Some years ago, I knew a young man who drove some 700 miles to give a speech at his alma mater. When he arrived he saw a few old friends including an old girlfriend he dated in school. She was going through a divorce and she had recently been unfaithful to her husband.
They talked for hours that weekend and after all was said and done he got back in his car to drive home. He had a lot to think about on the twelve hour drive. Mostly, he thought about how miserable the lives of so many of the girls he had dated turned out to be.
When he finally went to bed that tired Sunday evening he said a little prayer. He told God he was tired of his life and wanted to settle down. "Dear Lord," he said, "I'm ready for you to send me a wife. I've waited 36 years so could you please hurry up? I need her in 36 hours."
He often joked that way with God. It was as if they were good old friends, although he had not been to church in years. But before he fell asleep he had one last request of God: "Please, just one more thing. Make her a Christian."
He had almost forgotten the prayer and the fatigue by late Tuesday morning. He was at a political event just a few weeks before the big election. That's when he saw the girl wearing the "Bush for President" sticker on her sweatshirt.
Suddenly, he forgot all about the election. He was sure that hers were the prettiest blue eyes he'd ever seen- even if he was a little color blind. When he pointed at the sticker and said "I want one of those" he might as well have been talking about the girl.
It would be a few weeks before he would realize that he first saw her eyes just 36 hours after he uttered his tired prayer. By then they were dating.
One night they were eating some venison the young man had made for her. He had killed the deer himself and skinned it and cooked up a wonderful meal just for the two of them. It was the first time they would talk about religion. She said she had been thinking about going back to church. She invited him to go with her. He accepted.
But that evening they also had a serious talk about the afterlife and the supernatural. The young man shared the story of his only supernatural experience. He told of how he had fallen down on his knees in agony and prayer to God one evening four years before. That evening he lost someone he deeply loved and, although an atheist, he prayed to God to place a hand of comfort upon his shoulder in his time of loss.
In only a few seconds he felt the hand caressing his back like only a loving parent could do. His loved one was gone but his atheism would soon also be gone. It would only be a matter of weeks.