This book is full of stories of amazing coincidences and divine intervention. The book is not very long and is a quick read. It is not one of my favorites (and I have lots of favorites), but if you need encouragement in terms of starting something new or continuing on in something, this book is for you. I picked this up as part of research I am doing for my book Circumstantial Evidence where I reflect on the role that circumstances play in hearing and discerning God’s voice. [not the audible kind but the still small voice in our spirit].
SQuire emphasizes in the introduction that even though there are many amazing stories in this book, the stories are not about the people in the stories. The book is about you. [Very 1980ish!] In spite of the hype, he really wants to help you do things you have never done before. I am not sure the book will help me to do wingsuiting, but I still felt very encouraged by the book to step out into some new areas and to continue on in some difficult areas.
Let’s start with a definition of a godwink from my perspective. A godwink is a signpost of encouragement and reassurance. They are like those winks you got from a Dad or Grandparent that says: “Hey kid! I’m thinking of you right now. Hang in there.” You will fully understand it when I recount some of the stories. Later in the chapter 3 he defines a godwink as: “A personal signal or message directly from God, sometimes as an answer to prayer, and often labeled as a coincidence.”
Finally, he closes the Introduction by telling us that we “must determine where [we] want to go.” I would go further and quote Andy Stanley who taught me: “Direction determines destination.” [see The Principle of the Path]. See this short clip by Andy. https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3885959/#sp=show-clips or the book by the same name. So after you determine where you want to go, you need to evaluate the direction of your life. Is the direction you are headed going to take you where you want to go?
Chapter 1 Which Road to Take
“Look inside yourself, at the goals and dreams God has planted inside you, and identify what you need to be happy, then put things in motion to secure that happiness.” Robin McGraw From My Heart to Yours.
Okay – don’t shut this down yet. We have all heard “It’s all about me.” And the pursuit of happiness. But let’s face it. We all need encouragement. Keep going. The book gets better.
Story #1 – Cheryl always wanted to be a writer. She moved to LA from her home town of Charlotte and worked and worked trying to break into script writing. In the midst of a career of starts and stops she got called home to care for her dad. She knew it was pulling her away from her dream. She sent out a prayer request via email concerning her Dad to everyone in her address book. She got a call and a job from someone right in Charlotte who got the email. She got her first script writing job. The first godwink.
One night while writing the script, she had a dream that her best friend was going to star in the film. At the filming, she found out that her best friend got the part. This was a major godwink. Both of these encouraged her to continue to pursue her “impossible” dream.
Story #2 – Tom Harken contracted polio at age 8. He was placed in isolation and an iron lung for months. He prayed the prayer of a lonely kid. One day, while in the lung, he threw up on himself but couldn’t clean himself off. No one came until finally a doctor came, cleaned him up, took him out of the iron lung and just held him. He whispered into his ear: “Tommy, I want you to know that God loves you. Even when you wonder about God, He’s there. He’s watching over you. He’s protecting you. Keep your faith, Tommy. Keep your faith.” He immediately got better and was soon released from the hospital. This doctor provided a godwink that dramatically affected Tom’s life.
But two days later he was diagnosed with TB and was again placed in isolation. He stayed isolated in his bedroom for a very long time. One day his father stomped a message in the snow outside his window. “I love you Tommy.” This was a godwink. Years passed and eventually the doctors reported him cured. He was released and went back to school. But a teacher ridiculed him for being dumb when he really was uneducated due to the long years of illness. He left school and never went back. He worked hard in his father’s grocery store. Eventually he started many successful businesses. He never learned to read and in fact hid his illiteracy from everyone – including his boys. When he received the Horatio Alger award, his speech was so memorable that Henry Kissinger said that he would never forget it. It was these two godwinks that kept him going.
Chapter 2: The Empowerment of Belief
Story #3 – While a young man, Franklin Graham was piloting a small plane home. His parents, Billy and Ruth, were praying up a storm that their son would arrive safely. Part way home, the plane lost electrical power and was in complete darkness. They flew back to the last radio beacon they had seen. But when they got there, the airport had shut down and was completely black. But, it “just so happened” that the director of the tower decided to show some friends around. He even pointed a light into the sky used to indicate that it was safe to land in order to show them how the landing system worked. Unbeknownst to him, there was a plane up there. Franklin took it as a signal to land even though the runway lights were dark. As he approached, the tower controller demonstrated to his guests the full emergency runway lights. He kept them on until just after the plane landed and then abruptly turned them off. Franklin assumed that they were being rude and saving money – but later learned it was a godwink.
