I was on my way to New Mexico to begin a new pastorate position. The journey was usually only about 14-hours from Denver to southeastern New Mexico, but with my car fully loaded the Holy Spirit advised that I take another route.
Gladly going south, east, and then west through Colorado and New Mexico, I saw a great deal of the country; majestic mountains, desert and wilderness. The opportunity to stop and speak with different people is something that always makes these trips pleasant. Sunday morning, July 4th, I thought of my own new independence and what was awaiting me at the end of this journey.
Day 3--Headed out of New Mexico and into Texas—man, this was a long trip! Almost to Lubbock before turning west back into New Mexico, driving about 75 miles per hour in the hot desert sun, I stopped for gas and something cold to drink. I came out of the deli to see my left front tire flat. Upon closer inspection by a young Mexican man who spoke very limited English and me who spoke no Spanish, we put air in the tire, noticed the tread almost off and everything around us closed for the holiday.
July 4th, 5 PM on a Sunday, tire that was going no further and no cash on me to buy a new tire. What a place to be! The young man drew me a map that directed me to a tire shop about 10 blocks away. I pulled in to Mr. Snake’s Tire Shop. It was a place out of an old movie. The guys sitting around smoking, used tires stacked up and weeds were competing for space.
A gentleman came and asked me what I needed and then looked down at my quickly deflating tire. “Oh, you’ve got a big problem here,” he pointed out. He looked at the other tires and informed me that not only was the left gone but the right as well. “How far have you gone like this?” he questioned. I told him the short version of the story. He then told me that by the look of the tires, I shouldn’t have gotten out of Denver.
God knew the predicament that I was going to face and knew that I would have been on the open road with no help had I gone the other direction. He had the ram in the bush and I left Mr. Snake’s Tire Shop with two new balanced tires on the front of my car. They were paid with a Colorado check (didn’t take credit cards and no ATM in the area), Arizona identification, in Texas and on my way to New Mexico. Lucky you say—I call it a God encounter.
They now knew I was a “preacher” on my way to another place—and God opened the door to deliver an impromptu deliverance service on the oil and grease stage of a tire shop. God doesn't wait for a formal church setting or meeting to address the needs of mankind--He comes suddenly when called upon any place, any time, any circumstance. Attired in my jeans and t-shirt, we had church and the Holy Spirit delivered! He didn't wait for me to put on my formal attire and look like "church."
He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our circumstance may seem overwhelming, but today everything can change, just ask Him in.