Well, I'm still here...only by the grace of God. This past year has been very trying, but it is finally coming to a close-the school year, that is. I only have one class left at Newberry College before I transfer to the University of South Carolina Sumter Campus; and boy am I glad!
Yesterday afternoon I set out on the trek towards Newberry from my job in Orangeburg, SC. I have been driving the car that my husband usually drives, and I noticed that a red light had come on. It indicated that the antifreeze was low. I called him, and he told me to stop at the truck stop, get a gallon of antifreeze, and pour it in to the fill line.
I did this, and got on I-26 Westbound, headed for my class. The light never went off, but I kept a close watch on the temperature gauge. I had driven for about thirty minutes, and had made it to Columbia, near the Harbison Boulevard exit. It was then that I noticed another light had come on. This light read "Check Gauges". I immediately thought out loud, "Really? What gauges? I've been watching the temperature gauge, my speed, what else is there to check?" And then I realized...my gas gauge was in the red! I had stopped at the truck stop and was so concerned about the fluids, that I forgot to fill the car up with gas!
I knew that I needed to stop very soon, but I couldn't get in the right lane to get off the interstate at the Harbison exit, and I was beginning to panic, because once you pass Harbison, the exits become really spaced out! I prayed out loud for God to please help me make it to the next exit to the gas station, but that evidently wasn't His plan!
I coasted to the side of the interstate, barely passing another car that had pulled over and was currently abandoned, and immediately called my husband to ask if there was a jug in the back of the car-and of course there wasn't. He asked if needed to come and get me, but there was no time! I was two hours away from him, and I couldn't wait that long. So, I locked the car, and to the shoulder I went-walking towards the exit ramp.
I made it to the guardrail over a little branch, and I noticed that a Honda was backing up. I noticed that it had Florida plates, and I became concerned. I had my keys in my hand in a defensively position, just in case. It was still daylight, but nowadays, that doesn't matter!
A man rolled down his window, and politely asked if I needed a ride to the exit. I thought that I would feel nervous, but I had peace. I can't explain it other than it was the Holy Spirit letting me know that it was okay to get in the car; so I accepted.
The gentleman had moved in to the area not too long ago, and only really knew the interstates that he used to commute to work. He took me to the gas station, waited for me to get the gas, drove me back to my car, filled up the tank, and then made sure that I was able to crank the car before he left!
Talk about your Good Samaritan! He went over and beyond the call of duty! Through nervous small talk, I disclosed that my husband was a pastor. He never remarked in any way about church, whether or not he was a believer, or even if he went to church. But, before we parted ways, I gave him a Gospel tract with our church's contact information printed on the back along with my husband's name. I told him that if he was ever in our area, to please contact us, so that we could repay his kindness. He smiled, took the leaflet, and said that he would.
That afternoon, before my incident, I had passed a Camper Trailer that had run off the road, and two cars on the shoulder before my car coasted there to join them. The gentleman filled me in on another wreck that had occurred BEHIND me around the junction of I-26 and I-20, and that it was pretty bad. I remarked that I couldn't complain. I only ran out of gas--it could have been much worse--and that God might have actually been saving me from something worse down the road! He agreed.
I only saw his name on his Photo Name badge once, and I think it was Ted, or Tod. But, I didn't recognize the Hospital or Urgent Care facility that he worked for. I'm not totally convinced that he was human. I'm not crazy! This is what the Bible says:
"Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Hebrews 13:1 & 2
All I know is that God goes on to say in verse 5 of that same chapter:
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
I could have coveted others' roadside assistance, but I was not upset about walking up that hill to get a gas can, even though it was really hot. God didn't stay in the car, waiting on me. He walked up that hill with me, and I know that he sent that gentleman to help me. He could have been an angel, or God may have allowed me to forget about the gas so that he could bring our paths together, and I could place that Gospel tract in his hands. I pray that if it was the latter, that he will read it, and ask God to save him before it is too late.
After the car started, I immediately proceeded to the gas station, filled up, and then drove hastily on to school, as I was now 20 minutes late. As I was sending a message to my classmates via the hand-held Internet, I noticed blue lights in my rear view mirror. I looked at my speed, and I was doing a little over, but nothing worth pulling. But, again, I couldn't complain-I hadn't wrecked that day, and God had sent someone to my rescue. I'd just take the ticket. But, the SUV sped right past me, and I said, "Praise the Lord!" and kept on cruising!
Later that night on the ride back home, I was on highway 261, almost home. I came quickly around one curve, and found three does standing in the middle of the road. I had plenty of time to slow down, but I prayed, Lord please don't let them jump at my car! They usually scatter. But this time, they acted more like cows. I had to slow down almost to a stop, and honk the horn to get them to move! They slowly made their way back into the woods! I'd never seen deer do that before. But I guess when God is leading them, they don't have to run scared!
I made it home by God's grace and providence. I know that everything could have been so much worse. I thank Him for His protection, love and care. Looking back, I should have felt more afraid, but I'm more excited about the fact that I didn't feel that way. God's peace kept me stable and sane.
I didn't even cry...