By my age, there is a strong realization that the world is filled with endless mysteries, but even I was stunned by an email “response” that I received several years ago.

When I opened my account, I discovered that I had received a “thank you” for helping someone that I had never met in my life. Strangely, it sounded like a response to someone I had emailed the day before, an individual who was going through a difficult time and seeking some encouragement.

But I had no idea who “Karen from Texas” was, or how she got my email address.

Her note said something to the effect, “Hi, you don’t know me but I loved your note of encouragement. It was just perfect for what I needed right now. Perhaps we can exchange prayer requests once in awhile. Karen”

I scratched my head in bewilderment, trying to rationalize how this all came about, and whether or not to respond to it. Normally, I wouldn’t but something on the inside told me to “go” with this unique situation.

So, I responded with a generic but caring assurance of my prayers and told her that I would be willing to exchange concerns or needs as they came up. Then, I asked her how she had attained my email address.

Her response was just as mystifying as her initial note. She said, “you sent it to me.”

“All right,” I said to myself. “This is all too strange. Just back out; change your email address if you need to, this is all too mystifying. Something is too strange here.”

Suddenly, another thought crossed my mind. I pulled up the “real note” I had mailed to our friend the day before to re-examine the email address. Then I looked at Karen’s. Suddenly, I understood. In typing in the address, I had “accidentally” stroked the wrong key of one letter, thus changing it into Karen’s address. Through a typing mistake, I had sent the letter to Karen rather than its original intent.

I left things go, but within a couple of days, I heard from Karen again. This time she told me that she was a primary caretaker for her parents because her father had suffered a severe stroke. She was about 40 years old, worked for an airline, and was getting serious with a significant other.

This time I responded a bit more confidently and assured of my prayers and told her that I would share the requests with my wife and we would both pray for her. Still, neither one of us knew where the other lived. We were just “somewhere out there.”

Over a period of time, the email exchanges expanded and I discovered that she lived in Texas and that her fiancé was named Eric. In time, I received pictures of her and Eric in the mail. Eventually, I received pictures of a trip the two of them took to Europe while another family member cared for her father.

A common bond was the disability of her father while I was caring for my mother with dementia. Sharing around that common denominator became more frequent. Then, one day, I received shocking news. She had been diagnosed with cancer and was earnestly seeking prayer. She wanted our entire church to remember her and Eric in prayer during the difficult times.

The communication intensified; phone numbers were exchanged. Sometimes I would talk to her and sometimes I would talk to Eric concerning her advancing illness. Treatments began and spiritual guidance and growth intensified. All of this continued over a several month period and then it just stopped. I continued to pray for Karen and Eric, but the human side of me imagined the worse.

That was the end of the communication until recently. Two years passed and all was quiet until I noted that I had a new text message on my cell phone. I opened it up and it stated, “Jim, please pray for me. Within an hour I’m going in for a five-hour surgery. Thank you for the friend that you’ve always been and for your prayers. Please pray for us. Kare.”

Admittedly, I had to think for a moment. Who was Kare? Then it hit me, “Karen!” I waited a few hours and then called Eric and we talked briefly. She had come through the surgery and he was extremely grateful for the prayers. His voice choked and he said, “keep praying; we need them.”

I didn’t ask any questions but his warm response of thanksgiving on the other end more than confirmed what I suspected about that original email, now several years ago.

Apparently, it wasn’t a typing error after all. What a difference something as small as the stroke of a key can make in today’s world. Oh, by the way, pray for Karen and Eric.