Monday, April 20, 2015

Hitting red lights is a gift—really

I hit one red light after another. It used to make me crazy, now I just shake my head and say, “It’s a gift.”
Who am I kidding?
My knuckles still turn white on the steering wheel when the light goes from green to yellow and then red.
I was in a hurry. On days like that—I’m doubly blessed.
But, I tried to do the honorable thing. I tried to say a little prayer while I sat and waited for the light to turn green.  
“Thank you God for Your perfect timing” I said through a frustrated breath. I even tried to imagine Him slowing me down, so I’d be in tune with His perfect timing.
And then, believe it or not—this is getting ridiculous—I pulled to a stop sign. Not a light, a stop sign. A simple red sign, on a back street, that has no traffic, ever…until I show up.
As my gift would have it, as soon as I pulled up, to the simple red octagon sign on a quiet back street where nobody ever drives…a road grader that looked like it had been gathering dust on the side of the road for a hundred years, started rolling backward, right into the intersection and then, it turned toward me.
He was picking up speed and didn’t show any signs of slowing down or seeing me. I flipped into reverse and backed up so he didn’t flatten me. Another worker wearing a yellow hardhat, jumped from a white pickup with yellow lights on top. He ran behind the road grader waving his clipboard.
The backing beeping machine slowed to a stop and the back-up lights went out and it eased ahead.
I released the breath I’d been holding.
I drove away shaking my head. “Thank you God, for Your perfect timing.”
After sitting through and slamming into reverse once to prevent getting run over from a road grader with road rage, we finally made it to the Florida Hospital. My favorite hospital. The one with Bible verses painted on the walls. Over the main entrance painted big and bold for all the world to see are the words:  EXTENDING THE HEALING MINISTRY OF CHRIST 

We made our way to the third floor.
Les was still there. His wife was next to him. We talked and laughed and prayed.
When a few more friends showed up, I went to the cafeteria for coffee. There was nobody waiting in line as I walked in and the man behind the cash register looked bored. But, when I was ready to checkout, he was busy and I had to wait in line, of course. 
Two lines formed on either side of a single cashier. He’d take turns checking out customers, alternating from one side to the other.
At the exact moment I stepped up to the till the lady opposite me was saying to the man running the till, “I hope it’s not more than six dollars and seventy-four cents because that’s all I’ve got.”
He punched some numbers and said, “Seven dollars and fifty-nine cents.”
I said, “Here, I’ll cover the difference.”
She handed me her money and the man scratched his head trying to figure out how to ring up this turn of events. I told him to add my coffee to the order and I’d pay for the works.
The lady looked at me as if I’d just found a cure for cancer.
As I rode the elevator I could hear echoes in my soul, “God’s perfect timing.”
I wondered about the red lights and road-rage-grader. I thought about the lady at the till. What was she going through? Was she visiting a sick friend? Or worse? Did she just scrape up her last dime to pay for her first meal in days?  Was she sitting now, by the bedside of a dying child? She did look tired.
I should’ve found her. I should’ve asked her if she wanted to pray.
I thought about the timing. If I’d have been ten seconds this way or that, I’d have missed the lady’s comment…and the chance to help her with her purchase. I wouldn’t have whispered a silent prayer for her there in that elevator. I wouldn’t be here telling you about her, so that maybe you could say a prayer for her, too.
But then again, maybe it was just coincidence. I mean, what are the odds that God would orchestrate such an event?
Just then the elevator door opened at the third floor and there painted on the opposite wall were the words…
“Be still, and know that I AM God.”

And don't forget about Les. We’ve prayed a lot for him, since then. He was transferred to another hospital and had surgery for multiple blockages, he’s recovering nicely. And he will tell you, "God is never late, seldom early, but always good, and right on time."   


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