“God did not bring us out here to abandon us” I said. This was a rare moment of faith and optimism for me since I’m usually a worry wart.
I was with a group of college students on a study trip to Europe and Morocco. There were 20 of us and we were buzzing around foreign countries in three minivans. When we left Morocco half of our group had stomach troubles because of some undercooked tea. We had been driving through Spain for a few hours when several things began to happen at once.
|Photo Credit: Matt Willmann via freeimages.com|
First of all, one of the vans started to run out of gas. On another van, one student desperately had to go to the bath room. In the front van, our professor was driving and his assistant was holding the walkie-talkies. The drivers of the other vans were complaining about their emergencies, but the professor’s assistant kept saying that we just needed to go a little further and drive for a few more minutes.
Well, bathroom emergencies and nearly empty gas tanks can only wait so long. At last vans two and three had to pull off at a gas station. Van number one kept going because the professor’s assistant had finally started to ignore the desperate pleas over the walkie-talkie.
In just a few minutes the bathroom problem was solved and the van’s gas tank was filled with fuel. But now came a new disaster. One of the students was getting out of the van to stretch his legs, but when he opened the sliding van door, it hit a stone pillar and literally fell of the vehicle.
We had lots of strong young guys with us who could have lifted the van door back up on the track, but all but one of them was very ill from the undercooked tea from Morocco.
What were we going to do? The professor, his van, and one third of our group was who knows how far down the road and a van door had been dislodged from one of our vehicles. That was when I and others in our group suggested that we pray. Some people were still panicking so I said, “No, God has protected us this far. He’s not going to abandon us.”
We all stood in a circle and prayed for help. We had just said “Amen” when we were approached by a stranger. He was a tall, thin man with long black hair pulled back in a pony tail. He was wearing a green t-shirt and blue jeans. He was leisurely smoking a cigarette.
He looked at our van and assessed the situation and the damage. Then he pointed at the only strong guy in our group who wasn’t sick from the undercooked tea (he was also the biggest guy in our group). Lou walked over and took one side of the door and the stranger took the other side and they replaced it on the van very quickly.
We asked the stranger if he wanted money for his help and he said, “No, someone helped me once and this is my way of paying them back.”
The stranger started to walk away from the gas station toward the highway. Meanwhile we all bowed our heads to say a quick prayer. Now we were in a part of Spain where the ground was very flat, so you could see for miles and there were no other buildings in site. We literally had our heads bowed and our eyes shut for three seconds and when we opened our eyes the stranger had disappeared.
There was no where for him to go and he didn’t have time to run back in the gas station.
If that was an angel who had helped us on that day in Spain, when I get to heaven, I want to ask God why that angel was smoking a cigarette.