A few years ago a friend and I took the church van to a conference in Chicago. It was a great day. We learned a lot and we enjoyed being together. The teaching was thought provoking and on the way back we fell into the kind of easy conversation you can’t really orchestrate ahead of time… the kind of conversation that makes time pass swiftly and the miles run by.
On a empty stretch of road our conversation was interrupted by the coughing and sputtering of the van. We were out of gas. The van coasted to the side of the road and stopped. I chastised myself for my foolishness. One of us was going to have to hike.
My friend said, “Does the church have road service?”
“Road service? Are you kidding? Of course not. We’re Christians. We have angels to handle things like that,” I joked. But in my mind I was going over my options and I really didn’t factor in angelic intervention as one of them.
Within 30 seconds a small car loaded to the windows pulled off the road and came to a stop in front of the van. A young man jumped out and started back.
“Havin’ trouble?” He asked.
“We’re out of gas. Can you take us to the nearest station?”
“Sure, hop in.”
He was a student from Trinity Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois on a tour of Christian camps in Michigan gathering ideas. He just happened along within thirty seconds of when we needed him on a desolate stretch of highway on a dark night. Not exactly an angel, but every bit as helpful at the time. I guess you might just call him a Good Samaritan… or more accurately, A Good Seminarian. Anyway he was a helpful brother with impeccable timing.
I bought him a tank of gas for his trouble and soon we were back to the van. Pulling back on the road we drove along a few minutes and then my friend broke the silence.
“That was amazing, wasn’t it?”
“If you’re not used to that kind of thing, I suppose,” I kidded.
I don’t know what your experience has been but I have had my share of dark, lonely stretches when things went wrong. Sometimes those things weren’t my fault. Sometimes I brought them on myself through attitudes, words, or behavior contrary to God’s law. Other times, like on that dark night near Saugatuck, I was just your basic foolishness that landed me in trouble.
Along the way I have noticed something. As wonderful as it is to have everything arranged and planned and insured against catastrophe, as nice as it is to have emergency provisions and contingency plans in place, there are still going to be times when we find ourselves in a bind. The Boy Scouts were onto something with the whole “Be Prepared” thing, but sometimes in spite of all my preparations I still get myself painted in a corner.
But again and again God has sent people along to help me-with just the right skill or resource, or even just the right word and all this at just the right moment. Almost like an Angel on assignment to me.
Over the years I’ve become convinced that for His children God always has just the right person to help at just the right time.
That night, rounding Lake Michigan on the way home, I was reminded of that truth again. If you are one of God’s children and you are having trouble on a dark, lonely stretch of road, don’t panic?help is on the way.