Story #4 – A wife and husband had a terrible marriage that ended in divorce. The husband, Bob, soon after the divorce, contracted ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease. While praying about what she should do, she saw a license plate that said: ALS 03. She thought it meant that she was to care for Bob. It was hard caring for him and was very costly in many ways. One day, as she was driving home, she cried out to God “Why am I doing this?” She immediately saw a license plate that said “4 God.” Then and there she knew her calling. As Bob deteriorated, both of them were healed of their relational wounds and in their relationships to God. All because of two godwinks. As she was explaining this to a friend one day, the friend lamented that she never experienced God like that. Just then a car pulled in front of them with the license plate: “KP PRAYN.”
Chapter 3: Where Hope Springs From
Story #5 – A woman and her husband had a child named Vicki born with severe disabilities. Vicki responded to virtually nothing. One doctor believed that he could find something she would respond to. In test after test, he failed to get Vicki to respond. At last there was a breakthrough and after much hard work, Vicki became able to respond to more and more things. She eventually was able to productively work in a horticulture program. Her mom realized that God planted a desire in her heart to start a facility where others like Vicki could be helped. After a year, she got nowhere raising the money for such a facility. Finally, she cried out to God “Did I hear you wrong, God?” The next day she received 4 checks for over $72,000 in 2 hours. Today, three decades later, the facility is the model for many facilities around the world helping people like Vicki develop self-reliance and self-respect. Because Vicki’s mom persevered after a godwink.
This reminds me of two godwinks we received at MicroTools. We were not bringing in any business. It was 11:59 and we cried in desperation. Things happened within hours that brought in business. There is more to the story – but let’s move on with SQuire.
Chapter 4: Stepping out in faith
Story #6 – SQuire was going to a job interview at a small radio station 10 miles up the road via hitchhiking. He dreamed of being a DJ at a radio station. His hero was Dean Harris – a DJ from a faraway radio station. No one picked him up until a green Volkswagon pulled up and the man introduced himself as Dean Harris. A definite godwink.
Story #7 – A woman from LA was doing a TV production for Biography. Her assignment was to find a relative of the Faberge’s. This was pre-Internet days and her search proved futile. She decided to take a break and go with her husband and daughter to London. While there, they happened to go into a shop where the shop clerk introduce himself as Theo Faberge. He provided everything she needed for the story. The link was made and the godwink delivered.
Chapter 5: How to Re-purpose Rejection
This chapter opens with SQuire talking about rejection. He tells about how silly it is to start making up a dejected story when someone doesn’t return your call. I was doing that just this morning. I had invited two friends to collaborate on a project two weeks ago and hadn’t heard from them. Then two days ago I sent them another invite. And now today I am making up all kinds of terrible things they must be thinking about me.
Story #8 – This one is about Steve Jobs and frankly – it doesn’t even qualify for repeating.
Story #9 – This one is even less remarkable. It just shows that tenacity is required to succeed but, in my opinion, no obvious godwinks. There is a good quote from Winston Churchill:
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
Another good quote:
If you do what you fear you won’t fear what you do. Gordon Morton
Chapter 6: Finding Your Compass
Story #10 – This story documents the godwinks of the author of What Color is Your Parachute. In this section he documents the 5 worst ways to get a job and the 5 best ways to get a job.
Story #11 – This documents the story of the founder of Yankee Candle and the godwink in his life.
Story #12 – This story documents Carol and her Espresso Love coffee shop on Martha’s Vineyard.
I don’t recount these stories, not because they are not interesting, but they are not extraordinary in my limited perception.
Chapter 7 – Personal Requests
Story #13 – This recounts the story of first time home buyers who carefully selected the Buxton model in their new development. As they went to sign the papers, they were extremely anxious. But all fears went away when the lawyer pulled out a briefcase that had the brand name Buxton. This was a godwink. All fears left.
Story #14 – Next came another real estate story of a man buying his first house. He doesn’t respond to the first prompting to go see a house – but one year later the house came back on the market. As he approached the street to look at the house, he saw the name of the street “Mayberry Lane.” The Andy Griffith show was his favorite. He produced live shows for a living which included shows that were “Andy Griffith” tribute shows.
Story #15 – On a missions trip helping to clean up after hurricane Katrina, Cristina worked hard day after day. But the total task was overwhelming. They finished one clean up effort only to have the work rejected by the team foreman. They had a lot more work to do. In the midst of the work and in the midst of the debris, she found a rose. Roses had a special meaning of hope to her. That was her godwink.
I will conclude with his quote from the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.