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Some 'God Stories' less miraculous than others

In the book God Stories, Jennifer Skiff collected stories from those who claimed to be touched by a "higher power."

The strangest thing happened the other day, and you're still thinking about it.

You bought an old book somewhere and when you got it home, a photo fell out. It was a school picture of a close childhood friend. You hadn't thought about him in years. But then, the weird thing happened. The phone rang. It was your friend. He had been looking for you, wanting to reconnect.

Coincidence? Or more than that? In the new book God Stories, edited by Jennifer Skiff, you'll read stories of people who've been touched by miraculous events too strange to believe.

In her introduction, Jennifer Skiff says that we humans want what we can't always have; specifically, we want irrefutable evidence that a Higher Power exists.

"I'm certainly not an expert on the subject of God or religion," she says, but her interest was piqued when a minister asked if she had a "God Story" (a "miracle-like experience that proves God exists"). Skiff began to collect such stories, seeing more and more similar proofs not only in her own life but in the lives of others. In this book, she presents some of them.

An office manager prayed for a guardian angel to protect her comatose father. When she was finally able to visit her dad in the hospital, her eyes were drawn to a small angel pinned to the bulletin board over his bed.

If you've ever had a bad day, you'll sympathize with an administrative assistant who, after a challenging morning, loudly asked God to talk to her. Immediately, she noticed the clouds in the sky in front of her vehicle. They spelled out the letters G-O-D.

A retired federal agent recalls that, as a young man riding with friends in a car, a voice told him to get out of the vehicle immediately. Later that night, another friend called to say there had been a car accident...

When emergency sirens woke a napping real estate appraiser, she remembers thinking that the vehicles seemed to stop right outside her door. When she looked outside, there was nothing there but as she turned around, she saw that a kitchen appliance had malfunctioned and started a fire.

Editor Jennifer Skiff says of these stories that "a chill may overwhelm you" when reading them. That's true -- to a point.

Some of the tales in God Stories definitely stretch the meaning of "miraculous." While I'm sure the storytellers were touched, I couldn't help but think that Skiff could have replaced some of these tales with more powerful ones that were closer related to the themes in her book.

On the other hand, there are, indeed, some tales that will raise the hair on your arms: things that are too strong to be waved away as mere coincidence and can't be easily explained. Those are the stories that make this quick-to-read, gentle book worth looking for.

If you've ever been touched by something that's too wonderful to dismiss as "one of those things," pick up God Stories. For you, this book is divine.