PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE
My car broke down and I needed a loaner while it was being repaired. You’ve gotten a loaner before, right? How much gas did it have in it? I thought so. Almost on empty. Mine too. I think they learn that in car school. So, I went to the gas station right away and moved the line way above empty.
After a few days, I learned that my car was in worse shape than I thought. I needed a new engine. That would take a while. Meanwhile, I had places to go. A sign hollered at me from the dashboard: “38 miles left before empty.”
I was in unfamiliar territory, with an unfamiliar car, but found a dilapidated gas station with a handwritten sign on the pump: “Only have 87 here.” (I love living in small-town south Georgia.) I could not for the life of me figure out how to get the pump to work. Wouldn’t you know, I was on a tight schedule and didn’t have time to worry with an old pump. I went inside to ask for help, standing behind three people taking their time with the only clerk in the store. Oh, and there was the older man waiting to buy lottery tickets.
But, the good thing about small-town south Georgia is that people are more than willing to help. I drove away with three-quarters of a tank.
Two days later I had driven to church and back many times and had a song of joy in my heart. My car was almost repaired. I looked at the amount of gas, and it looked like I could be almost on empty by the next day. Perfect. I could give it back to them with about the same amount of gas it had when I got it! That’s fair, right?
And then, clear out of nowhere, Grace said, “BJ, remember when your children’s daddy divorced you and later abandoned the boys? When I got you, you were below empty.
“I didn’t leave you there. I lovingly filled you up with my Spirit so you could get back and drive safely on the road of life again.”
Humility and I waited as the pump gurgled its last bit of gas into my car. Then, I smiled as I drove back to the repair shop and left my loaner with a full tank of gas. That’s fair, right?
Grace always tells me to do more than is expected. Kind of like what God does for me.
The Rev. B.J. Funk is associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.