Memories of Miracles On the Road
I've never been a religious man, but I have always been known to have a Bible or two around ... maybe a copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls ... the Lost Books of the Bible ... some unusual information about the Aramaic Peshitta worth sharing ... or a personal story or two that testifies to my serious belief in our Creator. Point is, me and Christ and the Father go back a long, long way -- no kidding around. What follows are two accounts of me being on the road, traveling in dark territories, but never without His hand in my life; He always turns dependency on Him into unforgetable experiences of completeness.
My Blow Out With God
Light, Holography & the Bible
One early Saturday afternoon, I headed out of town for a gig I had that evening in Kentucky ... which was about a four hour drive from Nashville. About half way there, rolling along at around 55 miles per hour, I had a serious blow out in my right-rear tire and nearly lost control of the vehicle. No problem, though. I pulled over, changed the tire and got to the gig in plenty of time. I did a good job that night, spent the evening with a bunch of friends and, around noon, got in my car and headed back towards Nashville.
It was Sunday. No mechanics on duty anywhere ... so I couldn't get my spare tire repaired. Somewhere along the way, I stopped to get gas and noticed the spare tire I had put on the day before, had a bubble sticking out the side of it. Wonderful. Mild panic set in, but there wasn't anything I could do about it -- it was an hour or two drive time, in either direction, to anyone I could call "friend" ... so I just got back in the car, bound and determined to make Nashville one way or the other. Mind you -- I had no credit cards; got paid for the gig with a check; just filled up my gas tank and was left with a total of eight dollars in my pocket.
As I drove on my way, I decided to ignore the pressing fear about another blow out and just stubbornly truck along as though there was nothing to be concerned about. That didn't work very well. I wound up talking to myself ... rationalizing about how I shouldn't worry ... nothing I could do about it but just trust in God ... etc., etc. The monolog went on and on, as it usually does when you're driving all by yourself on a long road trip ... but after a while, I found myself arguing with myself! I mean, it was really odd when I realized how part of me was telling myself to take the next exit, while another part of me was debating heavily about the absurdity of such an idea! LOL! You should have been there. This argument with myself continued non-stop, past two exits ... and as the third exit was coming up, I said "Alright! I'll take this exit and phone Todd (my publisher) ... I'll let him know where I am and tell him, if I'm not back in Nashville by a certain time, to head up the Interstate and come get me."
The exit came up ... I decreased my speed ... drove up the exit ramp, noticing that the car was handling normally. I came to a full stop ... made a left turn, drove over the overpass ... and there, on the right, was a phone booth about 20 yards from a small gas station. I got out of the car and walked around the back of it, to check the tire, and it was as flat as a pancake! But even more surprising was the sight of what once was that bubble I told you about -- it had burst wide open! It was sitting there, at around two o'clock on the wheel, and I was able to stick my flattened, outstretched hand right into that wide open gash! I couldn't believe it! Shreaded threads were hanging out of the torn rubber -- somewhere along my trip, that tire exploded full force! How could that happen without me noticing? Why didn't I feel anything when exiting the highway, or after coming to a stop, making that left turn and driving over the overpass? When you drive with a flat tire, there's no denying the noise of that rubber being kneaded by the pavement or the struggle involved in steering! Then, suddenly, I realized that argument I was having wasn't with myself, but with God -- trying to get it through my thick skull that I had a blow out and He was keeping air in the tire, while trying to convince me to take the next exit. And, to make matters worse, I had been clipping along at some sixty-five miles per hour or more, pushing to get home, and arguing all the while.
But God knows the end from the beginning ... and He knows his children's ways, too. I mean, he knew it would be the third exit that finally got me to agree with Him. This story isn't finished.
