“God Winks”: A Narrative by Sandi McGrew

When I was growing up I played high school basketball. My father never missed a game. When he arrived, he would not wave, or come to the sidelines. He was a strong, but unimposing quiet man. He would get my attention by making eye contact, and then winking at me. No one in the crowed gymnasium was aware of his winking. If I did not look for his wink, I could easily miss it. It was my dad’s way of letting me know that he was not only watching the game, but he had his eye on me. No one else in my life communicated to me that way, only my father.

God sees us while we are in the crowd. He has His eye on me. He has His eye on you. To experience a wink, it takes two, The One who winks, and the one who sees. You must look for Him, or you may miss His wink through the distractions of life.

I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe in God winks. I have learned to anticipate and recognize God winks.

Flooded horse stall.

Flooded horse stall.

On the second day of the Great Flood there was more than five feet of water in my house. Fifteen horses were stalled in the stables with water up to their necks. I was barefooted on the 2nd floor of the outside deck watching my patio furniture being swept away. Two miniature horses were swimming in the muddy waters doing their best to fight the same current that the furniture was following. The Coast Guard helicopters were flying overhead making waves over a bankless lake that was once green horse pastures. It was at this moment when I looked down from the deck to my porch. I saw a bird land on the feeder hanging from the roof. This bird acted as if he had no thought of the current events. I was reminded of the scripture that tells me to “look at the birds, they do not store their food, but God feeds them, and I am more valuable to God then that bird.” …. God had just winked at me.

Entrance of Agape Ranch on Juban Road, Denham Springs, LA.

Entrance of Agape Ranch on Juban Road, Denham Springs, LA.

Not long after my God wink, the Coast Guard arrived. I did not want to leave. The horses were in the stalls and the minis were still swimming. After spending a mandatory night in the shelter, I could not stay any longer. I had to go back to the ranch to check on the horses. As I walked down Juban Road I found someone with a boat that agreed to bring me to the ranch. We found it still under water. Five days would go by before the water subsided. I found the horses in the alleyway of the stables. Two did not make it. As I swam the horses to the porch of the house, I reminded God of His Word. It was my mantra. “God, you control the storm. All things work together for good. Everyday of my life, including this one, was written before I was born, God, help me to turn my worries into prayers, give me peace….”


LSU Vet students arrive to help Agape Ranch.

LSU Vet students arrive to help Agape Ranch.

All the horses were now on the porch. There is no phone service. The horses are getting sick. As I look over the lake that was once the driveway I see two boats filled with people wearing purple and gold. Two boats filled with veterinarians from LSU! How did they know that there were horses here that needed help? God knew. He knows our thoughts and needs before we even pray. He had his eye on me in the crowd of billions of people. God winked at me!
As the last horse was being taken to LSU for care, Bro Rod and Ms Mary Aguillard arrive, along with a reporter from the Washington Post. The ranch was still under water only accessible by boat. No one was able to get to the main house. We waved at eachother from afar and communicated by text. I was by myself, but never alone. I would soon have another God wink.

That night I received a call from the Washington Post reporter. I shared my story with her, and she shared my story with the world…..

Within days I received a call from a stranger who wanted to help repair the stables. He brought a team of women from an organization called Women in Construction. Strong, talented women who were part of a program to teach women who lived through life struggles and learned trade skills to bring them to a better life! God sent me women with testimonies of triumph! Help came from the hills of Colorado, Mississippi, and Wisconsin!

Two weeks have now gone by….I am fighting thoughts of being overwhelmed. I am tired. Yes, I know God is faithful. Yes, I know He is working everything to my good, Yes, I know I can find peace in the storm, Yes, I know He controls the storm….But I am tired of being strong. The work of restoring the stables is just too much. Stalls need to be mucked, doors will not close, the tack room needs to be rebuilt.

Cleaning horse barn.

Cleaning horse barn.

As I come home from work I see my pastor and his “Dream Team”. Help has come from the sanctuary, support has come from Zion…..Their help has given me hope in His promises….. God is winking at me again!

Students from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Students from the University of Southern Mississippi.

As week 3 arrives, I begin to look at my circumstances. I must remember that my reality is not on what I see, but on the promises that God has given me. Again, I recite God’s word: “Not one promise has not come to pass. God is not a man that He should lie. All His promises are yes and amen.” As I reflect on the work that still needs to be done…..parked in front of the stables are three white vans. I have no idea who is there. And then I see the symbol of the University of Southern Mississippi! In the stables are 20 students from Hattiesburg! God sent volunteers from my home town. Another God wink!

Through a coincidence or an answered prayer, it is at these times that God winks. He sends a hopeful message, just as real as placing His arms around you or me. He sees us in the crowd. But we must look for Him. We must make eye contact with our Father.

God winks are there to give us strength through the storms of life. This strength also comes by knowing that God knows every day of one’s life before we were even born. God knows the good days, the sad days, the glad days, and the bad days…….and somehow He works them all out for our good……

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