Monday, November 3, 2008

Darkness Around Me--Lights Ahead

It was mid-September 1999, I was driving from New Mexico to Buffalo, New York. I had just completed a church assignment for an organization and headed to what I considered "home". Looking back it was actually closer to go back to Utah, but I felt led to go back to New York. It has been an exhauting day, both in physical and emotional drain. Some of the folks from the church had come over to see me off, cry a bit, and help me with the last bit of packing of the car.

As usual some things were being left. This time I was only taking what I could fit in my car. First the books, then my music and CD/Radio/Tape player, clothes, and a few mementos. Everything else was left for the folks to pick over and use. My plan had been to leave the church around 9 AM and get into Tulsa, Oklahoma by dinner. Unfortunately, I didn't leave the church until late morning, early afternoon. The road was going to be long and I was already tired.

Tapes playing, the windows down and I was flying down the highway. Okay, Tulsa and Oral Roberts University here I come. As long as I was headed that way, I was going to stop and take a look around. My first job out of high school, Louie made me listen to Oral Roberts every day for his "Hour of Healing". I didn't like to listen to him--he was too different from the way I was raised. However, now, I couldn't wait to go see this prayer tower that I had heard him asking money for back in the late 60s.

The sun behind me, fewer and fewer cars but more and more tractor-trailers were on the road. Yes sir, get behind a big rig and cut the driving time and gas down. I always appreciate the truckers who allowed me to get in the tailwind. As day turned into dusk, then pitch black. No lights except headlights and tail lights, and very few of them. The road became hypnotic and I was not just tired I was hungry. Nothing! The road was just that--one long road.

I came over a hill, far off into the horizon I saw lights from something that had to be huge. The lights were bright, like a lighthouse for a lost ship at sea. I picked up speed, I knew I was almost there. People had told me to look for the lights of the tower. My heart was joyful as I raced on to the goal. Closer and closer, the lights got brighter. Thank you Jesus. I'm almost there.

Rounding a couple of bends in the road, I was excited. WHAT! This can't, this is some kind of joke. Right? I passed the lights defeated, I didn't even go drive into the drive thru for dinner. I continued on .. how much further to Tulsa?

A few hours later I finally made it to Tulsa, the first large truck stop with a car that was overheating and a headache that needed sleep. I called Buffalo to let my ministry partner know that I was stuck in Tulsa and start praying. We did. I went and found a hotel, went to sleep and had a restful evening. Then off to Oral Roberts University after the car got checked out.

I stood looking up at the Prayer Tower and walked all around it. That day all the work and prayers that went into it meant something. Back in the 60s it didn't mean a thing. My life had transformed into "Something Good" and I did "believe in miracles". The fact that I was standing there was a miracle.

Heading out on the road after about an hour, the trip back to Buffalo took four days, lots of stops for road construction and a car that was overheating, loosing oil, and so many nice people who helped me along the way. I stopped at dark each night, staying in a motel, and having breakfast and dinner, bottles of Coca-Cola along the way. Life was good. I was making progress.

It was so dark and starting to get foggy in Kentucky I looked at a billboard for a motel, pulled off the road and parked in front of the motel. It was cozy and clean. The man at the desk asked if I was alone and so he put me in a room close to the manager's office. I thought how nice. Next morning I realized I was basically across the street and down the road a wee bit from one a well-known prison in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Shaking my head I got back on the road.

Getting into Buffalo four days after the start of the journey, with many other stories along the way, I had asked God to please just get me back to Buffalo. I pulled into my friend's driveway, the car then lost oil in the driveway and that was it. I had gotten to the destination, but no further.

Now for the math: I left New Mexico with $400 in my pocket. I stayed each night in a motel avg cost $65 per night, gas and oil across the US, ate breakfast and dinner every night. Arrived back in Buffalo with just under $200. You do the math and tell me there isn't a God who performs all kinds of miracles. I remember the first night in Tulsa I counted my money and ask God to make it enough. Each night I counted the money and checked expenses. I thought I might be adding wrong. God is the God of miracles when you're doing what He says do.

There is confirmed story after story of miraculous things that God has done in my life and those around me.

I hope you enjoyed our trip from New Mexico to New York, the rest of the trip experiences are far too many to post here. Perhaps another day I'll revisit some of them. But the importance of this memory--I got to where I needed to go, God supplied all I needed to get there, in a car that should never have made it out of the driveway.

Tomorrow we head to Washington State! Wooeeee Now that was a fun trip!

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