It had just been an another ordinary day. He was leaving work in no real hurry to get home. The road from work to home was always the same but served as a good time to transition from a difficult day.
“Make a right, turn at the light and drive past all the old familiar places.” He said to himself and then sighed.
He was so entranced, mesmerized by the “ordinary” that he didn’t realize what he had just done.
He had turned onto another road.
“Why did I turn here?” He asked himself.
Why indeed? The fact is that he had passed that turn everyday for years. It was, in fact, a short cut, a change in scenery he could have taken at any time just to end the monotony.
He never did…until that day.
“Well, good. This will be different.” He said.
A light rain had fallen earlier and stopped a few times.
The cloudy, darkness added to the weariness of just finishing a long day at work. It was still daylight, but he felt the darkness in his chilled body.
Suddenly he came upon a car just off the road to the right. No one was nearby, but it appeared that it had swerved off and struck a utilility pole.
He slowed down and then came to a stop.
“I better check on this,” he thought.
This was not a main thoroughfare. There weren’t any other cars around.
As he approached the car, he noticed there wasn’t anyone in the front seat. “Oh, good! I guess they…” he stopped when he saw someone lying on the floor in the rear, tucked neatly behind the two front seats.
He panicked. “Oh, my God!” Looking around quickly, He hadn’t taken notice before but there was an old house nearby.
On the front porch sat an older woman embracing a young lady who appeared to be crying.
“Did you call for help?” He shouted. The woman waved.
Moments later an ambulance and a police car pulled up.
“I couldn’t get him out of the car on my own.” He said nervously.
“Is he breathing?” The medic asked.
Stumbling over the reality of it he responded slowly, “I… don’t think…so.” A few minutes later the crew had removed the young man and placed him on the ground near the car.
He was so young. The color in his face was still fresh and there wasn’t even a cut or bruise to be seen.
“I’ll be right back,” he said.
The man ran to his car and removed an old copy of the New Testament he had carried forever in the side door pocket.
It was just something that was always there and until that day never had an occasion to use it.
He returned and knelt down by the young man’s side. Not knowing where to read or what to do with it, he simply opened the book, stopped at various points and read while he held the man’s hand.
Looking up in between at the people gather around, it was then that he realized he knew the police officer.
Not a word was said between them. His friend was just as surprised as he was that he was there, Bible in hand, praying for a dead man.
The boy was loaded into the ambulance and just before it left, he took his finger and drew the sign of the cross on the rain slicked side of the vehicle.
The two friends stood there in the light rain. His police officer friend said, “Thanks.”
Stunned and speechless, he got in his car and went home.
It would fester inside him that evening. He wasn’t one to deal with death very well, nor the responsibility of playing preacher. Not with the life he lived. He figured he was the last person God would ever choose to do such a thing. But He did.
A few days later a photo appeared in the local paper. There at the very spot of the accident stood a woman and a young lady. The article questioned the safety of the area and suggested that something had to be done to prevent another loss of life. The two in the picture were the mother and girlfriend of the young man who died.
He decided that he would write anonymously to the mother in an effort to give her some peace of mind. He wrote about the details and the fact that he prayed for him. He ended it by saying “I placed a cross on the side of the ambulance.”
In the weeks that followed he relived that experience every day on the way home.
Could he ever forget?
Then one saturday, while reading the newspaper he turned to find a nearly full page ad with a reprint of the letter he had written to that mother.
The newspaper editor was so touched by the mother’s plea to find him that he agreed to reprint it for her.
“If you or someone you know wrote this letter, please call the editor,” it read at the top.
He jumped from his chair and called his wife at work. “I can’t believe this! What should I do?” He asked.
After much discussion, as requested in the ad, he called.
Nervously introducing himself he explained that he had indeed been there that day.
“She wants to meet you,” he said. “I’ll pass your name and number on so she can call you.
A few days later he and the woman met for the first time. Of course they cried. They embraced and then with little hesitation, he placed the copy of the New Testament in her hand.
“I don’t know why I was there, why me?, but this is the book I read to him. I don’t even know what I read, but you can easily find the pages.
They are the ones slightly pitted by the rain that was falling that day.”
“My tears,” she said softly.
After that, they never saw each other again.
Now one would think that something like that would turn into a great story of a would-be preacher. You could clearly see him standing on the pulpit talking about the day that God called him to serve.
Over the years he thought about it. “Why would God want me?”
He says that to this very day almost 35 years later.
You see…that man was me.
It just so happened that I reached into the side pocket in my car today and found my new copy of The New Testament I’ve been carrying all those years.
Holding it I questioned God about why he was still using me.
Then I asked, “How did I get here?”
He reminded me of that day and that believers are all preachers. Some by the way they live, some on the pulpit, some by what they write.
And the people gathered together here said, “Amen!”
Below is a picture of the same type of book I still carry in my car. Note all of the handwritten references on the pages. There are many more throughout. They were some of the one’s I read that day.
Psalm 30:5 Phil 4:13 Eccle.5:14 John 15:13 John 4
Bob Perks [email protected]