do. It's just been normal, everday living! In many ways they are as mysterious to me as they are to the reader. Certainly God and His ways and purposes are incomprehensible. Since I experienced these events first hand, I don't have to analyze them as someone reading about it and trying to rationalize just what may have happened. I know very clearly these events took place as described, and also often there was a deep spiritual sense of God's presence. It is difficult for me to accept the human language limitations of these accounts, but I have done my best. Also, many more could be added to the list, but for now I will leave it with these. The deepest, and most profound events I have not attempted to write, because they cannot be told in human language and I find it too difficult to accept them as incomplete.
What I really believe is that all of life is truly a miracle as great as those events we occasionally see as abnormal, such as in these stories. We just take it all for granted, for we are all very ignorant and not very bright as to our surroundings. I would like to conclude with a repeat of the Methodist hymn...