The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
Last week I had to get a Kovd test before attending a concert with my daughter Kelly. I thought it would be a breeze, but after calling all over for more than an hour, I was starting to panic. No one could test me until Wednesday – the day after the concert! I finally called a sweet young lady in our home group who worked at a hospital, and she suggested a place I’d never heard of. I checked their website to see if they had any openings – Bingo!
Next morning I pulled into the parking lot, parked, and called the testers, who said they would be out shortly. I turned my car back on, rolled my window down, and waited.
Suddenly, I started having irrational doubts. I knew I wasn’t sick, but what if the test said otherwise?! (I’d heard about people getting “false positives.”) I texted my prayer partner and another friend or two to pray, but none of them responded. Guess I pray alone on this, I thought.
Soon two masked individuals came out and unceremoniously shoved a stick up my nose (Why do they have to stick that thing into my brain for a sample, when one drop of my saliva could infect an entire village? ) As they were walking away, a “random” call came from a friend I hadn’t seen in years. She happened to be a prayer warrior extraordinaire! We talked for a while, and I told her what was going on and why this concert, for which I had bought tickets five months before, was so important. She immediately went to battle for me. (We prayed “together.”)
When the tests came back “negative,” I was relieved, though not surprised. I figured I’d head home, rinse out my sinuses, and jump into the plethora of things I had to do before Kelly arrived from Knoxville. As I turned the key in the ignition, I heard,
It seems when I had turned on my car half an hour before, I’d forgotten to turn it back off.
I don’t have time for this! I started fretting again, sending a frantic text to my daughter Joanna. When she didn’t answer, I called her and left a message on her voicemail: “I need help!”
I don’t have time for this! I fretted again, then decided to swallow my pride and ask the people parked next to me if they could help me jumpstart my car.
They were knowledgeable and helpful, but when I tried to start my car, this time it went, click-click-click-click-clunk.
Now what?! I thought.
“Just sit here a while, and let it charge,” the lady said sweetly. (God bless her!) More waiting.
OK, Lord, what am I missing?
I wanted to do more than thank them, then remembered I always had copies of my books in the back. I’d give them a copy of BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?)!
I checked the trunk, but oddly there were no copies of BARRRIERS, just the first two volumes in my fictional trilogy. I grabbed the first one, Counselor, the book my publisher had said reminded her of Twilight. – For the record, I had written it before Twilight came out. The mysterious man in my book was not a vampire, however, but Jesus!
“Are you a reader?” I asked the woman.
“… Sometimes …” she replied hesitantly. I told her I was an author, and I would love to give her a copy of one of my books. When she seemed hesitant, I told her a little to see if it was the type of book she’d like.
“It’s a love story with some mystery. And a little bit of supernatural,” I added. Her face broke into a knowing grin.
“If I don’t read it, my daughter definitely will! She’s all into the Twilight series. That’s what got her into reading.”
I wrote a little note to the daughter and gave it to the mom with my thanks for the jump start. I got into my car and turned the key…
It started right up.
As I drove away, I said a prayer for my newest reader, that she would fall in love with the “Wonderful Counselor,” as some of my readers have told me they had done.
I have to believe that God was/is using the story He inspired in me all those years ago to touch yet another young person, considering all the unexpected (and unwanted) details that had led up to that moment. Here are a few:
- The big sign I had driven past every day advertising “Free Kovd Tests” was suddenly taken down the day before I needed to be tested. None of the drug stores, walk-in clinics, or ERs I called could take me. I had to be there – at a place I’d never heard of.
- I had to be in a certain parking spot, at a certain time.
- I needed a delay, and it came about by something that shouldn’t have been a problem. (Ordinarily my battery wouldn’t die after 30 minutes of the car just being “on.”)
- I had to be unable to reach my daughter by phone or text.
- The people next to me had to have jumper cables and know how to use them. [Note to self: Buy jumper cables!]
- The first couple of jump starts had to fail; I needed time to think of giving the couple a book, even though they didn’t seem like avid readers.
- I had to be out of copies of BARRIERS, the book I usually have the most copies of. Counselor wouldn’t have been my first choice.
- And I needed to describe Counselor in a way that made the woman think of her daughter.
One benefit of “divine perspective,” or the confidence that “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), is being able to trust that even when (especially when) things are frustrating or inconvenient, God is up to something! And these “somethings” make ordinary days a lot more interesting!
Prayer: Lord, when will I learn? When will I stop panicking or getting irritated the moment things don’t go as planned? Help me remember You always have the best ideas, and it’s my privilege to have a ringside seat to watch You work. In Jesus’ name, amen.