For part of my Christian life, God has me in a “rides” ministry. I first realized this when He asked me to give a ride to the cute old lady with the “coke bottle” glasses. Here is one memorable assignment.
It was a very hot Friday afternoon and my kids and I were on our way to Midway airport in Chicago so they could go visit their dad for the weekend. It usually took us 1 ½ hours to get there and we were trying to make the 6pm flight on Southwest Airlines. We got 1/3rd of the way there when traffic on the freeway came to a dead stop. At the same time, I noticed our van was overheating. I remembered my Dad telling me that if my car were ever overheating, to turn on the fan, and keep moving, so the outside air would help keep the engine cooler. I turned on the fan, but there was no way we could move. “Oh, God,” I prayed, “please make a way for us.”
I pulled over to the right, and decided to drive on the burm. I went very slowly, because people usually get really mad when someone does this, and in Chicago, they sometimes block your way if they see you coming. I certainly didn’t want to get in an accident. The kids were nervous. Charlie commented that I was driving in the wrong lane and Erin said people were giving us dirty looks; but I just told the kids to pray that God would take care of us. After about a mile, we ended up right behind a tow truck. The mechanic had just hooked up a disabled vehicle, and was about to drive away. I honked at him, and jumped out of my van.
“Pardon me sir, but we’re having car trouble (this was before everyone had cell phones). Could you possibly come back for us once you’ve taken this car wherever you’re headed?”
“Sure!” he said, and off he went. Charlie wondered if we would make the 6pm flight. Erin didn’t care. I was sure we’d miss it, because even if our car hadn’t acted up, the freeway was such a mess that we probably would have been late anyway.
So, the mechanic came back for us, took us to his repair shop, and began working on our van. Meanwhile, I called Southwest airlines, cancelled the kids’ 6pm flight, and made reservations for the 8:30pm flight. I called their dad and told him what was going on. An hour later, we were back on the freeway (oh- the mechanic wouldn’t accept any money! He was so happy to be helping out a single mom and her kids, and he loved hearing about our faith in God). We got to Midway at 8pm, and Charlie and Erin made their flight. While waiting for the kids to board, I learned that a dozen people from the 6pm flight had experienced the same freeway mess that we did, but hadn’t gotten to the airport in time. They missed their flight, and tried to switch to the later flight, but there were only two available seats on the 8:30pm flight. Guess who got them? Charlie and Erin. Our car trouble experience led to a good outcome!!
And wait- it gets even better. While I was driving home, it started to rain buckets. By the time I got to my exit, it was 10pm. I was driving down Dilley’s road when I passed an oversized van on the side of the road. About ½ a mile ahead, I saw 8 women walking on the side of the road, and they were drenched from the rain. It dawned on me that the van was probably theirs. I turned my car around, and stopped next to the ladies. I yelled out of my window, “Heh- you all need a ride?”
“No thanks. We’re fine.” (Yea right- fine? Soaking wet fine?)
“Well, I’m a lady, and I won’t hurt you.” They looked at each other, and hesitated. “And, I’m a believer!” That did it! They smiled and agreed, and climbed into my van.
Turns out, their van was a church van. They were on their way to a ladies’ weekend retreat, and they were trying to walk back to their church for help. I told ‘em my neat God story about how God worked it out that my car got fixed and the kids made their flight. Then, I said, “And you know, if all of that hadn’t of happened, I’d be home right now, and you all might still be walkin’ in the rain. God sees the big picture, huh?”
Not that He wouldn’t have sent someone else to help those ladies, but heh, He sent me! What a privilege it is to be used by God.