Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are You the One God Sent?

Dear Friends,

In the late ‘60's, I was 19 years old and driving back from Laguna Beach with my girlfriend. We were between Laguna and Newport when we came around a corner and saw a truck on its side in the middle of the two lane highway. All I could see was the bottom of the truck. The still spinning wheels indicated the accident had just happened. Traffic was light and no other vehicles were around. I stopped my car and ran to the cab of the truck. I could smell the leaking gasoline and saw smoke. Through the cracked windshield I could see the driver slumped against the door with blood on his face. I climbed on top of the cab, opened the door and yelled at the guy to get out but he was unconscious. My girlfriend screamed that the truck was on fire and I could feel the hot flames. 

He was a small slightly-built man and I was a big, strong kid so I was able to climb partially down into the truck and pull him up and out. I jumped to the ground, pulled him off the top of the truck into my arms and carried him over to the curb. A man was running from a nearby gas station with two fire extinguishers and we both put the fire out. I ran to my car to get my first aid kit and stopped the bleeding on the driver's forehead. That was when I realized he had been unconscious, not because of the severity of his injuries, but because of the amount of alcohol he had consumed. About five minutes later, the CHP and fire department came and the officer bruskly told the 19 year old hippie-looking kid with the beard to leave.

I got in my car and drove back to L.A. with my girlfriend giving me a severe tongue lashing for risking my life to save an old drunk. I was feeling bitter and let down. I had just saved a guy's life and not only were there no photographers to take my picture for the paper, but I had been pushed aside and told to leave by the CHP without a thank you. Not only was my heroism ignored but my girlfriend now thought I was just plain stupid. Naturally, it was soon after that we parted ways due to her insensitive incapacity for hero worship.

But my desire for recognition was out of my self-centered and egocentric immaturity. I know now that God never uses us for the purpose of heaping honor and glory on our heads.   But when we are willing, God will always use us to providentially change circumstances for His glory and make a difference in the lives of others. That man had made a poor choice to drink and drive, and as a result of his actions, he was about to meet a fiery death. But God  intervened by sending a 19 year old kid around the corner to intersect that man's life at a critical moment. And, if that kid had driven on by thinking “Poor guy..” the man may have died that day.

How many times when God has sent us to intersect with a person at a critical moment in time – when God has sent us to make a difference –  have we walked on by? When we have seen that person’s life spinning out of control. When he or she is spiritually comatose after a lifetime of drinking the elixir of the world. When he or she is hurt, wounded and unsure what to do. When God creates those circumstances where we round the corner and come across a person who God loves, do we instinctively respond? Or do we pass on by saying “Poor Guy.. too bad he's not a Christian. If he were he wouldn't be in this mess.” Or “I feel bad for her but I really don’t know what to say.” Or “I know I should stop and do something but I just don’t have the time.” When God's will is for us to intervene in a person's life, are we available?

We come around the corner and meet hurting people every day of our lives. They may not be trapped in an overturned vehicle, but they may be trapped in a life of sin or feeling that their world has turned upside down and, behind that smile, their heart is convulsing in pain. It's at that critical moment in their lives, that they need Jesus' love.

You'll be rounding a corner and there they will be. You'll ask a neighbor how they are and when they answer “...fine,” you hear hesitation in their voice. You'll be at the grocery store and notice that the clerk is very stressed out. You’ll ask her what she needs prayer for and see tears of gratitude come to her eyes as she tells you. We need to be available to minister instantly through the power of the Holy Spirit. Not for our glory but for God’s. Are you willing to let Him use you to make a difference in the life of one of His loved ones today?