Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SURPRISE (07/25/19)
TITLE: 100 Feet of Dirt
By Jack Taylor
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The rain was imitating a horizon to horizon waterfall the morning I realized Andrew had missed his choir bus from the Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. He seemed surprised that they hadn’t waited for him to finish his breakfast in the school cafeteria. After all, he was a key soloist in the performance and the week long tour was something he had eagerly anticipated.
When he knocked on my door, looking panicked and forlorn, the bus had a twenty-minute head start. The only transport I had was a motorcycle. I told him to get his backpack ready and prepare to hang on. The Kenyan workers sheltering in various sheds and carports stared wide-eyed as I pulled out my two wheeled terror-cycle and revved it up for the ride.
Our campus was at 7500 feet and the only major highway through the country was straight above us cresting at 9200 feet. By the time we were off campus it looked like we had both emerged from a bathtub. Still, we pressed on.
The whining engine strained to sustain forward momentum while the tires spun through the mud and river of water rushing toward us at every bend in the incline. Three goats huddling under trees panicked at the engine sound and surprised us by running into the road where we almost hit them.
When we finally crested the hill and took to the highway it was bumper to bumper traffic grinding up the hill away from the capital Nairobi which was our destination. An accident helped slow things down and two donkeys wandering along the edge of the road created caution as visibility from the rain and additional fog was less than a few hundred feet.
Being young and desperate, I pushed the motor cycle to over 100 kph hoping the bus had been slowed by the weather conditions. Andrew moved his grip from my waist to my shoulders. The deforested lands to our left showed the first signs of flooding over the newly planted maize fields. Ahead was the dreaded twist and dip section of the road by the low fields which had already become a lake.
Twenty minutes into the ride, the traffic still bumper to bumper in the lane facing us, the drop off to our left having no shoulder to the road beyond the tarmac, traveling down hill in excess of 100 kph, a cross country bus pulled out of the fog and into our lane. We had seconds and Andrew’s death grip on my throat made it seem like it could be less.
A flash of heaven surprised me at that moment. I knew I was ready – even if I had no immediate plans to finish my missionary work and to celebrate with people from every tribe and tongue and nation around the throne of Jesus. The bus driver’s surprised face came into focus. There was no where he could go and there was no where I could go.
Three seconds later we were on the other side of the bus – Andrew’s death grip still threatening to finish what the bus didn’t accomplish. I have no idea what happened except we did catch the bus near the city and perhaps Andrew was able to do his solos a little higher than normal.
On the way home, soaked, muddy, exhausted, I passed the site of the bus encounter. At that very place, I was surprised to see a small patch of dirt, one hundred feet long and three feet wide with a faint motor cycle track starting inches from the drop off and ending inches from the other side. I am sure that the guardian angels for Andrew, myself and a few passengers on that bus were all combining to prevent further surprises to our family and friends.
I’ve had several other encounters of the angelic kind and it surprises and amazes me that God graciously continues to watch over the risky choices of his children. One day, I think we will all sit down at Jesus’ feet and be surprised at all the encounters we didn’t even notice or recognize as his gracious hand keeping us immortal until we reached our designated day of welcome home.
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