Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Divine Encounters

Let me share a cool story with you.

I was driving home last night from a conference in Eden Prairie (the HNI regional conference, not that you care). I was driving on 494 near the Mall of America when my car inexplicably began to coast. The engine had died. I was in a middle lane, but was luckily able to maneuver to the right side of the road. I checked some things and tried unsuccessfully to get it started. I was discouraged. I think the enemy tries to attack my vehicles. I have only been driving like 8 years and I have totaled 2 cars and had mechanical problems with 3. It's not just me being an idiot or bad diver, either. Something is up.

Anyway, I was waiting ten minutes to try it one more time to ensure it hadn't flooded or anything and I was in prayer, asking God to fix this. Long story short, it didn't start. So, I called for a tow.

The guy was there quickly (less than 10 minutes). In a short time he hooked the car up and we were gone. We began chatting and he turned out to be a very nice guy. His name was Ed. At one point he asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a Youth Pastor. "Wow! Do you mind if I ask you how you decided to do that?" He asked. So, I shared my testimony with him. He told me that he had gone to church a few times when he was a kid, but his family wasn't really into it and church wasn't a part of his life now. But, he said he hoped that some day he would go back. I told him a bit about the Harbor. I told him about our Alpha course, that it was a practical introduction to the Christian faith where questions could be answered in a non-threatening environment. "That sounds perfect!", he said. He asked a few questions about catholics and other stuff, which I was happy to answer. By this time we were to our destination. I gave him my card and said if he had any more questions or wanted to check out the Harbor or Alpha to give me a call. He said, "You may not believe this, but I do actually plan to check you guys out." I think he meant it, and I hope he does.

It would have been really easy for me to get discouraged about my car crapping out and miss an opportunity to connect with Ed. With about 3 million people in the Twin Cities metro, there would have been almost no other way to get Ed and I to connect without something like this happening. I think that God arranged that meeting. Feel free to think me an over spiritual psycho, but I do. Ed was seeking. He was the right age for me to be able to connect with him. We seem to have the right program to fit with what he needs. I believe God set this up. How many opportunities have I missed in the past because I have been selfish and was not open to what God wanted to do? May we be ambassadors of God's love 24-7. May we, when times get tough, trust that God may have us in the situation because there is something he wants to do, someone he wants to touch. May we make the most of our opportunities to connect with the Eds of this world.


Anonymous said...

★Nick Is this you? … :)!

Tim said...

As a youth, I used to cringe when older people in my church would say "God works in mysterious ways." But as I experienced Jesus more deeply, it is absolutely true. It is even more true to say that God is always working, and His ways will be revealed to us as we are faithful to Him.

I had a breakdown story that God worked in a wonderful way. My sophomore year in college I was supposed to be a chaperone for my home church's youth retreat. But I wasn't able to go near the last minute because my grandfather had been ill. So on my way home, I blew out 2 tires (both driver side) on the highway at 60 mph while in the left lane. I was able to get over to the right lane, just in time for an exit and stopped on the exit ramp.

I walked to the first house I could find, asked to use the phone and called the brother of my youth pastor friend who happened to live near my college. I barely knew him, but he said he would come out to get me. In the meantime, the father of the house I called from came home and said he'd take me to get the tires replaced. 2 hours later, I was on the road again, but had $150 bill in my pocket.

I got home and spent a wonderful weekend with my grandfather, and as it turned out, the last such weekend I would spend with him. When I got to church on Sunday, I told my youth pastor friend what happened on my way home. He looked at me funny and said "I always take the exact amount of cash we need for youth activities. No more or no less than what I am told we'll need by the planners. I had $100 left over this time, so it must be for you."

I was floored! We had a time of praise and prayer at church that night. My grandfather, while ill, insisted on attending, even though everyone in the church didn't expect him to come. I told the story of the weekend, and about the $100. He shared about the weekend he and I got to have. We got to pray together and for each other.

When I got back to college and checked the mail on Wednesday, there was a card from another member of my church who had been at the evening praise and prayer time. He wrote "Anyone who is talented enough to blow two tires at once deserves a little help." Included in the card was $50.

I'll never forget how much God was providing for me that weekend, from providing for my needs through the nice people at that house, the money, and in helping my grandfather have the strength to interact with me that weekend, and even the forethought he gave my grandfather when he told me that he would not be able to wait until Thanksgiving to see me again, meaning he knew that he only had a couple more weeks to live.

I've been able to share with others God's faithfulness through that story and many others. God provides and He is faithful! Thank you for sharing your story.

I'm enjoying your blog, especially the Donald Miller stuff.

Nick said...

Hey Tim, thanks for the story. Pretty amazing. I think we should put that "God works in mysterious ways" saying to rest and just tell our stories, letting the listener come to their own conclusion about God.

Glad to have another reader.