“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” –Psalm 34:18, NLT
Every year since 2010, I’ve woken up each morning on August 12th with this prayer on my lips:
“Lord, please give me a godwink today. Something for my daddy.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the word “godwink,” it’s a term coined by author SQuire Rushnell and means, “what some people would call a coincidence, an answered prayer, or simply an experience where you’d say, ‘Wow, what are the odds of that!’”
When a godwink occurs, you “just know.” If you’re a Christian, there’s no questioning that this somewhat spooky, certainly supernatural “coincidence” had its origins in the throne room of an eternal King whose voice summoned light and life from nothingness, whose hand flung the countless stars into their constellations, whose breath imparted His spirit into Adam’s nostrils, and from whom all good and perfect gifts are sent (James 1:17).
All you can do when you receive a godwink is open your arms out wide, lift your chin toward the sky, and let the goodness and grace of God fall upon you like a sweet summer shower.
That’s what I did this past Tuesday.
I awoke that morning, August 12th, with the aforementioned prayer humming through my head and tumbling off my tongue. To be honest, part of me was thinking, Diana, God has already done so much for you and your family in the way of assuring you that your dad is with Him in heaven. Why do you insist on asking for more heavenly hugs and godwinks?
But I know what the Bible says about my heavenly Daddy. It tells me that he loves and cares for me even more than my earthly Daddy, and let me tell you, my earthly Daddy was the most generous, loving, and compassionate man I’ll ever know. He never tired of spending time with his wife or children and was always searching for ways to make us feel cherished and adored, be it through giving small gifts without a specific occasion attached to them, helping us with our homework, spending late nights out playing tennis or basketball with us, introducing us to myriad styles of music, or pointing out planets through the lens of his telescope.
According to marriage expert Gary Chapman, there exist five love languages; I believe my dad regularly conversed in all of them. And if that is so, just think of how fluently, how ardently the God of Love, who Himself islove, speaks the languages of love!
Remembering this, I didn’t feel so bad asking the Lord for another “wink.” I went about my day thanking Him for all the amazing memories of my dad that I carry everywhere I go and reflecting on the marvelous ways in which He bestowed on us comfort and provided His peace in the face of our devastating loss five years ago. But I also kept my eyes peeled, poised to receive an answer to my morning prayer.
As the sun was setting Tuesday night, I was at our CrossFit box (“box” is CrossFitspeak for “gym”) bench pressing with two other women after class when Joy walked in (really, her name is Joy; how awesome is that?). She walked over to me and handed me a 9 x 12 piece of paper, something she’d been working on off and on for a few weeks. I turned it over and immediately felt like Dorothy stepping out of black and white Kansas into the colorful radiance of Oz.
This is what I saw:
Pretty spectacular, isn’t it? But what makes this painting a godwink?
Joy knows that I have a love for The Wizard of Oz, a love so great that I even got an “Oz”-inspired tattoo eight months after my dad passed away. It depicts Dorothy’s ruby slippers with “John 14:2-3” above them and “Blessed Hope” below them. Joy didn’t really know the significance of the tattoo…
Long before I was born, and even prior to my parents’ first meeting, my dad had in his possession a black and white photograph of The Wizard of Oz’s main characters. When he met my mom, he informed her that he was keeping it for his future daughter; it was to hang in her bedroom. And so it did.
As I grew up, I collected much more Oz memorabilia, from pop-up books and dainty dolls to delicate snow globes and the tiny Limoges box I slipped into my dad’s suit jacket the day of his funeral. I chose it because when you opened it up, you saw the words “There’s no place like home” in a simple script with the ruby shoes beneath.
I believe with all my heart that my dad is home, a home that, as John 14:3 says, Jesus has been preparing since He rose from the grave 2,000 years ago. I also believe in the “blessed hope” of which Titus 2:13 speaks, that is, the glorious appearing of our Savior, and the reunion of the saints with one another. Somehow, Dorothy’s ruby slippers skipping along that yellow brick road in search of the Emerald City perfectly encapsulate those beliefs for me.
Receiving Joy’s work of art on the anniversary of my father’s death was the answer to my prayer, one our God of love has never failed to answer. He is the giver of all good and perfect gifts, the apostle James wrote, and He chose Joy –unbeknownst to her – to be the artist behind and the bearer of this particular gift, one I will treasure on the walls of my home and heart forever.
Whatever crisis has befallen you, whatever heartache is paralyzing you, whatever disappointment is embittering you, ask the Lord to intervene and to manifest His love in your life today. The encouragement you need may only be three ruby-red heel clicks away.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” -1 John 5:14, NIV
P.S. Yesterday, the fifth anniversary of my father’s funeral, one of our CrossFit athletes texted me this picture from her and her kids’ cupcake outing yesterday. Another godwink, I think! 🙂
 http://www.whengodwinks.com/faqs/ (accessed August 16, 2014)
 Genesis 2:7 Though animals also possess the “breath” (Hebrew neshama–Genesis 7:22) and the “soul” (Hebrew nephesh–Genesis 1:24), man’s breath (same word as “spirit”) and soul were imparted to him by God directly, rather than indirectly, as imparted to the animals.
 Matthew 7:11
 http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ (accessed August 16, 2014)
 1 John 4:8
 http://www.esvbible.org/John+14/ (accessed August 16, 2014); https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Titus+2 (accessed August 16, 2014)