I chose the brick.  It was either that or the oncoming car in the other lane. Shortly thereafter I limped into the parking lot of a convenience store with a hole the size of my fist adorning the right front tire.

At a McDonald’s a few hundred miles back I had stopped to freshen up a bit and treat myself to a latte when I discovered I had everything I needed for the speaking engagement where I was soon expected, except not my purse.  The black vessel of all things important still sat on the kitchen counter with my wallet and cell phone safely tucked inside.

I looked and hoped but there was no help in sight and the dial on my watch was ominously pointing to late arrival. I shot up a quick prayer for help, decided to go for it, and wrestled the spare out of the trunk.  My driver’s ed teacher would have been proud.  That’s when I realized I had no earthly idea how to use the jack. I was near crying and even closer to cursing when a not-too-scary man in a Jeep pulled up, rolled down his window and asked, “Do you need help?”

He was tightening the last of my spare’s lug nuts when he queried, “Where are you going?”  I told him and with a world-wise shake of his head he warned, “Not on this thing you aren’t.” “Well”, I answered, while offering too much nervous information, “I have to.  You see, on top of everything else that’s happened today, I left my purse at home and won’t have anyone to help me fix this problem until I reach my destination.”  He was very quiet for a moment and then said, “I know I look like a bum right now, but I’m a very wealthy man and I would like to bless you with a tire for your car.”

Of course I objected and felt a bit like Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire as I ultimately accepted the kindness of this stranger and the forty dollars he gave me. “I’m truly sorry,” he apologized, “I usually carry more cash than this.  But this should be enough if you stop at the used tire shop just up the road. I know they will be able to help you.”  I thanked him profusely and, before he left, insisted he give me an e-mail address and accept an autographed copy of Little White Squirrel’s Secret and Chicken Soup for Answered Prayer.

As advertised, up the road was a used tire shop and a fellow clad in denim overalls with a kumquat sized wad of chewing tobacco tucked between his cheek and gum. “I hope you can help me,” I said, again offering  TMI, “I only have forty dollars.”  “No problem, ma’am,” was his Georgian reply as an “associate” rolled out two tires for me to choose from.  I pointed to the one with most tread and casually mentioned I had a speaking engagement in half an hour in the next town.  With that, the two men sprang into motion with the speed of a NASCAR pit crew and had my new used tire in place, ready to roll faster than a drive-in window jockey with a bag of cold fast food fries.  I pressed the two twenties into his hand and with a twinge of tippers remorse, accepted my five dollars change and waved good-bye.

My benefactor had been right.  There was no way I would have made it to my journey’s end on the pitiful donut spare my trunk had offered as a means of assistance.  I drove the next sixteen miles in thankful praise through a mountain pass with more “S” curves than a water moccasin in a bass pond.

I made it to my speaking engagement with just enough time to set up the book table, take my seat and be the honored guest to begin the buffet line.

After the meeting I took in just enough cash from book sales to fill the car with gas and safely made it home again – with five bucks to spare! Indeed, “God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46

Are you in need of help?  Pray. Ask God to help you.  He may not give you everything you want, but He will give you just enough and exactly what you need.

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