I have always said that nothing happens by chance, and this morning was yet another example of our God at work. We were sceduled to be in Jackson for the Northridge Church Christmas service at 11:00. We planned to leave earlier than we did, but as usual, we were running behind...
On the way to Jackson on our nice country road, in the distance we saw a broken down truck and what appeared to be someone on crutches limping along towards Stronghope. We see 4 or 5 cars pass by, and as we get closer we see that it is indeed an older black gentleman hobbling along on crutches, trying to carry a gallon jug as he grips his crutches...
As we pull up to him, Paul says, "Honey, we are going to be late to church this morning." It turns out that the gentleman's name is Calvin, and he has indeed run out of gas on his way to church. He was heading a couple miles up the road to Stronghope store to get gas, only they do not open til after church on Sunday...So we load Calvin and his crutches in the backseat and proceed to drive to Hazlehurst to get him some gas....Funny thing is that we too were hoping to not run out of gas on our way to church, had said just that very thing, and here we come upon a man who has done just that...Coincidence? I think not!
We learned that Calvin had just gotten out of the hospital Monday, after having been there roughly a month. He started out getting an abcess taken care of, and when they went to cauterize it, they found cancer in his leg! What a blessing for him that it was discovered. The bigger blessing it seems is that Calvin had been really missing church while in the hospital, and was really desiring to go and give back to God after God had been so good to him through all this process. He NEEDED to be in church this morning, and thought he had enough gas to get him to Hazlehurst so he could get to worship. When he ran out, he thought Satan had won in keeping him away. Add to this that he had left his cell phone in his pocket last night, and his wife had washed it, so he had no way to call for help.
Calvin kept expressing what a blessing it was that we stopped, meanwhile we are thinking what a blessing it was for us to meet Calvin and hear his life story of growing up in the projects of New Orleans, one of 10 children that his mother raised on her own while juggling several jobs. What a testimony of hope and faith and grace he shared with us this morning. We talked about God's goodness and faithfulness in the midst of our trials, of how we must be still and know that He is God, and how much smoother our lives would be if we actually LET God be in control of our lives, rather than trying to control them ourselves.
Yes, we were 30 minutes late for a very awesome worship service, but oh the blessing we received seeing the hand of God in motion by simply allowing Calvin to run out of gas on the backroads. Had we been on time getting out of the house this morning, we never would have met Calvin, and I dare say that our day would not have been the same.
Calvin said it best when he said, "Little did I know that I was going to have church before I even went to church!" Amen Calvin! :-)