On Tuesday, my brother and I were driving home from New Jersey. We were scheduled to stay with friends in Ohio but not long after we crossed the Ohio border, my brother felt like we could make it home. We both liked that thought since we could then have Wednesday to catch up on some things, re-pack, and hit the road again on Thursday. I canceled with our friends who assured me that they understood, and on we trekked. About an hour later, we heard a pop and before long there was no mistaking the dreaded thumpety thump: a flat tire.
I contacted roadside assistance who dispatched a tow truck, but I confess that I was becoming irritated as I watched the sun go down. After two hours of sitting on the side of the toll road, we finally saw the lights of the truck that would carry us to Walmart. The night was cold and dreary, and we dreaded our encounter with a driver who would no doubt be unhappy to be called out in such weather. We were surprised when the man pleasantly told us to get in his cab while he maneuvered the car onto his truck bed.
As soon as we got into the truck, we heard Focus on the Family playing on the radio. Immediately, some of the stress that I had been feeling began to dissipate. As we rode to Walmart, my brother and the driver talked while I silently thanked God for sending a Christian to help us. The man was a young father who seems to love his wife and children. He asked if he could look my brother up on Facebook, and my brother gave him a book and a business card. Then we dropped off our car, and this man drove us to a hotel.
Although we really wanted to be home that night, God had another plan. We both felt like we needed to meet that man in order to encourage him. We made it home safely on Wednesday, headed out on Thursday, and received the strength that we needed for the convention this past weekend.
Proverbs 16:9 tells us that “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” I believe in divine encounters. I expect that we experienced one on Tuesday.
When life throws you a curve or something beyond your control steers you in a different direction than what you would have chosen, take time to pray and ask God to show you His desire for you in that moment. It may not be what you had planned, but you may be the answer to someone’s prayer.