I was almost finished with my seminary education, and I had worked through most of the process preparing to be commissioned and licensed for ministry. All that remained in the process at that point was a final interview with the primary board responsible for ordination within my denomination. My family and I lived in Wilmore, Kentucky at the time, so I had to fly back to Oklahoma city for this interview.
I had scheduled plenty of time to get my rental car and make it to the interview with time to spare, but flights are never predictable. Our flight was running late, and by the time I arrived in OKC, I had just enough time to get my rental car and drive to the church where interviews were being held.
Just a few miles north of the airport, I heard a pop and the tell-tale sound of a tire that went flatter than a pancake. This was before everyone had a smartphone, so I wasn’t able to call and let the board know I would be late. A million thoughts went through my mind, but the first was that I needed to get off the road and find a safe place to deal with the problem.
Taking the logical approach and pulling off into a business to the right didn’t seem right, so I kept driving a couple hundred yards and then turned left across two lanes of traffic into a nondescript building with no signs indicating what it was used for. I hoped to walk in and find a phone book and use their phone to call for help.
The lady at the front desk looked surprised when I asked for the rental car company’s phone number. She laughed and said, “you don’t know where you are, do you?” Of course, I did not. She said, “this just so happens to be the regional repair center for several rental car companies here in Oklahoma City. Don’t worry sir, we’ll just get you a new car in a few minutes and you’ll be on your way.”
I couldn’t believe it. In my mind, I had already failed my interview and would soon be calling my wife to tell her about the whole ordeal. Instead, I just so happened to have taken an illogical turn into the perfect place for God to meet my need at that moment. I was in a car and on my way in plenty of time to make the interview!
I don’t know what you’re facing today. I don’t know what your urgent “flat tire” situation might be. But I do know this. Sometimes, in the middle of these moments of confusion and fear, you’ll take a turn that doesn’t seem to make sense. And it is often in those moments that God leads you to the perfect place to receive an amazing dose of His provision and grace.
Maybe you’re experiencing a relationship that is going bad or has already ended. Maybe you’ve had a family member receive a terrible diagnosis, or you’re facing the fear of receiving one yourself. Maybe your business or work situation has gone as flat as the tire on my rental car. As you look for a safe place to pull off, you may instead be feeling a nudge to turn into a place that doesn’t make sense.
For instance, it could be that turning to a church is the last thing you’d consider for facing a situation like those I described. Or maybe talking to a trusted counselor, pastor, or friend about the situations you’re dealing with makes no logical sense in your mind. But it just might be that turning in a way that seems unnatural to you could be just the way God wants to meet you and provide grace for your need. God still leads. God still guides. And God wants to pour His love into your heart and life today.