One of the things that I absolutely adore about my Heavenly Father, is his providence. For the purpose of this blog post, I am referring to this particular meaning of the word providence as " Timely preparation for future eventualities." I am often in awe of his orchestrating power as it relates to his activity in the lives of his children.
So, normally I take the train to work, but more often then I should, I drive. When I drive into work, I park in the same garage which has valet service. I dropped my car off yesterday morning like I normally do, and headed into work. Throughout the course of my day, I was informed the drama class that I was going to teach later that day had been canceled. Upon finding out this information, I stayed at work a little later. When I left work that day, I headed to the garage to pick up my car and when the attendant pulled up, I noticed that my rear driver's side tire was completely flat. Needless to say, it was not that way when I drove in this morning.
I did my best not to get upset as I asked him, "what happened?!?" I stayed calm, because I like these guys and at the same time I am trying to figure out what I am going to do, (I don't have AAA). One of the guys told me to pull the vehicle over to the side and he would put my spare tire on for me. Did I even have a spare tire? I just bought this car 5 months ago, and I never thought to check for that. As the gentleman looked in the back of my car, he located a jack under a panel in the trunk, (didn't even know I had one) and eventually the spare tire. While he worked to disengage the spare from the bottom of my car, a little old like walked over to us, (him) holding a yellow ticket. I could see that she seemed a bit confused, her hair and jacket were wet from the rain that was currently holding our city hostage. She asked the guy, "Are you an employee here?" He looked at her and said "yes." She showed him her ticket and said that she was trying to find her car. He let her know that the ticket she held was not for their garage. She seemed utterly flummoxed as she tried to ascertain exactly where she parked her. I noticed that she had a thick accent and obviously was not familiar with this area. I felt the need to step in. There was not a phone number or address on the ticket she held for her car, but there was a generic name for a parking company. I googled it. I called. It was after hours and I kept getting a command to "leave a message."
The situation seemed a bit hopeless. She was elderly, possibly a foreigner, couldn't remember where she parked her car, soaked from the rain, and her husband, who was with her had a bad leg and was not up for the scavenger hunt from garage-to-garage to find their car. She began walking toward her husband, to continue her quest, I assume. I ran up to her and said, "As soon as he finishes with my car, I will drive you around until we find the garage where you parked your car." She looked at me as if I had two heads. Maybe she couldn't believe that a complete stranger would offer to do such a thing, especially considering she really didn't know where the car was. (I should mention that this is Center City Philadelphia, where there are parking garages and lots every couple of feet). I knew that I had to do it though. I was honored to do it.
Once my car was up and running, and after we had a bit of small talk, (I found out she and her husband were Polish. I told her I went to school with a Polish guy...) we headed out. We entered into the rainy, rush hour traffic of downtown Philadelphia. As we are driving, I asked questions. She knew she parked at an indoor garage, not an open lot. We drove around but stayed within about a four block radius. As we drove down one of the streets, I decided to pull into a garage that was attached to one of the big hotels in Center City to ask the attendant if he knew which garage issued tickets like the one her husband was now holding. I pulled up to the attendant and said, "I have this beautiful couple who is trying to locate their car. Do you know which Garage gives tickets like this?" Before I finished my question, the husband flashed the yellow ticket and asked in his heavy Polish accent, "Is this you?" The attendant smiled and said, "Yes. I remember you." I said, "Are you sure? Because I'm not letting them go unless you're sure." I rolled the rear passenger window down and the attendant smiled at the wife and again said, "Yes, I remember you. Did you find where you were going okay?" The wife asked, "Where is the guy in the white jacket?" The attendant let her know that he had left for the day. They began to exit my car to retrieve their own. I looked at the wife, happy that she would soon be reunited with her car and said, "We did it! God Bless You!" She asked God to bless me as well and told me I was a nice person. I felt good about all of it.
Situations like the one above remind me that I am not in control. Because I belong to God, he has just cause and permission to interrupt my life whenever he deems necessary and I am grateful for it. I am beginning to see that in moments where I could potentially become angry or frustrated because I am inconvenienced, those are prime opportunities to pay attention to what God is doing.
I say this to encourage you so that the next time you find yourself stuck in traffic, made to wait, thrown off course, you use it as an opportunity to ask the father, "Okay. What would you like me to do?" You just might find that he is keeping you from something, or setting you up to be a blessing to someone else.
I didn't get the names of that lovely couple, but I trust that God knows them and is indeed watching over them. I am grateful that he allowed our paths to cross yesterday, and I look forward to the next opportunity to be used in such a way!
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
~ Philippians 2:4 ~