What Brown Did for Them
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.
"God sends his best troops to oversee your life," writes Max Lucado in his book Fear Not. "Imagine the president assigning his Secret Service to protect you, telling his agents to motorcade your car through traffic and safeguard you through crowds... Heaven's many, mighty angels watch over you."
In our lives, my wife and I have seen the Lord minister to us mysteriously just like that. In her life, the amazingly-timed angelic intervention has tended to be more in the area of housing and shelter. In mine, it has centered more around transportation.
I was 11 years old and stuck on the side of an empty desert road with my mother and 9-year-old sister. It was very hot, and we had a flat tire on the old station wagon. Unfortunately, it was one of those older models that required a special tool to remove the hubcaps... and as luck would have it, we were without the tool. Or rather, we were until a man on a bicycle appeared over the horizon. He biked up to us, asked what the problem was, and produced the specific tool from out of his pocket. He changed the tire, smiled, and rode off again, leaving three people with their bottom jaws in their laps.
Another time, before we were married, I was helping Valerie move from South Carolina to Virginia. We had loaded the U-haul, and then secured her Toyota to an auto-transport trailer behind it. Our journey took us up and down bumpy hills, over railroad tracks, through a rainstorm, and onto the interstate before we stopped for gas... and realized that we were missing Valerie's keychain, which included her car keys, keys to her new residence and her old residence, and don't-lose-them-or-we'll-charge-you-$600-each keys to certain buildings at the University of South Carolina. We searched everywhere but could not find the keys. Finally, I got out of the car intending to call the U-haul dealer to see if we had left them there. That's when I spied the keys resting oh-so-gingerly upon a 1-inch-thick beam of the auto-transport trailer. Apparently I had left them there as we were securing the Toyota. I touched them so slightly and they fell to the ground. How they had remained there through our journey to that point was a mystery. All we each knew was that it could not have been physically possible, and we praised God.
This weekend at church I heard an even greater story from an Australian band called Revive. The lead singer shared a testimony of how they came to be in America, how they stepped out in faith to move their families to the other side of the world at the urging of the much-more-well-known group Third Day. They had bought an old white bus in which to tour from place to place... and it turned out to be a lemon. They referred to it as their "tic-tac on wheels." The old tic-tac had been to see about four or five mechanics - some of whom were rip-off artists - before it broke down yet again. The band was out of money, so desitute that they laughably pulled out one of their CDs as they explained their situation to this latest repair guy. "We're new in the country... we've got to get back on the road by tomorrow... we don't have much money... can we give you some free merchandise?, etc. etc."
The mechanic was like, "Ahh... I'll see what I can do," and he dropped the CD back onto the counter next to the register.
What happened next is a bit of a mystery to the band, because they didn't experience it first-hand. But from what they have been able to piece together...
The next day, a UPS delivery guy brought a package to that same repair shop. He saw the CD still on the counter, and somehow, he had heard of this new-in-the-country, fledgling Christian band. He struck up a conversation with the mechanic about their situation.
Later that day, when the band came to pick up the tic-tac, completely unsure of how they were going to pay for the repairs, they were informed that their bill had been paid in full. Says the mechanic, "This UPS guy comes in to deliver a package, sees your CD where I left it on the counter, and asks about you. He paid for your repairs. The bus is ready - runs great - and you guys can get going."
As he told the story to our congregation, the lead singer said, laughing, "We have delivery folks in Australia as well, and I know we're new here, but I'm pretty sure this sort of thing isn't standard. So we now refer to our mysterious helper as our angel in little brown short-shorts."
Was he human, or was he angelic? Has UPS been hiring extraordinary Good Samaritans? What about the guy on the bike? Does it matter? Either way, God sent willing ministers to the aid of those traveling to spread his Word, to those willing to put complete trust in him. Pray that you will have both the opportunity to bring this kind of aid to someone else, and to experience it yourself, even as you know that the only way you will get to see it is through a problem, trial, or inconvenience. But that's where miraculous and angelic intervention occurs... for those who fear God.