TALES FROM THE DONUT SHOP BY JULES A. STAATS
Copyright 2014, Jules A. Staats; Library of Congress, USA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This work may be previewed only.
The man called to be a Church Pastor who found out:
When Called upon: God may not take “no” for an answer.
It was a sunny and comfortable afternoon in Syracuse New York. The year was 1992. Jay was a retired Deputy Sheriff but still needed to work for a living. His disability retirement did not provide enough to live on.
He had returned to a nice house in the East side of Syracuse to demonstrate a newly sold burglar alarm system for (what we will call) a pastor of the nearby church. As the 90 year old resident greeted Jay at the front door, there was something definitely very special about this man. Jay could feel something pleasant and warm of this person who was wearing casual clothes. He had somehow missed this closeness during the investigation of the home to determine what equipment was suitable to protect this residence.
Jay went through the motions of demonstrating the new alarm system with no problems in the function or the understanding of the installation. With that done, the Pastor invited him to a room that he called a study to pause for a cup of coffee.
As the friendly conversation proceeded Jay had informed this church Minister of his prior law enforcement experience. He added that he should not even be alive to speak with him. This obviously piqued the interest of the Pastor. His question was direct and almost surprised Jay; “Have you ever experienced being touched by the Hand of God?”
There was a long minute of silence while Jay fully absorbed that statement then recalled to the minister an incident years ago when he worked for two years as an Extra Deputy Sheriff for Santa Clara County. He had placed a paraplegic young man in the rear seat of the caged patrol car but the right rear door which was facing the alley was not fully closed. As he started to pull open the door with a straight arm he was suddenly and violently pushed against the car. His chest was bruised and he thought his prisoner was being lynched. Then, a panel truck passed by with the driver mirror almost striking him. He had been pushed out of the path of a speeding truck but there was absolutely no one in the alley with him. He also had never forgotten the pain of striking the side of the patrol car.
He carefully told the entire story taking time to include all the details. He concluded his information with the opinion that this was possibly a manifestation of being touched—albeit shoved by an Angel.
He watched for a final reaction from the Pastor. It was a long silence. It appeared that the minister was moved, but his expression revealed that this man of the cloth was not really surprised. Being pushed by an Angel was the same as being touched by the Hand of God.
It was time to tell his story. The Pastor advised Jay that he had seldom told this story to anyone other than a few very faithful persons. When he was in his early twenties, his church determined that he was a prime candidate to become a man of the cloth. Several members of his church along with others of the church pastors tried in vain and over several years to get him on board. He resisted all these invitations as his very last wish in life was to be a minister preaching to a church congregation.
Shortly after World War II started, the Pastor enlisted in the United States Army. His efforts to excel in the Service blotted the nagging thought that he should become a Church Pastor. His desire for special training escalated him into the 82nd Airborne. He was to become part of one the elite Glider Battalions over Normandy.
He was later to find himself on a troop ship enroute to an airfield that housed the C47 tow planes and the American-designed Waco CG-4A, Glider Aircraft which could carry 13 passengers. As the troop ship cut through the night, he could see land in the distance by the nearly full moon when it briefly jumped from behind the cloud cover. He knew they were a safe distance from land based artillery and he then relaxed as he stood on the deck of the ship by the railing. As he stared at a few lights on the mainland, he saw a flash of light about 500 yards away. It was a German U Boat firing their deck gun. The shell struck just below and in front of him with a bright flash. He did not hear a thing, as there was no sound from the explosion as the shell struck the troop ship. The Pastor remarked that he was not blinded by the flash and his hearing was normal as he heard screaming sounds from other sailors and the public address system blasting orders after the attack.
An aerial flare was launched by a companion ship to help locate the German Boat. From the eerie light of the slowly descending light he then noticed that the area on the deck below was mangled steel, but still he was alive and unhurt.
The Pastor then said that he turned around and was frozen by both fear and awe. There were numerous holes in the ship bulkhead behind him. Inside these numerous holes from flying exploding hot steel was an area that had no markings at all. It was in the shape or profile of a man.
Although untouched by a great miracle of heavenly protection, the Pastor somehow adjusted to this situation and hurried below deck. The rest of the voyage by the troopship was uneventful.
He was finally transported to the airfield. It was very early in the morning of June 7, 1944 and the Normandy invasion had started the day before. The C-47 pulled his glider into the air, eventually releasing the troops as they sailed over the terrain in their plywood airship.
The landing was anything but smooth, but all twelve of them darted out of the glider as soon as it came to a stop. They immediately became under heavy German small arms Infantry Fire. Soldiers fell around him as he attempted to find a place of cover from the rain of bullets.
The shooting finally stopped and he peered out of a small hollow under a large dead tree. He could see in the early morning light that there were patches of fog covering some of the field. The sound of a bolt action rifle beside him revealed a German infantryman pointing an eight milometer Mauser rifle at his head. At this time he heard a shot, then another. The Germans were obviously taking no prisoners and were conducting executions. He knew he was about to die in the middle of nowhere by a rifle bullet. However the shot never came as another German with more rank wanted to execute him. He was placed on his knees, and a P-38 pistol was placed firmly against his head, and then pulled away slightly. He waited for his life to end.
Suddenly a German high ranking Officer appeared out of the fog and barked an order in German to his executioner. He was not to immediately die after all, and found that he was to become a prisoner of War instead.
The Pastor was choking up a bit telling the story how his life almost came to an end via an execution at a time in his life before Jesus became his friend. He related that he was transferred to a small camp of military prisoners. He now expected to remain a resident of this camp until they decided to eventually kill him or the war to finally end.
The next day he was summoned by his guards and escorted to the camp commander. The German officer appeared confused, stating in English that he had paperwork from his high command ordering his immediate release and return to the American lines.
He was subsequently transported several miles by a 4x4 vehicle and dropped off. The Germans who motioned him to walk down the two lane paved road laughed to each other as he started to walk, figuring that he would probably be shot by the Americans as he walked down the road.
That thought of now dying from friendly fire was foremost in his mind as he walked several miles alone. He was finally observed by Army soldiers who took him safely to the rear of the conflict.
There were even more orders in this fog of war. He was to return to the United States and be discharged.
As the old minister completed his story, he stated that he never knew who wrote the German release papers and never found out who ordered him to be transferred back to the States for discharge.
He decided that he had enough good reasons to become a life-long Church Pastor and serve the God that had protected him until he finally made the decision to work for Him.