By Sandra Doran
I believe God cares about the small things in our lives. Sometimes He gives me no other choice.
I left work on a busy Thursday afternoon, anxious to get home and begin cooking for the weekend. A few miles down the road I just missed a green light. At the bottom of a hill mine was the first car in a long line of vehicles waiting to turn left at a major intersection. Then it happened.
Three warning lights flashed briefly on my car’s dashboard, then faded, as my car coughed to a dead stop. My first thought was for all of those anxious commuters snaking up the hill behind me. What was going to happen when the light turned green? Maybe if I could let the guy behind me know what was going on, he could figure out how to get around my stalled vehicle, signaling others to do the same. Quickly I exited the car, staying as close to the vehicle as I could as traffic whizzed by in the other lane.
“My car just died,” I told the guy in the black SUV. “You’re going to have to try to get around me.”
Magnanimous guy that he was, he nodded, grunted, and got about his business of navigating around the obstacle as soon as the light changed. Seated in my car in the middle of the mayhem, I endured the honking, swearing, and general disgust as cars sped to the right and left of me, driving in the wrong lane and pushing others out of the way as best they could.
Grateful for my cell phone, I quickly made two calls: one to my husband, and the other to the automobile association, whose best estimate was a two-hour wait. Eric arrived within 15 minutes, pulling his pickup into an abandoned gas station slightly up the hill behind me. Running across the road, he grabbed my hand and my briefcase, and we fled through a break in the traffic to the safety of the other side. We were at a loss about how to handle the cause of all the commotion in the middle of the road.
“If I could somehow push it backward, up the hill,” Eric said, “I could try to get it turned into the driveway here. Lord, please send someone to help me.”
At that precise moment a battered car swerved into the abandoned gas station, and a young man jumped out. “Need help?”
I stood rooted to the spot, convinced that he had been placed on earth for this very purpose. Eric extended his hand. “You are a gift of grace,” he said. “I just prayed that God would send someone to help us.”
The young man pointed toward heaven, acknowledging his own belief. The three of us then hatched a quick plan and put it into action. I ran down to the corner and stopped traffic. The young man got in front of the car and began pushing it up the hill. Eric got beside the open driver’s side window, alternately steering and pushing.
Slowly, gradually, the tires rolled, and the car eased its way in a gentle backward arc toward the gas station. Drivers on all sides gave us the necessary berth, staying put or backing up to give us the headway we needed to accomplish the task.
Finally out of harm’s way, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Again, Eric expressed his gratitude. “You’ve been an answer to prayer.” The young man smiled broadly, embraced him, jumped into his battered car, and veered back into the moving traffic.
Safely ensconced in the pickup beside my stalled vehicle, we waited for the tow truck, splitting a can of Pringles that rolled out from under the seat. The night sky darkened, and the God of all things, great and small, began to hang the stars.
Sandra Doran, Ed.D. is head of schools for North Tampa Christian Academy in Florida, United States, an innovative campus on 43 acres that will open in 2018.