It’s my day off. The grass in my yard is way too long and my lawn mower is broken, so I loaded it in the van and took it to my mechanic on the outskirts of town. I called him twice, tried his cell number and his home number but he didn’t answer…was he in the shop or maybe on vacation? I decided to take the mower to his shop anyway and leave it by the door – I also needed to stop at the office and do some paperwork so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.
On my way out of the church parking lot (yep, got my paperwork done) I drove past a man carrying a tire as he walked on the side of the highway – the church is a little more than two miles from town. I decided to turn around and ask him if he wanted a ride. I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to at least offer, even if he were to say no I was compelled to extend a helping hand to this stranger on the side of the highway.
“Hey, would you like a ride to town?” He looked surprised and replied, “sure, but the tire has water in it.” “No, problem,” I said as I opened the back of the van. I shook most of the water out of the tire and placed it on the blanket that I had lined the van with because of taking my mower to the mechanic. It turns out that my new friend had walked over three miles to a salvage yard to buy a used tire for his car, which was parked at a convenience store in town. I just couldn’t let him walk another three miles carrying a tire.
We had a good talk while I drove him to his car. After dropping him off I noticed that his spare tire was also flat – he had no way to drive his car to get the tire fixed – so I offered him another ride to the tire shop and he was very gracious to accept my help. During our conversation I mentioned, casually, that I was a pastor at the church near the location where I picked him up. As we were driving to the tire repair shop he quietly and humbly asked for me to ‘say a prayer’ for him because I was a pastor. God was providing an open door, an chance to really speak into this person’s life and I was grateful for this opportunity!
I told him I would be glad to pray for him and I asked him to tell me his story. His name is John and he has an autistic son who is 8 years old. He also has a wife who had been hospitalized for several weeks. She’s currently as a special hospital in another city to receive treatment for heart failure. Everyday his son travels to a school in another city too. So, here’s a hard working guy with an autistic son who travels nearly an hour, one way, to school and back each day, his wife is sick and hospitalized in a city about an hour in the other direction, and he’s walking for miles to fix a flat tire – this guy was having bad day.
I was impressed with John’s attitude. He said it was a bad day but “tomorrow would be better.” Wow, sometimes we can learn so many good things from strangers, if only we would take the time to say hello and let them teach us.
I prayed with John in the parking lot of the tire repair shop and I gave him my name and number in case he needs somebody to talk to in the future. I don’t know where this will go but I’m glad to have made a friend for the day and maybe I will get another chance to get to know him and his family, God only knows the answer to that. Perhaps I entertained an angel today? I doubt it, but you never know. I also glad that God’s timing is perfect. It’s not everyday that I have a blanket in the back of my van (made it easy to put a dirty tire in the van) and now I know why I decided to drop off my mower even though my mechanic was not at his shop, this allowed me the opportunity to learn from John and pray for him – I hope God works a miracle in his life!
As you are done reading this please pray for John, Tracy, and Alexander – they need your prayers. I trust that God will provide them strength and comfort as they struggle through life’s challenges.