From the Rooftops

Kathy Rice

March 5, 2019

My husband Donnie is a contractor and early in his career, he replaced a lot of roofs. Roofing is a tough job. Although it is good money, it’s dirty, unpleasant work. It’s risky because of sudden rain storms and dangerous because of the heat or risk of falling. But my young, strong husband loved standing on top of the world. He would shout from the roof tops about the glory of God. At first, he came home sore and in pain, but as the jobs started coming, he grew stronger and each job seemed to get easier.

John needed a new roof badly. He’d called several roofing companies. The small roofing companies refused to do the job because the 14-pitch roof was too steep. The big companies were booked out for over a year and his house couldn’t wait that long. The owner of one roofing company was sorry they couldn’t help him and recommended Donnie.

John called Donnie one afternoon in desperation and Donnie agreed to look at the project. It indeed was too high and too steep and the roof had too many peaks and valleys making it even more challenging. But Donnie was up for the challenge. He knew he could do it with his helper, so he gave John an acceptable bid.

When his co-worker saw the magnitude of the job, he was enraged that Donnie would agree to take on such a dangerous project. He yelled, “I quit!” He stormed off the job and didn’t speak to Donnie for over a year!

John’s mother Joy went to church with us and she was a praying woman. She decided Donnie would need a lot of prayer and proclaimed Psalms 91:11-12: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Every time she saw him working on the roof or thought about him throughout the day, she prayed that God would keep His angels around him.

As Donnie worked to pry the shingles loose, they tumbled two stories to the ground. Occasionally an old rusty nail snapped, leaving a small tack no more than a quarter inch long that he would have to pull or pound into the roof before he put the new felt and shingles down. He scooted off the valley to the main roof to reach the shingles at the far side when he suddenly started to slide down the roof on the seat of his pants.

His boot miraculously caught one of those rusty tacks, just in time to stop him from falling two stories. His coworker was no longer with him. He was alone and, with any movement, he risked losing the grip of that tiny tack. He started to panic. For nearly fifteen minutes, Donnie sat frozen and unsure of what to do.

He sat on the steep slope and cried out to God. “This one is going to have to be on you! You’ve never failed me yet, Lord!”

“Don’t panic. There’s a way.”

He took some deep breaths and a peace came over him. God brought to his mind the scripture Joy had been praying over him. He encouraged himself in the knowledge that God was his Father. He fully believed this promise that Joy had given him at the beginning of the job.

“Okay,” he thought to himself, “falling isn’t an option.” Donnie looked around, this time not in hopelessness, but knowing that God would give him the way. He wasn’t far from the valley of the roof, but he was facing the wrong way. In the less steep part of it, he could see horizontal roof boards with a few small tacks sticking up. If he could just manage the quick leap to heave his body the other way, grab those tiny tacks, regain control, and pull himself up, he might just be able to make it to safety. It was like a stunt pulled out of a superhero movie.

He sat for a few more minutes enjoying what might have been the last moments of his life if not for God’s mercy and protection. With all the strength he could muster, he leapt and grabbed a board that had warped, catching it with his fingertips. He pulled himself up and climbed to the top of the roof. There, he felt the warm summer breeze. He was safe. It was like nothing happened. The gravity of the situation would never be understood by anyone else.

It was a “near fall”. An “almost accident.” It was a miracle.

Joy exclaimed to Donnie, “I felt impressed to pray especially hard for you yesterday. Are you okay?”

Donnie laughed and told her the story. They rejoiced together. To anyone else it was like nothing happened. But to Donnie and Joy, they knew that God had proven His faithfulness.

We attended a marriage retreat years ago and part of the fun included an “Un-Talent Show”. Most of the couples did silly skits or sang funny love songs and dressed in ridiculous costumes. My extremely talented husband, however, sat on a stool and showed each scar he had on his hands and told how he got that scar. After seven or eight scar stories, everyone was laughing so hard we were practically falling off our chairs.

A scar is a celebration of an event you’ve survived. The stories of the times God has protected us is truly a testimony of His goodness in our lives.

It’s important to know the promises of God. He is sufficient. If we will proclaim what God says about us, we will live with the promise of life. If Donnie didn’t have that word, it could have been easy to just let go and try to survive the two-story fall. Without that promise, he wouldn’t have seriously explored his options. He might have stayed on the roof until someone came by or the nail gave way. The story could have ended so much differently wouldn’t have encouraged himself in the Lord: if he didn’t have hope.

God always gives us a way with every problem we face. It might be deliverance from the situation you find yourself in. It might be grace (God’s empowerment) to go through the situation you are in. Or it might be a lesson wherein He steps back and teaches you how to grow within yourself. There is no answer that can explain what you are going through except JESUS – Jesus is sufficient. Be encouraged and know this: Embracing the promises of God as your own leads to hope, and that hope directly affects your ability to overcome the situation you face.  

I pray that you seek the Lord, hear his heart towards you and your situation, and choose Life…even if the attempt costs you dearly. If you just give up, you aren’t going to see the way out that God has created for you. Stand firm and allow our creative, loving, merciful, miracle-working God to show himself strong to you.

About the Author: Kathy Rice

Kathy Rice has lived in Pennsylvania since marrying her husband in 1977. She was born and raised in Montana, and attended Montana State University and YWAM’s School of Evangelism in Bozeman. She met her husband on a wagon train that went across the United States in 1976 during the bicentennial with Youth With A Mission. She attended Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas, and worked in Haiti among the impoverished nationals where her first child was born. Her six grown children currently live in central Pennsylvania, and she enjoys time with her thirteen grandchildren. Kathy has authored a book, Kathy Run, telling of her young life on a farm in northeast Montana while attending a one-room school. She is currently a Realtor® with Re/Max of Lebanon County. Many of her inspirational pieces are drawn from her experiences on the farm, on the mission field, and raising her family next to her husband, Donnie Rice.


  1. Tina

    Thank you for encouragement for situations where you feel trapped with no way out. Jesus is the way. And the reminder that when the spirit is moving you to pray for someone, pray immediately!

  2. Nancy Sabol

    Great message. Thanks

  3. Jill Whitehead

    I was encouraged and blessed by your blog today, Kathy. Keep them coming! Jill

  4. Verna

    Wonderful God intervening story with practical application. You are truly a talented writer!


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