A Hitchhiker Saved My Life

Nathan Smith Personal Stories, Thought Provoking

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You don’t have to be on the highway very long before you encounter a person who is asking for some help on the side of the road.  It can be a person holding a sign asking for money at an intersection or it can be a guy with a backpack and his thumb out trying to get a ride.  Everyone has different thoughts and approaches on engaging or disengaging with such people.  Some lay the guilt on thick that we should all do something for everyone asking for help regardless of their motive.  Others will invite you to ascend to a higher level of scrutiny and discernment so as to not enable a destructive lifestyle.  I’m not really trying to comment on that today.  I’m more concerned with the level of spiritual sensitivity with which we operate in any circumstance or scenario.  How available are we to simply respond to the Holy Spirit when He highlights an individual or situation in any given moment?  I’ve messed that up 1,000 times but there was at least one time when I heard clearly and responded well.  And it may have saved my life…

Years ago my family and I were returning home to North Carolina after some time with my parents in Middle Tennessee.  As we were packing up the car, the grandparents gave a last minute opportunity for our oldest daughter (2 years old at the time) to stay an extra week with them.  For whatever reason it just seemed to be the right fit at the right time so we agreed.  We got on the road and after about 2 hours into our 8 hour journey we decided to stop for lunch.  Each time we came to an exit off of the Interstate that had lunch options I had this sense that we were to keep driving just a little further.  I think I was starting to frustrate my wife and sister who were in the car with me and our infant son, Eoin. Everyone was ready to eat.  Still, I just didn’t have peace that it was time to stop.  After a few more exits I just felt like the next one was the right stop.  As we got on the exit ramp and made our way down to the underpass we saw an older gentleman holding a sign at the red light.  Of course, I immediately went into intercession that I wouldn’t get caught at the red light and have this person staring at me.  Naturally, the light turned red right as I got to it and I was first in line to be confronted by this hitchhiker.  The awkwardness set in. (Click Here To Read ‘Hit the Gas, Not The Brake)

Hitchhiker Red Light Stare Down

I glanced over at the gentlemen to read his sign for help and I felt the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit that this was the reason I had not had peace to take an earlier exit.  I had a split second to respond to that fragile voice in my heart.  I rolled down the window, and to the shock of my family in the car, said ‘where you going?’  Not only was he trying to get home to North Carolina, he lived in the exact same city as we did, 6 hours away from the red light we were all situated at in that very moment.  Because my daughter stayed with her grandparents just moments before, we had an empty seat.  Without any further thought I said, ‘get in.’  Since we were already headed to lunch we treated our new guest to a meal and started to hear some of his story.  I think he was as shocked as we were that all of this was happening.  He told us that he had left Nashville two days earlier and had only made it 2 hours drive down the road and that he figured he’d be another week before he’d make it home.  Now, he’d be there by evening.  We all were amazed.  However, what happened next is what I’ll never forget. (Click Here To Read ‘ Relationships Aren’t Efficient’)

As we crossed the state line and weaved our way through the smokey mountains my car blew a tire in THE WORST possible place.  We were at the bottom of a mountain hill, in a curve that lead into a narrow tunnel.  There was no shoulder to pull over onto and the blown tire was on the driver’s side meaning I’d have to lie in the road in order to position the jack and replace the tire with a spare.  Without hesitation, Gary, our elderly hitchhiker friend, took his coat off and walked about ten yards behind our car and began to wave oncoming traffic into the other lane, commanding them to slow down for my safety.  When I close my eyes I can still see his shape in that mountain scene as the sun was going down throwing his coat back and forth to make sure people saw me lying in the road.  Gary may have saved my life that night… (Click Here To Read My Post on ‘Snap Judgements’)

In any given moment, the Holy Spirit can be orchestrating the most amazing adventures and stories for us to experience.  Be careful not to think it’s just some opportunity for you to look holy or to demonstrate how kind you are.  It could be that the Lord is wanting to bless and protect you just as much as that person He speaks to you about helping.  Be attentive.  Don’t let your smartphone fill up every open moment in your day.  Be available.  Don’t disqualify yourself from taking action because you haven’t so many times before.  Be sensitive to the voice of God, take action and be amazed at what He does in and through you.  Selah. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘My Smartphone Ate My Prayer Life’)

From The Bible

For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts… – Psalm 95:7-8 NIV

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. – Hebrews 13:2 NIV

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – Kings 19:12-13 NIV

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