Monday, January 12, 2015

Stranded? No Way!

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19   

Welcome to Desdemona
The day after Christmas, our family packed our luggage and a few Christmas presents into our minivan and headed out for Boerne, just north of San Antonio where Laura’s parents live.  We had considered going Christmas afternoon, but decided to go the next day so more options would be open for gas and bathroom breaks.

About two miles north of Desdemona on Hwy 16, we came upon a semi-truck who was driving much slower than the posted speed limit of 75mph.  After following for a bit I found a stretch of road where I could pass the truck.  As I completed my pass, I noticed a very brief spray of water vapor that escaped from the driver’s side of the hood of our van.  Had I actually seen it or had it been my imagination.  There were no further immediate signs of problems, so we continued.

Just outside of Desdemona though, a chime sounded in the van and I looked at the instrument cluster.  The engine was over-heating!  I quickly got to the side of the road and pulled into the parking lot of a local café.  Being the day after Christmas, everything was closed.  What were we going to do?
I opened the hood and found where a hose on the coolant system had failed.  Behind me, I heard a woman’s voice.  A young woman introduced herself as an employee of the local café who had come in today to clean.  She asked if we needed help.  The answer was indeed ‘yes’.  The woman called her father, who came by and examined the situation.  Then he disappeared, but not before calling a friend of his who was an air conditioning repairman.  This gentleman performed a stop-gap repair to the system that temporarily slowed our coolant leak.  Laura and I photographed the failed part and sent it to the Dodge dealership in Stephenville, 22 miles away.  As it turned out, that dealership had the part we needed. 

Welcome to Stephenville
With gentle driving, we made our way toward Stephenville.  The repair failed just as we entered the city.  Overheating again, the van chugged to a stop just inside the city limits.  I called Bruner Dodge and a tow truck and a courtesy van were dispatched. Half an hour later, we were in the service department of the local Dodge dealership.  But while we waited, four separate Good Samaritans stopped to see if they could assist us.  Four post-Christmas travelers turned their cars around and pulled over to make certain that we were going to be okay.  It was very much a message from our Father assuring us that at no point were we going to be alone in this adventure.

Our friend Paul Wright was travelling to meet his wife Didi in Boerne when he learned of our peril, he diverted his course and joined us at the dealership.  He convinced Laura to take his own car and continue on to be with her parents at their home.  A few hours later, our vehicle was repaired and Paul and I were back on the road once again.  I arrived in Boerne, six hours late…but without harm, and very thankful for all God had done to preserve and cover my family.

The Lord Provided
While I was driving I’d had opportunity to reflect on how our loving Heavenly Father had been watching over us the entire time.  Had we left on Christmas day:
  •  There would have been no one at the café in Desdemona to come to our aid. 
  • The Dodge dealership in Stephenville would not have been open to conduct repairs. 
  • Paul Wright would have not been driving through the area for another 24 hours. 
  • We would have been stranded and able only to have a tow truck take us back to Weatherford.
  • Our trip to be with family would have been cancelled.

None of this turned out to be the case, however.  It became very clear that the Lord had guided our steps long before we ever departed and arranged the placement of those who would come to our aid in a perfect concert of his care.

Understandable QuestionsOften, when trials befall us we have opportunity to question why the events had to happen in the first place.  It could be asked – “why didn’t God just keep the water hose from rupturing?  Why have our family go through the whole drawn out ordeal?”  Well, I suppose he could have.  And it truth, there are likely innumerable instances where the Father steers us clear of hardship or loss!  We are unaware of these mercies because the pitfalls never occur.  I can look back however, over the events that he guided us through and see his hand and his provision.  These realities bring me not to blame Him for not sheltering us from the events, but to give Him praise for his obvious involvement in making a way for us to safely find our way to our destination!

No doubt you have had similar times where you could see God’s handprints and footprints in your life.  Give him thanks and praise.  As Joshua 1:9 commands: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Almighty God, I am so thankful for your provision, protection and compassion. For all the ways and times you have protected me without even my knowing, I give you thanks and praise.  Help me live worthy of these mercies! And let me tell the world of your loving kindness.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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