I stood back up, scratching my head and staring off into the distance at that gas station I mentioned earlier ... walked down the hill ... saw this guy in the office with his feet up on the desk ... walked in and told him my dilemma. He looked at me with total shock in his eyes and his mouth was hanging open -- "I can't believe this!" he said, "I wasn't even suppose to be here today! But my favorite Elvis Presley movie was on the TV and I decided to stay here and watch it." He sold me a new tire, mounted it on my rim ... I never talked price with him, because with only eight bucks in my pocket I was afraid he'd throw me out of the place ... he carried the new tire up the hill to my car, installed it for me and stood up wiping his hands, as I asked, "What's the damage, bro'?" He looked right into my eyes and said, "Give me eight dollars." I couldn't believe my ears! I smiled all the way home, thinking "I'm not gonna even try to count how many miracles I saw this weekend! God is with me ... always."
Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.
Yahweh In the Sierra Madre Mountains
Having left San Diego, California, I was driving through the Sierra Madre Mountains late one night with my cousin Kenny -- the very beginning of a 3,000 mile road trip, all the way to New Jersey. It was around two o'clock in the morning ... pitch black darkness surrounded us ... we were literally in the middle of nowhere! I shut the lights off once or twice, for just brief moments, and it was enough to stop your heart! The darkness of those mountains was so thick, you honestly couldn't see your hand in front of your face. "Don't do that, man!" Kenny insisted ... "Uh-oh." I replied ... "What!?" he said, with eyes that were larger than normal. I just looked at him. "What!!?" he said, louder and at a higher pitch than before. "We're out of gas." I reported. "Out of gas! Are you joking?" "No, Cuz ... look!" The needle on the gauge showed about a sixteenth of a tank. "How did that happen?" he asked ... "I don't know, man. These mountains are steep!"
We both looked around us, to no avail ... like I said, we were in the middle of nowhere; this was No Man's Land. We were so far from any sign of civilization, it was truly scary. Not an electric light in sight ... just thick, pitch black darkness in every direction.
"What are we going to do?" he asked me. "There's only one thing I can think of." I said ... "Give me your hand." He glanced at me for a moment, but didn't hesitate ... he reached out with his left hand, I took it in my right and started to pray. "Father, where two or more are gathered in your name, there you are also. We are in dire straights, Father ... with no place to turn but to you. We ask for your help in this time of need, in the name of your beloved Son, Jesus."
The next thing that happened was certainly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. As we rounded a corner, off in the distance ahead of us were bright lights! As we approached, what we saw was like something out of a dream! A brand spanking new gas station with red and white streamer-flags running in every direction from the station, outwards! The lights were dazzling bright -- especially after driving through such darkness! We pulled up to the pumps, got out of the truck and said, "Fill her up!" We explained our fears to the guy, in total disbelief that this place even existed, let alone was open at two in the morning! "This is our first day of business!" the attendant said, "We just opened today!"
After filling up, driving away and seeing the lights fade back into that thick pitch black darkness ... I turned to Kenny and said, "Cuz ... I have the strangest feeling." ... "What?" he replied. "I swear, man ... if we turn this truck around and go back there ... how much do you want to bet that place isn't even there?"
The eyes of Yahweh run to and fro throughout the whole earth
to show himself strong on behalf of those
whose hearts are fully committed to Him.
2nd Chronicles 16:9
It's interesting to consider a holographic image as a comparitive example of the Bible. If you take a negative that was created using holography and look at it under natural light, the negative appears to have nothing at all to offer. It's a plain, gray sheet of film with no apparent information of any kind. However, if you look at it under the same lazer-based light that created it, you see an astounding three-dimensional image that literally dazzels you with wonder!
The Bible is just the same. To the natural mind the Bible is just a book, like any other -- a mere collection of interesting, historical narratives that don't seem to have much to offer in the light of the world. But, examine it with the Light that created it ... pray and ask for God's Holy Spirit to enlighten you as you consider its content ... and it will become a marvel beyond description! Anyone who truly partakes of it is changed in very substantial and significant ways.
The natural man can not receive the things of the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness to him: Nor can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned.
1st Corinthians 2:14
Read your Bible daily ... it will keep you from being deceived by the things of this world by renewing your mind ... and it will heal your body, too.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
My words are life to those who find them
and health to the whole body.
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