I met Sylvia (which is possibly not her real name) who is in her sixties on Roe Highway, Leeming, today. Stranded. With car but lost. 30 kilometres off course. An hour late for her appointment. Panic stricken, due to a family dispute, it took a minute or so to help her slow down enough to understand her predicament. I was on the way to Rockingham to visit my parents, with my son in the car. The Lord urged me to stop. In her state, I wondered if she were genuine or not. But she was just panicked and afraid, so very vulnerable close to trucks on this busy highway, in some ways utterly unaware of the hazards around her.
At one point in her panic she mentioned money and I thought about what cash I had on me; no, she wanted to give me money. Anything for help. Sensing God was in this, I said I wasn’t interested in money. She didn’t know what to do with that. ‘Why?!’ ‘I’m Christian and I want to help...’ – ‘Oh’ she said, ‘God, please don’t judge me for the times I’ve laughed about people who say “amen” all the time...’ 😊
Then she said, ‘We were meant to meet like this, weren’t we?’ Sensing a ‘Wow, Lord’ moment I said, ‘Yes, I think you’re right.’
To which she said, with genuine intent, ‘Are you to become my partner?’ (She had already mentioned how lonely she was since her husband had died years earlier and all her children were now married.) To which I said, ‘No, I’m married, but it could be God that brought us together.’
‘I want to give you money,’ she said. No, I wasn’t there for the money.
We established she needed to be in Morley. So, I said, ‘Follow me.’ And she did. We had spent ten minutes on the side of the road, and my five-year-old had been so patient just waiting in his car seat.
So panicked and upset, she drove erratically, but we eventually got to Galleria safely.
Just before we arrived at the shopping centre, at lights, she stopped, got out of her car, I wound down my window, and just like that, she thrust $10 into my hand... ‘It’s for your fuel,’ she said, darting back to her car. (I had been praying we would get the chance for another chat, so I could share the gospel with her, so I was a little disappointed.)
I kept driving and she followed me, motioning that she did in fact want to talk more. Thank You, Lord!
So I stopped, got out, and between the two cars, out of sight of my son (who again waited so patiently), we chatted... she said, ‘A peace has come over me.’ I said, ‘If you want love, go and meet God’s people – they will love you.’ ‘How do I do that,’ she said... I talked about it, and she allowed me to pray for her. I gave her a hug and then I left her near enough to her home to find her way back.
I didn’t get to share the gospel but I’m glad I was there to help someone like my mother who is easily lost on the roads. And after all that my son, on learning we were too far away to visit his Gran and Pa (my mother and father) now, sobbed, and said, ‘Dad, please can we go, I’ll be patient...’ We were 66 minutes away according to the GPS. We’d been on the road nearly double that time already. And he didn’t whinge once, and we even had dialogue about how God speaks to us and that God is present everywhere all the time, and, as he said, ‘even in space!’ He also mentioned that while I was out of the car that second time he did start getting a little frustrated but told himself to settle down and be patient. ‘It worked, Dad,’ he said. It doesn’t always, but I’m glad it worked this time.
We arrived for our visit at 11.15am, quite content with our morning.