Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A lesson in prayer or a funny thing happened on the way home from work

Hello folks, this is WayneDawg...

I want to thank DP for allowing me an opportunity to post here during his time away. Let me tell you a little about myself…

I’m married to beautiful woman who is the bride of my youth, a father of three and a grandfather of three. Born and raised in Miami, Florida. Moved to the beautiful North Georgia mountains when I was 16 and have been here ever since. Became a born-again Christian (yup, one of those) in the mid 90’s and my world has never been the same.

Since many of the Doorman-Priest readers already know that my Christian beliefs are much different than those who comment here, I decided to post a personal experience that I had about a year after I became a Christian. The experience still blows my mind whenever I think about it. Maybe after reading my experience, some of you might want to share a similar experience you or someone you know may have had!

A lesson in prayer or a funny thing happened on the way home from work

It was a cold and rainy winter day in January 1996 as I left the office and headed the short distance home. I had just turned onto the main highway and started up the hill when I noticed a hitchhiker, thumb out, going in my direction. This hitchhiker looked liked the proverbial San Francisco hippie who was MIA from 1967 and had been transplanted on this highway as a result of some freaky wormhole incident. As I mentioned, it was cold and rainy this day. This hippy was wrapped in a bundle of what should have been warm flannel shirts and a couple jackets. He had on a red bandanna holding back his wet, matted long black hair which had almost the same exact appearance of his beard. I don’t know how long this guy had been trying to hitch a ride, but judging from his completely soaked clothes, he had been out there awhile. Did I mention it was cold? The temperature was probably somewhere in the mid to high 30’s. There had been talk of some sleet accumulating later in the evening, but for the moment it was just a very, very cold rain.

As I was passing by this incredible sight, this throwback to another time and place, our eyes met. In that moment, time seemed to slow down as we stared into each others gazes. His eyes seemed to say to me, ‘how can you pass me by….how can you not help me out?’ His countenance went from hopeful to a head hanging sadness that I will never forget. At that moment I said out loud and from my heart, ‘Lord, I would rather do anything than pick up this hitcher, anything.’ I repeated this over and over as I tried to rid my mind of that last image I had of his sad, rejected face.

I was a new Christian. It had been only a little over a year since I had been saved by the grace of God when I passed that hitcher. I was still learning in leaps and bounds all I could about my new faith in Christ and I was about to be schooled by the Lord Himself on the power of a heartfelt prayer.

I’m not in the habit, even to this day, of picking up hitchers. I will, and have many times, stopped and helped people change a tire, push a car off the road, take someone to get gas, help someone in an accident, but I don’t pick up hitchers.

I continued to pray, out loud, my prayer of doing anything for the Lord except picking up the hitcher.

As I rounded a turn on the highway a few miles up the road, there off on the side of the road, was a very elderly woman trying to look under the back end of her car. This car was a very bad looking, faded green, 70’s something Ford Maverick. As I approached the car it was obvious that this was my answered prayer in opposition to picking up the hitcher.

I pulled in behind the Maverick, got out and asked the woman what was wrong with her car. She said she didn't know. She said that she was on her way home when all of a sudden, about five minutes ago, there was a bad noise coming from the back of her car. Five minutes ago I thought. Hmmm, coincidentally about the time I started praying for something other than picking up the hitcher.

I told her to get back in her car (to get out of the rain) and I would have a look under her car. Well I bent down as far as I could to look under her car to see what that matter was, but couldn't quite see without crawling under the vehicle. I went back to my car to get an umbrella and maybe find something to lie on so I could crawl under the car in my office apparel. I found neither. So I made an executive decision to just go ahead and get under the car and figure out what was wrong and get this lady on her way. The part of the road where she pulled over had been freshly graded off for a road to the woods. This same road later became the entrance to the sub-division where I live now. Hmmm. Needless to say with all the rain, the road was very muddy and it had been partially filled with loose gravel to make crawling under cars the perfect mixture of mess and pain.

When I finally got under the rear of the car I found the problem. The rusted pipe that led to the rusty muffler had finally broken off and the only thing holding the rusty muffler to the car was this leathery looking strap. So I crawled back from under her car and went rummaging through my car for anything that might cut loose the strap that held the muffler. I found no such instrument of destruction in my car. I walked back to the woman in the Maverick and tapped on her window. By now I’m soaked, wet, muddy and very, very cold.

The elderly lady slowly rolled down her window and, after telling her what was wrong, I ask her if she might happen to have a knife of some kind in her car. She finds a butter knife (of course) in her glove compartment and I gladly take it and crawl back under the car. After about ten minutes of trying to cut through a half frozen wet leathery strap with wet frozen fingers I finally managed to free the beast that was dragging under her car. I put the muffler in her car and told her she would be able to drive home but to get it fixed right away.She asked me how much she owed me for helping her out and I told her that I couldn't accept any money for doing what I asked to do. She said thank you and drove on in the same direction I was going.

When I got my frozen wet muddy self back in my car I understood at that moment that I had just been schooled on the power of prayer. As I pulled my car back onto the road and headed home I realized that the Maverick was no where to be seen. Only a few seconds had passed since she pulled out and there was no way she could have sped off that fast. I hustled my car up around the next turn and she was no where in sight. When I got to the long stretch of road toward my home there was not a car to be seen.

Was she an angel sent specifically to answer my prayer and test me to see if I would indeed do anything but pick up that hitcher? Maybe she was. Maybe she wasn’t; but she could've been. Heck, the hippy could have been an angel that was there to see what I would do for all I know. Or, maybe he wasn’t; but he could have been.

Here’s what I took from that incident.

* Be careful of what you pray for.

*You just never know when you might be interacting with an angel.

Or, sometimes funny things happen that you can't explain.