TITLE: Walking a Dusty Road
By carolyn may
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Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are the called according to His purpose.
The hot summer sun beat down on Bobby as he walked dejectedly, alone, head-held-down, from the baseball field. The game was over, and his team lost again. Most twelve-year-old boys in Houston, Texas in the Nineteen Seventies had some type of special plans with family or friends on a sunny, summer Saturday afternoon, but both Bobby's parents worked weekends. Since he had only lived in Houston for three months, he hadn't had time to make any real friends. The other guys on his team, the Warriors, rooted for him when he was at bat and cheered him on when he made a hit or a run, but as soon as the game was over, they all seemed to disappear with their "old buds". He hoped, that after the new school year started, maybe he'd be able to make some new friends.
Bobby noticed the thick coating of dust that gathered on his shoes and legs as he walked along the road to the little frame house his parents rented from Mr. Wilson. He wished his momma and daddy would be home when he got there. Since his daddy had just gotten a job, after being out of work for six weeks, he knew they would both be working until sometime after seven o'clock. They were always too tired to do anything when they got home, so he already knew he'd be watching television the rest of the day - and this evening - until bedtime. There weren't any neighborhood kids to play with way out where they lived. He walked a mile and a half to practice and games, not only because he loved baseball, but also, to have some contact with other boys his age until school started.
Today, the road was really dusty, for there had been no rain for the last four or five weeks. Every time a car passed him, it sent up a cloud of dust in his face, so he would try to cover his eyes with his hands or by pulling up his baseball shirt over his head. Just after the last car passed him, as he pulled up his shirt, he thought he saw something fly out of one of the car windows, so, as he lowered his own self-invented face-mask, he started looking around for something white. Over on the shoulder of the road, in a patch of weeds, he saw what appeared to be a post card. As he leaned over to pick it up, silently, he wondered why he was bothering to pick up a silly old post card, but it just might have a have a picture of some far away, exotic land, and he could imagine himself there on a vacation with his parents. After all, it never hurt to dream, for he knew that was all it would ever be.
When he picked up the dusty card, before he turned it over, he noticed it was already addressed, and it even had a stamp on it. Maybe, he should put it in the mailbox at his house, so the postman could pick it up tomorrow. After all, the people in that big green sedan probably planned on mailing it.
When Bobby looked at the back of the card, it read, "Please, let me pray for you, if you have any needs or wants, please, list them on this card and put it in the nearest mailbox. And if you don't know for sure, that you're going to heaven when you die, I'll be glad to write you back and tell you how you can know that for sure."
He was a little bit startled when he finished reading, and he almost threw the card back down on the ground, but instead, he casually put it in his pocket.
By the time he reached his house, Bobby was hot, hungry and thirsty, after all he had played nine innings, hit two runs in and walked a total of three miles. He was definitely ready for the huge peanut butter and jelly sandwich and ice-cold glass of Kool-Aid his momma had made, and left for him that morning before she went to work. He idly walked over and turned on the old black and white television set - his parents first purchase after they got married.
Bobby watched all his favorite Saturday afternoon and evening programs, had supper with Mom and Dad, took a much-needed bath and was ready to get into bed. Suddenly, he remembered the white card in the pocket of his baseball shirt, now on the floor in the washroom. He quietly got out of bed and tiptoed down the hall into the area where his mother kept the dirty clothes until she had time to wash them. He picked through the stack and found his shirt with the card still in its pocket. He took the card back to his bedroom and reread the words once more,
"Please, let me pray for you."
And he couldn't help wondering, "Am I going to heaven when I die?"
He opened the drawer of his nightstand, pulled out his pen and began to write on the card. Before he knew it, he had totally covered the surface of the card with things he wanted to see happen in life. He asked for prayer for his family, that his momma and daddy wouldn't have to work so much and so hard, and for his friends back in Jacksonville, he hoped he would get to see them again someday. He hoped, he would go to heaven, since he had always said his prayers and at times he even felt he wanted to be a preacher or maybe a missionary somewhere way off in a foreign country. In fact, it might be in Africa, where he would live in a tent and see all the animals in the jungles. For some reason, he couldn't wait to get up in the morning and mail that card, although he wondered why, for he knew with the little money his parents had, he would probably never leave this little suburb of Houston, Texas.
Bobby had no idea, that a wealthy, philanthropic and very godly spinster who lived in England, would have a life changing impact on his life. This dear, saint of God felt led of the Lord, to bundle up boxes of cards and send the containers all over the world and have people put cards in boxes and cartons being shipped out by companies to places around the globe, so that as people opened crates, boxes and cartons they would find their card. Well, the family that passed Bobby on the road, that hot summer day, had always purchased a lot of things from England, through their import, export business and they had left the box open in the back seat of their convertible. When they removed the expensive new camera from its nest of packing materials they failed to notice the little white card tucked inside. With the top down, the wind easily at God's appointed time, picked up the card and placed it in just the right spot, at just the right time.
Each card had a code number, so that if and when it was sent back, Miss Lively would know what box it had been in and where it had been shipped. She also knew which group in her church had been praying for the person who sent it back. The Hinson family didn't know anything about what had happened and what the future held, but they enjoyed their new camera immensely.
Pastor Robert Emmett, gave a wonderful message that Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia. At the end of the service, he said, "There's a very special couple in our congregation today and I'd like to ask them to come up and say a few words. Mr. and Mrs. Hinson, please, come and join me. The reason I told you this story today - for you all know, friends, I always teach verse by verse from the scriptures - is that I want everyone to know we have divine appointments. And many times, our disappointments are God's divine appointments. What may seem alarming or disheartening today, is working together for good in our lives, and our Father will show us somewhere down the road, why He allowed that particular thing to take place. Many times, as I walked the dusty road home, I felt sorry for myself, and yet, it had to be, in order for me to become the person God the Father wanted me to be.
Friends, this is the couple that paid my way to college and to seminary, and they are the reason that I stand in your pulpit today. When they were contacted - for Miss. Lively thought they sent the card back - regarding the card and its contents, they decided to contact me and my family, and so did Miss Lively. Some years ago, Miss Lively went to be with the Lord, but the Hinsons, have kept in touch with me all these years.
I used to picture God blowing softly on that open container and then with one more puff blowing that little white card to just the right place at just the right time.
Was it an accident? I don't think so, what about you?"
Bobby said, "Let's all give the Hinsons a warm Atlanta welcome!"
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