We often think God may have forgotten us- or that He is not working in our lives. Sometimes things get hectic and before long we feel we aren’t being particularly useful or our influence is not being felt for Christ.
Nikki was thinking that same thing Sunday morning. At church that morning she prayed the Lord would use her again. She didn’t want to get so busy with work and new family commitments that she might edge out the real mission every Christian should have. “Use me!” Was her prayer.
On Friday afternoon she left her car at work while she and her husband, Noel traveled to an appointment. Intending to return to pick up the vehicle several times during the weekend, something else always interfered. Life is full and errands are many. At last, on Sunday afternoon Nikki reminded her husband that they must go pick up her car so that she could get to work on Monday morning. Monday, inevitably follows Sunday. The newlyweds were delayed for an additional time by phone calls and few stops along the way. Finally they pulled into the parking lot of Blessings Through Action in Oro Valley and were surprised to see another car in the parking lot.
Just a short time earlier, Monica and her boyfriend Jim limped into the deserted Oro Valley parking lot with a flat tire late on Sunday afternoon. They were traveling from Tucson to Phoenix with every possession they had was in that car. They had no extra cash for repairs and they had broken down in a spot with little help. Monica looked up and saw the Signage emblazoned on the front of the building where they had come to a halt. Blessings Through Action and the dove. It obviously wasn’t a church but it was certainly a strange name for a company and there was no explanation of what BTA was or accomplished. Peeking curiously through the glass doors Monica saw the Bible verses on the wall. Unsure what this place was, Monica decided it didn’t matter. No one was there.
Jim was a former gang member from the wrong side of the tracks had lived hard until his 12 year old daughter was killed in the cross-fire. Devastated, Jim turned to drugs and alcohol for solace from his guilt and grief. In this downward spiral of misery, he was convinced if he killed himself, he could be with his precious girl forever-wherever she was now. The voices in Jim’s head encouraged him to “Do it!” and at last, he brought a gun to the playground where he knew his daughter had been happiest, and pulled the trigger.
Jim’s suicide attempt failed. The gunshot took an eye and blew away a good portion of his face. The shock of the incident spurred him to get better. Rehab followed his hospital stay and Jim determined to turn his life around. It had taken this series of wretched circumstances to shake Jim from the gangbanger lifestyle. Not yet a Christian, through that 12 step program -he was beginning to see the hand of God.
Monica is a Christian. She started out as Jim’s caregiver and soon she began to care for more than his health. The two fell in love. His past was as battered as the scars he now carried on his face- an obstacle he was trying to forget and overcome. Monica’s Hispanic family disapproved of their relationship on a host of levels. Her sister, however, offered them a place in Phoenix and they decided to take it. Start over fresh. Everything was piled in the car and they hoped to leave the heartbreak of Tucson in the rear view mirror. They made it 30 miles… as far as Oro Valley.
Nikki and Noel met them in the parking lot. The tire was flat and the couple had no money.
The good Samaritans assessed the situation quickly. The tire was taken to be fixed, but the jack which Monica and Jim had wouldn’t get the car high enough to make the switch. Nikki and Noel learned that neither of their cars had a jack (something to work on later). AAA was called and while they waited, Nikki talked and listened and witnessed about the love of Jesus.
Just hours from a heartfelt prayer at the altar that morning- The Lord dropped this couple into their path with the backdrop actually stating the Blessings Through Action- lest anyone should miss the irony.
Monica’s faith was bolstered, Jim was amazed by their kindness and even Noel and Nikki were incredibly blessed by the encounter. Blessed and Blessings through Action.
Jim tried to thank her as they prepared to get back on the road. Nikki shook her head, “No. This is your second chance at life,” waving a hand around the parking lot, she added, “You say that you believe in God? Well, this whole meeting was ordained by God. We could have come last night or an hour and a half ago to pick up my car and missed you entirely. This was all set up by The Lord. He loves you. You need to give Him thanks.”
Spiritual seeds firmly planted and watered- Nikki and Noel watched them drive away-Phoenix bound into an uncertain future. Keep them in your prayers, because God clearly loves Monica and Jim and has a powerful plan for their lives. Just as He does for you.