Don’t you just love God?
What a faithful Friend He is. I had recently ‘bragged’ on my God to a friend that throughout my twenty-five years of disability, and with everything that can go wrong with that, there has never been a time He has abandoned me when I’ve been caught in a desperate situation. Have I felt abandoned during those years? Well, yes, of course, but that does not change the fixed truth of the matter. Not one iota.
I can recall when Sandy and I were dating some years back. We were college coeds, heading to see our college basketball team play at another school campus ninety minutes away. It was a rainy night and especially dangerous on the roads as I remember. I was traveling around seventy in the far left lane of I-75 when suddenly my right front tire blew. Somehow I managed to negotiate through the heavy rush-hour traffic all the way to the shoulder of the highway. When I parked the car, I put my head in my hands and cried. I felt so helpless. How could I get out of the car in my wheelchair? I would certainly have to be at least part way in the lane of oncoming traffic. Then, even if I could, how am I supposed to change the tire? I can’t make my new girlfriend get soaking wet doing it. God, what to do, what to do…
That conversation lasted a full five seconds when headlights swung into the lens of the rear view mirror. Within moments a gentleman appeared in the window of the passenger side and I rolled it down. How did this stranger know to pull over? How would he know the man driving the car would need assistance? These are questions only God can answer, but I have my suspicions.
In minutes the ‘stranger’ had the tire changed and with a salute and smile he was running back to his car where he lurched back into traffic and disappeared into the night.
That kind of stuff happens to me all the time.
Just today I had pulled into the bay of a gas station to fill ‘er up when my van’s wheelchair lift took a notion to cough and quit while I was halfway out and halfway in. There I sat, suspended somewhat, unable to operate the thing. I patted my front pocket for my cell and discovered, to my dismay, it was empty. Turning my head to the dashboard, I remembered I had set the phone in its cradle to charge it up and it was way out of arm’s reach. God, what to do, what to do…
A young man in a suped-up Caprice Classic pulled in one bay over but the hip-hop wafting from inside his car was so loud he could not hear my “excuse me” over the full-bodied bass. Besides, whoever was singing was pretty angry about something and growling out obscenities and using a wide range of sexual innuendoes. No, forget innuendo. It was hard-core.
But after his car came another, a red SUV, piloted by a gentlemen who, by the look and sound of things, was quite happy with life. He hopped out of his car whistling, looked at me sitting freeze-framed in mid-air and smiled. He looked in the direction of the music and frowned and playfully covered his ears, while shaking his head. I had a sense the Lord parked him there right away. I spoke to him as he passed by, asking if he wasn’t in too big a hurry would he mind giving a hand. This stranger, who turned out to be my brother, wheeled quickly and with an enthusiastic “how can I help?” bounded inside the van and in minutes had me on my way. Rescued again.
Before we parted ways, I felt led to ask the gentleman, “You love the Lord, don’t you sir?”
“He’s my life, my everything,” he said. I looked to the ceiling of the van and offered up a quick missive of thanks to my Faithful Friend who, once again, came to my rescue with real skin, blood and bones.
I wanted to bless the man and when I asked him for a card, thinking I might send a check or something. As he headed toward the station’s mart he said that no blessing was needed as I had blessed him with the opportunity. Still, while he was inside I asked the Lord how he might be blessed. The answer came: “fill his tank with gas.” Of course, I only had a debit card, no cash, and he was likely paying for his gas inside. When he came out again I asked if he had paid for his gas and he told me he had. I thought to myself, shoot!, but he went on to tell me he was only putting a couple dollars’ worth in the tank. I knew that wasn’t near enough to pay for a tank these days, so I offered to fill his tank.
“No,” he said. “I only live around the corner. I was glad to help. No thanks necessary.”
I found out my brother was a veteran on fixed income and when I insisted, he finally let me. We’re family, after all, and family looks out for each other. I left there this afternoon sensing I had looked into the face of God. It was a different color than mine, but it was Him nonetheless. Funny how you can easily find the family likeness on the side of a highway or next to a gas pump. You just have to look.
Or cry out for assistance.