Monday, October 19, 2015

How to change a flat tire..and a life

Want to know how to change a flat tire...and a life?

We could see blinking red lights way off in the distance. As we drew near, it was too dark too see much more than the flashers and someone standing behind the car.

“A woman—” said Roxy—“She’s wearing a skirt and it looks like she’s holding a cell phone.”

We turned off the highway, just before we reached her. The road we took veered off to the left at an angle. I kept watching to see if someone would stop.

No one did.

I couldn’t, because, well, it doesn’t really matter why. I just couldn’t.

Okay fine…
I had to go to the bathroom.

I eased off the accelerator, watching, hoping, willing someone to stop…no one did.

We pulled into a farmer’s driveway and turned around.

Her name is Nya. Her tire was flat.

As I worked she held the flashlight. At first I couldn’t figure out how to operate the tiny crack up, toy like, jack. And then, I couldn’t figure out how to fit the toy jack under the little car that sat a few inches off the ground.

I prayed out loud. “Help me Jesus.”

She said. “Yes.”

I found a lip just in front of the rear, driver’s side, flat tire.

She told me she had fled Sudan with her husband.

I turned the toy crank and the car went up. “Thank you Jesus.”

“We are Christian and we were persecuted for being so.”

I groaned. The lug nuts weren’t budging. I figured it had something to do with the tiny toy lug wrench that came with the toy jack. I said something about how we take so much for granted in America…and that I needed to grab a hammer out of my tool box.

My wife, Roxy, got out of the truck and the two ladies hugged like they were long lost friends.

I grabbed a hammer and a long wrench to use as a cheater. I stuck the end of the wrench into the end of the toy lug wrench and prayed under my breath, give me strength. The lug popped free.  “Thank you Jesus.”

“My husband and I tried for years to have a child.”

I worked on freeing the rest of the lugs.

Nya said, “I told the Lord, ‘okay Lord’ if you don’t want me to have a child, that’s okay, You know what is best.”

I cranked the toy jack a few more times and pulled on the tire.

“And—” I think she smiled—“now I am pregnant.”

“Wow. Did you ever watch the movie Facing The Giants?”

She had seen the movie but I told her anyway about how the coach’s wife, Brooke,couldn’t get pregnant and as she stood in the parking lot, after yet another, negative doctor’s report, she prayed, "I will still love You—” tears—“I will still love You Lord...” About that time a nurse hustled out of the clinic and told her there was a mix up in the paper work and yes indeed she was pregnant.

“God has been so good to us. He is so good.” She said.

I pulled on the tire again, but it was no use. It was stuck.

Nya grabbed the tire. “Maybe if we both pull.”

I told her she shouldn’t be doing that in her condition. She pulled anyway. We pulled—it wouldn’t budge.

I told her if she wanted to sit in the truck or the car to rest, that’d be okay. She said her feet were cold and so she’d sit in the car for a little while.

My wife called her brother, Mark, who is a tow-truck-driver-extraordinaire.
I walked to the back of the truck and found a scrap of wood.

Roxy walked back there too, “Mark asked if you had a scrap of—”

I held up the wood.

I hammered on the wood placed over the tire in various locations. I hammered until the wood split in two. I kicked the tire. Pulled the tire. Doubled up the wood and hammered the tire some more.

I grabbed the tire and Nya got out and grabbed it too, only this time a wire from the shredded tire poked her finger. She took another grip and we pulled…it was stuck.

I sprayed some penetrating oil through the lug holes and after a minute or two gave it a kick and voilĂ  she popped loose.

Nya held the flash light so I could line up the holes and get the lugs started. After that it was just a matter of tightening the bolts with the toy wrench , lowering the car and putting away the tools.

Just as we were finishing, a cop pulled up.

“Now you show up” I said.

He laughed and told us he was on his way to another call, but he’d wait with his lights on until we got ready to go.

I put the old tire and the toy jack in the trunk. Roxy grabbed my tools. 

I followed the cop back to his car and thanked him. “I mean it. Really. Thank you. For everything. For all you do, we appreciate you.” And I meant it. I meant it so much that I got choked up…just like when I thank a vet for their service.

He shook his head. “No, thank you. It’s not often we hear stuff like that.”

We shook hands and he was off to his next call.

Nya thanked us again, for the hundredth time and we decided to be facebook friends.

We followed her about a mile to the highway she needed and watched her wave goodbye as she drove away. We prayed she’d make it safely back to her husband about an hour away.

I woke up around 1:30 in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. So, here I sit, in the dark, typing this story to you.

At first, though, I tried to go back to sleep. I prayed about stuff. I prayed Nya had made it home safe…

And that’s when it hit me. Instead of feeling sleepy, all I felt was a wave of humble-thankfulness.


That’s the only way I can describe it.

I was humbled for the honor of helping someone. Seriously, think about it, I couldn’t have been the first choice. Lots of cars had gone by.

It’s not about being first—it’s about being willing to turn around.

Furthermore, I certainly wasn’t the best choice. I’m not exactly Mr. Mechanic. I didn’t even know how to work that weird little toy jack thingy. There had to be someone more qualified for the job. But I was still allowed to do it.

Knowing what to do isn’t nearly as important as knowing Who to turn to.

You might be Nya—stuck alone, out in the cold, dark, night.

But, I’m here to tell you—you’re not alone. You never were and you never will be.

God is always first on the scene.

He’s a first responder’s First Responder.

Do you see Nya?

Are you watching, hoping, willing someone else to stop? If you see the need, it’s up to you.

Seeing a need is really your seed. You decide if you’ll get your hands dirty and plant it.

Perhaps you’ve pulled over, you want to help, but you don’t know what to do.

That’s good.

When you can’t figure out what to do—that’s God’s way of saying, “I want to help.”


 Prayer is the most powerful force on earth.

Or maybe you’re sweating, your hands are dirty. You’ve kicked and hammered and pulled with all your might, but it just. won’t. budge. 


Every noble cause involves more than just one.

Another person shining some light might be all you need.  And, being afraid to ask is no reason for not asking.


 And don’t forget the oil. Sometimes after having done all we can, all that’s left is to stand back and let the penetrating oil of the Holy Spirit come on the scene. 

I can’t tell you how glad I am to have stopped, rather than believing the lie that I couldn’t.

I couldn’t usually means I wouldn’t and I can’t usually means I won’t.

Our calling inhabits the needs we see. It grows when we meet that need.

And who knows…you might just get a chance to meet an angel.

Oh and one more thing…I forgot all about having to go to the bathroom.

I pray you see a need and fill it today.

Let me know how it goes.

Who’s your Nya?

Are you Nya?

Shoot me an email and let me know:

Join the family: 

 More than a book—it’s a message. A novel about the strength of family, the power of prayer and the battle that rages against them

Discover your destiny,


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