I’m sharing a story today of an event that happened earlier this week. It was an immense encouragement to me! I hope it blesses you as well, and shows you how God’s interruptions are better than our best-laid plans.
I’d gathered the kids and loaded them in the car, arms weighed down with sippy cups, packed lunches and two tag-along baby dolls. We headed out, a bit late, but with enough time to slip into church for Bible study … or so I thought. The drive was uneventful. But a couple hundred yards shy of our exit, one of my rear tires went flat.
I hobbled the car onto the shoulder and reached for my wallet so I could call roadside assistance, a bit dejected that we would miss Bible study and a little frustrated to be dealing with the hassle of auto maintenance. That’s when I saw it: one hundred feet ahead, a truck with a flatbed trailer was pulled over. I never saw him maneuver off the road. Immediately, I sensed that he had stopped to assist us.
“I think he’s going to help,” I told the kids.
Sure enough, white tail lights signified that he was reversing. Kind eyes set into a tan face topped with blonde hair jogged up to my car. My spirit was immediately at ease.
“I have a flat,” I said, stating the obvious.
He ran back to his truck to grab a jack and gloves and returned, saying something to reference God. Then he immediately set to work, searching for tools to unload the spare. Meanwhile I stood on the shoulder, watching cars careening by, signaling some to move into another lane.
As I stood there, I shot up a prayer: “God, what are you teaching me here ?” I asked. “Help me to see what you want me to learn.”
A few minutes later, as he wrangled to free the spare tire, he introduced himself as Billy. He told me he was retired from AT&T and now provides transport services for oil and gas. It was also in those brief minutes of dialogue that he told me he had been listening to the book of John while driving. My heart leapt … God was not only providing me with immediate provision, but He was also using this seemingly inconvenient interruption to minister to my spirit.
Nearly half a mile behind us, a courtesy patrol car was pulled over onto the shoulder. Within a few minutes, he had pulled up behind us. Billy poked his head from beneath my car with a smile. “Good,” he said. “I prayed he would show up, and here he is!” He slapped me a high five.
With courtesy patrol assisting, they had my tire changed in a matter of minutes. And as quickly as he’d appeared, Billy began gathering his things. I thanked him, gave him a hug, and confirmed his name. “Billy, right?” I asked. “Billy, with Vision Transport,” he said with a smile. “We transport more than one vision.”
Still reeling a bit from the obvious revealing of God’s provision, I walked toward the driver’s side door … and then Billy prayed! Right there, on the side of the interstate, this man lifted my family and I up in prayer to The Lord. He prayed for protection, for blessing, that we would be a light. And as his words spilled out, tears filled my eyes.
Looking back, I wish I had echoed a prayer to bless he and his family, but I was still so surprised by the events that I could hardly utter an appropriate “thank you.”
And then with hardly a moment more, he was jogging back to his truck. I quickly snapped a picture of his license plate so I might be able to find him and send him a thank you later. And then he was gone before I could even maneuver my car back onto the highway. (Mysteriously, when I viewed the picture later, the license plate number was completely smudged and unreadable.)
When I returned home later that day, the events and God’s goodness still fresh on my heart, I opened to John 1 and began reading:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)
Billy was a physical manifestation of the light to me today. Whether God ordained his path, or he just happened to be passing by at the very moment I needed him, I don’t know. But I do know that Billy spoke the Word, he testified to the light, and he revealed truth and grace to me and my children in a very tangible way.
Given the choice, I wouldn’t have chosen the circumstances. But God had other plans, and His interruptions are better than our best-laid intentions. They always are. God interrupted Moses’ in the desert with a burning bush, Mary with an angel, and Paul with a blinding light. He plucked David from the field and set him on a course to kingship, and He interrupted the life of Esther to eventually crown her queen. When God interrupts, lives are changed.
Billy may never know what an immense blessing he was to me and my kids, but God used him to reveal His protection and His provision in the most unexpected way. May you too, be encouraged today, when you encounter interruptions and inconveniences. When your day doesn’t go as planned, when unexpected circumstances arise, I pray you may handle them with truth and grace. And I pray that you may have eyes to see God’s hand working in the midst of it all.
I feel I I should add that I don’t think Billy was an angel; I think he was a flesh-and-blood Christ follower who saw a need and met it with grace. That’s what my mind says. There’s a part of my heart, however, that may think otherwise. And on that note, if anyone happens to know Billy with Vision Transport, please let me know, so I can send him an appropriate thank you!
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