Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Sunday, April 2

Seeing God in a Stranger

More than 15 years ago, I had an experience that was terrifying to me, an event that to this day makes me feel thankful for Godís presence in my life and indebted to the kindness of a stranger. It happened before we owned a cell phone and was indeed the very reason we soon bought one!

Our grandson was playing in a late afternoon basketball game in Topeka. It was winter, and I was determined to attend even though I would be going alone and driving home after dark. I headed back to Wichita as soon as the game was over. It was quite cold - only 11 degrees - but I had appropriate clothing and a warm car. I passed Emporia and was nearing mile marker 100 when suddenly: thump, thump. I knew I had a flat tire. I pulled over to the shoulder, turned on the hazard lights and thought, ďGreat! Now what shall I do?Ē

I began to panic a little, but I knew I had to get out and walk, hoping someone would stop, hoping I was not too far from a service area, praying that, if someone did stop, it would be someone nice who would let me use their cell phone to get help.

I hadnít walked very far when a car pulled over. That in itself was a little scary. A man got out and asked what was wrong. As we walked back to my car, he, too, appeared apprehensive - my carís rear windows were tinted and he couldnít see if I was alone. He looked at the tire and asked if I had a spare. I explained that if only I could use his cell phone, I would call an automobile service. He said it might take a long time for a service to get to me, so he volunteered to change the tire and sat in my car with me while I called Waldo. He was so kind, even while I was falling apart!

We introduced ourselves. He was very nicely dressed, far too nicely to be on his knees changing my tire. I wanted to repay him for his kindness, but he refused. I asked if I could make a donation to the Lordís Diner in his honor, and he was pleased. He assured me he would follow me to my exit, and he did just that. As I exited, he turned on his interior lights and waved. I felt for a moment that my lifeline was gone, but it was not, as I fully believe God was with me and had been all along, even to providing a kind stranger to help me.

Well, I was more than a little shaken after this experience and vowed no more travel without a cell phone! But there is a little more to the story. Following up on the donation in honor of my rescuer, I received a wonderful note from the director of the Lordís Diner, thanking me, commending him, and she closed with this comment: ďChrist is with us always. Even on a dark road on a cold night, he is always with us.Ē What a blessing!

Lotus Gerards

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