Who would have thought that when I set out to meet my newest grandson on June 29th that I would end up with two new tires, a broken speedometer and a new battery! The beginning of my trip was uneventful. In fact, Jeff checked the oil and other such things to make sure everything was a-o-k for the 8 and a ½ hour drive. But about 150 miles into the trip, while passing a slow moving truck in the center lane, I heard a loud POP and I knew immediately that I’d just gotten a flat! I quickly pulled over on to the shoulder and while my mind was racing as to what to do next, I noticed that someone else had pulled over ahead of me. As I stepped out of the car to assess the damage (and boy was that shredded tire a shock!), a kind gentleman came up to offer assistance. First order of business: move the car from the left shoulder to the right shoulder! Oh dear! That was going to be tricky!! But we managed to do it and decided AAA was the best “call” to make. Three and ½ hours later I was on my way again thanks to a tow truck/auto shop owner who had my tires in stock (Coincidence? I think not!) and noticed that a second tire was about to give out too.
As I sat in the air conditioned waiting room and thought about what had just happened, I realized in a modern sense that I’d just been visited by “angels”; not the winged and awesome kind that gather about God’s throne to praise Him (Is. 6: 1-3) but the human kind whose hearts are geared toward helping people in distress. And I’d like to say that the rest of the trip was uneventful and worry free but it wasn’t! Just after crossing over the Pennsylvania/Ohio border, the speedometer decided it had lived a long and productive life and died. Four days later, the battery did the same. Poor Jeff, every time I called home I could here the unspoken question, “What broke now?” This was definitely NOT the trip I’d planned! But, I eventually arrived in Michigan. The week was filled with lots love and came rapidly to an end! I was worried about driving home. What could go wrong this time? Thankfully nothing went wrong with my car, but construction on Route 80 did slow the traffic down to a halt a few times.
Life does have its unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes you set out on a quest or heading towards a goal and get totally tossed about by an unexpected event like a blown out tire. Other times the road is filled with detours or even a dead stop and you wonder if it's really worth making the journey at all. Maybe those road hazards put fear in you so that you don't even want to venture forth lest "something else goes wrong" like a busted speedometer. I guess after this trip, I've learned that the bumps might not necessarily be fun, but the fear is worse; and there will always be kindness when a stranger stops to help or a service person does their job well, or someone says an encouraging word. The bottom line is this- it does look better in the rear view mirror, but unless you leave the house, there will be nothing in the mirror to see. And if you don't leave, you may never experience the joy of where the journey brings you. So, it's best to pack your bags and be as prepared as you can.
Setting forth on a journey that brings you to something unexpected puts you in good company with a number of Biblical people: Abraham, Daniel, the disciples and Paul to name a few. Once settled in at my son’s house after the tire fiasco, I was reminded of Paul’s second missionary journey. Instead of reaching his projected target of the west coast of Asia Minor, God redirected him to Macedonia. I thought about Paul’s original destination. Had he reached it at that time we may never have had several New Testament letters that Paul wrote to churches he planted on that re-routed trip (Philippians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians) or Luke’s account of the detour in Acts 16. I started to wonder what had occurred that day which wouldn’t have happened otherwise: a 30 minute time of praise and prayer while waiting for the tow truck, being able to speak a blessing into the lives of two helpful strangers, and even the enjoyment of a beautiful sunset since a broken speedometer tends to insure you keep the speed limit! And of course the eventual joy of reaching my destination and meeting my grandson! I encourage you to take time and enjoy the detours and unexpected turns in your journey. God is in the midst of them! Watch and see what He is about to do (Heb. 11:7-8).
Ann LeFevre, M. Div.
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