... or I could have penned this one "281 Path to Samaria" or even "East Hamilton Havoc on a Hot Saturday Afternoon." Maybe "Almost Stephenville." At any rate, you won''t find our trouble spot on an official Texas road map. But God knew exactly where Wayne and I were that sweltery day. Sweltery? Yes it was. Dutchman''s Hidden Valley. You see, it was precisely this savory spot where we relished German potato salad, smoked ham sandwiches, homemade ice cream and rich dark fudge before returning to our car for the long trip home. But that''s when the Camry had a stubborn spell (my boys would have called it muley) and refused to start. Whatever moniker comes to mind, it stranded us in 100-degree heat some sixty-nine miles from Sky King Ranch.
The plot thickened. Marie, my sweet newest friend from the fudge kiosk, summoned several young employees to help--unnamed from here, one wore a pick tee, another a red tee and the third, black-and white. (I notice style....) But each one served two stranded senior sojourners with ice water, hugs, and even a couple of conscripted customers-with-tools. Pretty amazing, huh? For that anxious hour we prayed and fully expected our vehicle to comply. It didn''t.
After several efforts had failed, one employee graciously phoned a local towing firm for us. And soon a big bright blue wrecker rambled onto the crowded parking lot, commandeered by an amiable patient man named Richard. After copious paperwork and ungraceful stepping way way up, we were finally on our way east. Okay now. I wish you could have been there too. Well, maybe not. But we got buckled up for the most remarkable, unconventional . . . church service attended by three. No, I have to say there was a Fourth Passenger traveling in the cab that day.
After only a few minutes I asked our driver about the big red paper heart taped above the mirror--and, well, he partnered with God and told me all about it. Seemed that a gate of Glory had been opened wide. That''s strong language I know, but we suddenly found ourselves in a bumpy church service. Without bulletins.
"That heart is from my four-year-old daughter," Richard beamed. "She''s the delight of my life!" His vibrant reply precluded a peculiar but precious time of sharing how he and his wife, each blessed with grown kids and even grandchildren, had answered God''s call to adopt three special-needs children. Pronounced heart problems, severe vision impairment, and heavily-damaged emotional trauma stemming from prior neglect and abuse. Specifically, the child who''d been locked in an animal crate couldn''t relate to any personal kindness, failing to talk and unable to take in nourishment for a time. Language barriers and fears, insecurities of great proportion. Severe penalties paid by innocent children for others'' cruelty. But God! But Christlike Love, real mama-and-daddy love supplied by the Lord! Real mama and daddy , I define as those loving parents who are there to comfort and care and love in the middle of the night. You might not find that definition in Webster''s Dictionary but it''s the one in this mother''s heart. Back to the story. Marissa and Richard''s ChristLove yielded the reward of security, trust, love, pleasure, and I''m persuaded, probably a preliminary pronouncement whispered from Above. "Well done!"
Heavy-duty, sweet sweet church that day. When at last my son Dan met us at a local mechanic shop, he smilingly offered sympathy to Richard for being confined all afternoon with Mama''s stories (the Heart of them: God speaks and makes us hear; whatever He speaks. Victory from Him is already finished, whether we can see it yet or not.) His coming is imminent and He intends us to expect Victory and enjoy the ride. (Guess that''s why Dan apologized).
Almost another PS here. It must be unnamed, but Richard''s bright blue tow truck followed us home that day and he gave us one more gift--as if the Presence of God in him were not abundantly rewarding! Okay then. Time to put on the brake. Let''s just remember when all we see ahead is a long and hard-to-travel trip Home, Jesus is just a whisper away (a precious echo from Sarah Young). For frustrated sojourners, Richard and his rough-riding wrecker filled our problem with God Words and Sweet Worship. Thank You, Lord, for a wonderful trip!