I believe God embedded the miraculous in the ordinary, and it is our task to discover it and celebrate it.
- Kent Nerburn
Katie Mahon is a miracle expert. She’s coauthor of the book The Miracle Chase and writes regularly about her hunt for God’s wonder in the world. She wasn’t always that way, though. For many years, Katie was a self-described miracle skeptic!
When she was a teenager, she escaped the clutches of a serial killer in the most unbelievable of ways. But she had trouble labeling that incredible incident as miraculous.
Here Katie tells the story of that encounter. And how one morning, 15 years later, she finally woke up to that miracle from God.
I was 19 years old and window-shopping in San Francisco when this man approached me. He was very clean cut, maybe in his 30s. White button-down shirt, khaki pants. The kind of guy you would take home to your parents for dinner. He said that he was a visitor in town and needed some help. He’d had eye surgery and couldn’t find the address to the house of his best friend’s parents.
I let him finish his spiel and said, “Sorry, I can’t help. I really have to go.” But he followed me. He repeated his story and walked with me across the street. He was very engaging, very persistent, very believable. He said he was staying at a hotel up the street and that there was a payphone we could use there. I decided to be a Good Samaritan and help him out.
We get on the elevator at the hotel and he pushed the mezzanine level. The door opened and I expected it to be crowded. But it was deserted. Not a soul on the floor. We walked down a hallway and into a conference room. Sure enough, at the back of the conference room was a payphone with a phone book below it. I opened it up to look up the address. My back was to this man. Maybe it was logic finally catching up with me, but I felt this wave of terror come over me. I realized it was a trap. I’d been lured into this room. I turned around. He knew that I knew–he was waiting for that moment. He walked slowly toward me. His eyes were so dark, so cold. Evil incarnate. I couldn’t move. I was stuck in this box of terror, all alone. No one would hear my screams in this remote corner of the hotel. My life was over.
Just then, though, a scrawny bellman entered the room. He looked right at me and said, “Don’t you think you should be going now?” I rushed toward the bellman and he escorted me down the hallway, leaving my captor behind. We got to the lobby and I was shaking. I turned around to thank the bellman for saving me. But he was nowhere to be found.
Fifteen years went by. I refused to admit there was anything miraculous about this incident, though I never forgot those cold, cruel eyes. I would wake up, heart pounding in the middle of the night thinking about them.
One morning, my husband, Jim, turned to me and said, “Oh, my God, Katie, I think this is your guy.” He handed me the front page of the newspaper, and there was a photo of murderer Ted Bundy, who’d been executed the day before in Florida. I’d recognize those eyes anywhere. It was the same guy who’d lured me into the hotel.
There’s a quote from author Leif Enger that really resonates with me: “People fear Miracles because they fear being changed...” I did fear changing, opening myself up to God. So I ignored the miracle of the bellman swooping in to save me. I wasn’t willing to see it until all those years later. In some weird way, it had to have been Ted Bundy in order for me to acknowledge God working in my life. That day, my spiritual metamorphosis began.
We all respond to different languages, different nudges from God. For me, it took a 2x4 over the head to wake me up.
Have you ever received a 2x4 over the head from God? Share your experience below!
Diana Aydin is an associate editor for Mysterious Ways magazine. When she was just a little kid, she got her first dose of the miraculous. She’s been on the lookout for miracles ever since. Her favorite time of the day is lunch time, when she gets to step away from the workaday world and enjoy a bit of God’s wonder, if only for an hour!