During Advent in addition to my regular devotional reading, I like to read Scripture and thoughts that focus me on Jesus’ first coming to earth as a baby in Bethlehem and also on His anticipated coming again in full power and glory. Advent is meant to be a time of preparation … not just to celebrate Christmas or the festival of His first coming but to help individuals and the church prepare for His Second Advent.
In yesterday’s devotion, I encountered this thought: “When we surrender to God’s interruptions, we can rest in the knowledge that He always has a higher purpose for our lives.”
According to my personality profile, by nature I am a highly structured person. I plan things out and work the plan. I get annoyed at interruptions, and yet if I am willing to accept it, God wants to interrupt my life for His higher purpose. As we approach Christmas, I’d like to share a couple of interruptions from years past where God interrupted, and I paid attention long enough to be a blessings and to be blessed. It was the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend, and the church office was busy in preparation for Advent, the December newsletter, Monday Morning Mailers, etc. A young couple came and rang the bell at our main door. At first glance, some assumptions were made since we didn’t seem to know them … either they were lost and seeking directions (We’re located just off the exit ramp to a U.S. highway that is on the south side of South Bend), or they were seeking assistance in some other way. Bev went and answered the door, welcomed them into the building, and began listening to their story. After a few minutes, she came into my office interrupting whatever important thing I was about, and said that I had to hear their story. I probably told her to give them some food and a gas card and move them along. We had more important things to be about. She insisted that I stop and listen … so I went into the room where I found a young Hispanic couple who were obviously expecting a child.
Just prior to Thanksgiving, they had decided that they wanted to return to Texas to be with family when the baby was born. They had gathered all their resources, and purchased a used car in Elkhart that they believed would get them to Texas. They left on Thanksgiving Day with all their belongings packed into the car, and only traveled for a couple exits west on the highway when they had to exit because of car trouble. It was the exit next to our church. They pulled about a block from the exit and parked behind an office building that closed for the weekend. They spent the weekend in their car, walking a block to the Speedway gas station for food and restrooms. They had tried to contact the used car dealer who sold them the car; but were told that the car was sold in “as is” condition. They were stranded and without resources other than a broken down car, and a little bit of the gas money that they had in the beginning. They had planned to be with relatives in Texas before the weekend was over.
We said that we would see how we could help. Bev offered them something to eat and explained that we had shower facilities at the church where they could freshen up. I called a friend with lots of automotive savvy, connections, and a flexible schedule, explained the situation, and asked for his help. He agreed to come right over. Bev got on the phone to check with one of the deacons about availability of funds to help this couple. My friend went to work with the young man ascertaining the condition of the vehicle. As the day progressed, it became apparent that the car was not fixable. My friend facilitated the towing and salvage of the car, suitcases were found in which they could pack the extra items in their car for transport, meals were provided, and bus tickets were purchased for the remainder of their trip.
By late afternoon, I was able to take them to the bus station for their ride to Texas. We sent them off with our prayers and blessings … reminding them that God loves them. As I drove home from my very interrupted day with tears in my eyes, I was in awe of God’s provision for this young couple expecting their first child. By the way, their names were Maria and Jose!