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Look for God’s little surprises when you least expect them

clip pin
SURE SIGN: This clip pin appeared out of nowhere when I needed to fix a piece on the lawn mower.
Front Porch: Some things you just can’t explain any other way.

There is a new TV series called “God Friended Me.” The premise is that a young boy gets messages from God. Maybe it will make it as a show, maybe not. Either way, I’m convinced that God doesn’t need social media to get my attention. It wouldn’t do him any good anyway. I only use email and texting, and my millennial daughter informs me that’s not social media.

Meanwhile, I get messages from God the old-fashioned way. I probably get a lot more than I notice — sometimes I’m too hard-headed to see them.

Annoying nuisance
The rubber safety discharge shield on my garden tractor attaches to the deck with a long, narrow steel rod. It slips through an opening in the attachment on either side of the deck. Instead of drilling a hole for a cotter key, whoever designed it formed a slot for a key clip pin.

That worked well for the first couple of years. Too many times crashing the safety discharge into gates and fences finally discharged the original pin. Eventually, the rod would work itself out, and the guard would dangle along beside me.

This summer it began happening with regularity. I would slide the rod back in and not worry about a clip pin. I didn’t know if I had one. When it got harder to get the rod back in, I started carrying a hammer. A hammer solves everything, right? Not so much.

My wife, Carla, started mowing, and she decided enough was enough. So I looked for a clip pin in the toolshed. I have tons of cotter keys bought at a farm sale, as well as nails, screws, bolts and washers of all descriptions bought at a hardware closeout. But no clip pins — not one.

The only clean bench in the toolshed is on a small tool cabinet I bought at a neighbor’s sale this spring. I don’t set anything but garden supplies on that bench.

No explanation
Next time we were in town, I went to the local farm supply store and bought not one, but a dozen clip pins. I wanted to make sure I had a size that would fit, and I bought multiples of the one that seemed like it would fit best.

Back home, I walked in the toolshed, past the new-to-me tool cabinet and plopped the newly purchased clip pin packages on the workbench. Then I saw it out of the corner of my eye. There it was, right in the middle of the red tool cabinet bench, with nothing else around it.

It was a shiny clip pin, just the size I needed!

Was someone playing a trick on me? Not likely.

I put it on, left mine on the bench and went to mowing. The next time I mowed, I lost it, and I’ve gone through a couple of the ones I purchased. But that’s not the point.

The point is there’s only one explanation for how that clip pin got there, because there is no reasonable, rational explanation. God was reminding me that he’s always there, and wants to help me solve even the smallest, most annoying problems.

What else would he do if I would just listen?

This isn’t the first time something like this happened, and hopefully not the last. My mission is to pay closer attention so I don’t miss the message.

And to figure out some other way to hold that silly rod in place!  

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