I have been a writer and a publisher of children's magazines for a decade. At one time, during the initial years, things were not so rosy. The bills were piling up, sales had stopped due to some political problem of which we knew nothing, and I was hard put to think of how to maintain my staff.

When I was absolutely on my last leg, I gave my personal God, who had got me through so many crises in my life, an ultimatum. "God," I said, "if you want to help me, this is just the time."

Later that day, I received a call from a construction agency. My building had just sprung some leaks and I had been looking for an expert to help me fix the problem. The caller said that he would like to meet me that day. Pre-occupied as I was, I felt a strange urge to ask him to come.

As soon as the elderly gentleman arrived, he walked purposefully to the terrace, looked at the problem, and promised to send in a price quote for the repairs within a couple of hours. As we walked down the staircase, he casually asked me about the company. I mentioned the magazine and the fact that it was an educational effort, meant to promote values among children. As we reached the ground floor where my office was located, he asked, "May I have a look at the magazine?"

I invited him in, picked out a couple of back issues and handed them to him. He did not seem to be the kind who would have young children, so I thought he was just being polite to impress a prospective client. Imagine my surprise when he said, "I am on the board of directors of three schools. We are looking for books like these to promote general knowledge among children. Could I have a few?"

Suddenly getting interested, I asked, "A few? You mean, a few dozen?" "No," he said, "a few thousand."

My mouth fell open and my eyes must have popped out. I must have looked like a goldfish gasping for breath. I told him to give me the exact number he wanted.

Miracle of miracles! It was exactly the number we still had in stock. The he said, "You can make the delivery within a week. Here is the check amount. You can cash it right away."

I had tears in my eyes as I accepted it from him. The amount covered the costs of every bill I needed to pay, with even a little left over to stash away. I made the delivery of the magazines within a day.

But, you know something? The man never ever sent the price quote for the repairs to my roof. I wonder sometimes whether that was on his agenda at all. Sometimes, I am convinced the Lord does come to us in strange ways, in strange shapes. If only we knew how to look.

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