I interrupt our regularly-scheduled programming to bring you this story.
Tonight, I ran to the corner store to get something small.
I noticed a large RV in the parking lot. I've had a special place in my heart for RV drivers ever since my friend Dave bought one. He's had several dismaying adventures with his RV, and through his experience I've learned how difficult it is to own and operate one of those huge vehicles.
When I brought my purchase to the counter, the RV driver was standing in front of me. He asked the cashier how to get to a road that is NOT near our neighborhood. I could tell that she was flummoxed. It wasn't the easiest set of directions to explain, and in addition, she had several customers waiting in line.
I told her I would take care of it and stepped to the side to talk to him.
He was an older man, at least sixty-five, maybe pushing seventy. His face was rough and lumpy, as if life had beaten him up a few times over the years. Still, I could tell he wasn't a hard man--just weary. His hair looked strange, almost as if he were wearing a light blond, curly wig.
He told me he had come in from the west and was headed north. I did some fast thinking: what road would best accommodate his unwieldy vehicle while getting him to the highway he needed, which lay at least fifteen miles away from where we stood in the corner store?
There was no room for error in my directions. RVs are murder to turn around. I had to get him on exactly the right roads, headed north, with no mistakes.
I realized that I needed to write his directions down. Pulling out a scrap of cardstock from my purse, I noted the street names and drew a diagram of the underpass he would have to navigate. I explained the route verbally, showing him my written directions. Finally, I handed him the card.
"Thank you very much," he said, still weary, but plainly relieved.
He turned the card over and looked at the back.
"Oh," I said. "That's just my daughter's memory verse card from Sunday school."
He smiled. "Thanks again."
He walked out, and a minute later, I did too.
I saw him standing on the stairs of his RV doorway as I exited the store. I thought I had better walk over and make sure, one last time, that he understood which way to turn at the traffic light we could see from this parking lot.
"Do you see which way to turn at this light?" I asked, walking towards him and raising my voice over the ambient gas station noise.
He turned around. Behind him I saw an older lady, who had definitely pushed past seventy. Her legs didn't look very sturdy and her feet were bandaged; I wasn't sure she could get out of the RV.
He smiled again, a little wistfully this time. "Oh yes. We were just talking about your daughter's memory verse card."
I saw the little card then. He was holding it up between them as their heads leaned close together.
I waved and wished them the best, then got back in my van.
I saw in my mind's eye my daughter's memory verse this week, scrawled in colorful childlike letters on the back of the card:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him,
And he will make your paths straight.
I don't know what this message meant to them, but based on their tired faces and the marks of their physical suffering, my guess is that it was more than a message about highway directions.
God is infinitely loving, and sends words of comfort and courage to us in ways we could never predict.
Have you ever found yourself an "accidental" messenger? Or received a message that appeared to be coincidental, but was not?