When I left Birmingham that November for Colorado Springs it was already dark. After a year on staff at Briarwood Church in Birmingham The Navigators had recruited me. I was eager and excited. Within a few hours I was on an isolated highway in Mississippi. The headlights on my car were the only light for miles. I was driving along singing one of my favorite hymns It is Well With My Soul when my car died. The timing of the chosen hymn was ironic and I did feel it was well with my soul. For about 10 minutes. It was 1 AM and not another person in sight. I remember thinking if my mom could see me out here alone with a broken down car she would freak. After praying for divine intervention I attempted to start my car several times. Nothing happened. I began to question God’s call. He had called me to full time ministry hadn’t He? He was Jehovah Jireh wasn’t He? Well where was He now? It was so dark. Around 2 AM by now. This was before cell phones.
Within minutes a car stopped on the opposite side of the road. People rolled down their windows and I could hear music and laughter. They invited me to join them. I felt uneasy and told them no because Help is on the way. I did want to believe the Lord would send help and speaking it out loud seemed to calm me. They informed me that a gas station was just a few miles down the road in my direction. When they were out of sight I got out of my car to walk and was thankful for the flashlight. After just half a mile I heard a tractor trailer truck coming. I prayed O Lord, please let him pass. Please don’t let him stop. He slowed and then stopped. O Lord, please don’t let him get out of the truck. He got out of the truck. O Lord, please let me out run him even though I have on my cute shoes with the high heels that my mom told me not to wear but I did anyway. I couldn’t run because my legs were frozen. He slowly walked toward me and said do you need some help? I said No thanks, I’m just walking to the gas station down the road. Thanks anyway. His reply: Well, if you were my daughter I would hate to see her out walking on this dark highway all alone. Are you sure I can’t give you a lift? All of a sudden my fear was replaced with a peace and I said OK, that would be great. Just to the gas station though. I’m on a tight schedule. That sounded pretty dumb but that’s what I said! A schedule? As soon as we got in the truck I noticed he had a stack of New Testament cassette tapes. I asked with surprise if he was a believer. He said yes and we shared testimonies. He told me how his 16 year old daughter had just come home this day and informed him she was pregnant. He had prayed for help. I tried to encourage him. He asked where I was going and I shared my story of being called to full time ministry. He responded by sharing he would love to do something for God but without a college education or seminary he felt there was nothing he could do.
The garage at the station was closed but the truck driver knew the mechanic and called him from the pay phone. The mechanic arrived and offered to take me to my car. I had a peace about it so I got in. After looking at my car he thought it was too serious for him to fix. He only did minor repair on tractor trailers and I would need a regular auto garage. The bad news was this was the weekend after Thanksgiving. Did I mention I had cash for my travel to Colorado but nothing more? I didn’t believe in credit cards and I was not prepared for this emergency. I didn’t share this info to the man I had just met. He then said: I know you don’t know me and I don’t know you. But I’m a Christian and believe I am supposed to invite you to come to my home and stay with my wife and I. You’re out in the middle of nowhere and there is not even a hotel around here. I know it sounds crazy but I had a peace about this so I thanked him for his hospitality and said Thank you. I would be most grateful for your hospitality and help. I got in the car and shared my testimony. Before he had a chance to share his we were pulling up in his driveway. All of a sudden I was thinking that I sure hope he had a wife and also that she was home. I didn’t know that this man had called his wife from the garage to tell her he was bringing a houseguest home. We walked in to find that she had cooked a huge breakfast for me. Thought you might be hungry she said. After we shared a meal together she told me she had put clean sheets on their bed (their only bed) and suggested I get some sleep while they looked for a mechanic that might be open. They invited me to stay the weekend but I told them I was committed to be in Colorado by December 1st and had to keep to my schedule. While I was sleeping the mechanic found a garage open called “Christian Brothers Automotive.” I needed a new clutch. They repaired my car and gave me an invoice for $300 and told me I could pay them when I had it. I gave them $100 and after thanking everyone got on the road.
The remainder of the trip was uneventful until I was about 2 miles from my exit to Glen Eyrie. My gas gauge had stopped working and I was out of gas. It was about 11:30 PM and I put my flashers on. Soon a small sports car pulled up behind me. A guy got out and asked if I needed help. I told him what I thought was wrong. He told me he was a police officer and offered to take me to get gas for my car. We filled the car and I was able to keep my arrival commitment of December 1st.
A few days later I called a friend at a church on my support team to inform them I had arrived safely and casually shared a summary of what had happened. The pastor called me back and wanted to tell me a mission’s organization had been praying for a truck driver to recruit and wanted to know if I had the truckers contact info. I did. He also told me that their church wanted to pay for my car repair. Wow. This was a lesson for me on trusting God in the dark.
In my early 20’s this was adversity. Today I see it as such a small hiccup in the road of life. Yet at the time it was a defining moment for me. It was that experience that made Psalm 139 became a fire in my heart. Oh, He even sees me in the dark! At night I am immersed in the light! It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Whatever the darkness God wants me to trust him. The lessons God continues to teach me about darkness…
1. God is in control
2. God has a plan
3. God wants to be my refuge
4. God will provide everything I need
What about you? Are you going through a dark time right now? Are you experiencing…
· Burn out
· Fear or Anxiety
· Death of a loved one
Whatever darkness you may be facing God will meet you there.