Tonight, I remembered why I am that way.
My singles group meets at the church on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. for what is always a WONDERFUL lesson and discussion. I'm privileged to live less than 2 miles from my church building, so I often don't leave for worship until just a few minutes before it starts. (This especially goes for Wednesday nights, when our singles minister: #1. Never starts on time and #2. Has about 15 minutes worth of announcements before we ever get started with class.) Still...I like to have a few minutes to socialize before class starts...so, when I left my place at 6:26 p.m. this evening, I made the risky decision to NOT stop and get gasoline, even though my gague had been on the "E" most of the afternoon. I rationalized, "It's not far AT ALL...it can't take up that much gasoline to get to the building...the needle's only on the "E", it's not below the "E" yet (after having my little Nissan Sentra for nearly 3 years, I'm usually pretty good at guesstimating how much farther I can go!)...and there's an Exxon across the street! I'll just go over there to fill up AFTER class!" In essence, folks, I took a risk, and it DID NOT pay!!!
Sure, I got to class on time! Even had a minute to chat w/our dear friend Bob, who stopped by to visit! (He's our ex-Sunday School teacher--he left us for another class! But he still comes to see us occasionally!) BUT...by the time class was over...and it was raining outside...and I was ready to leave...you guessed it...my car wouldn't start!
There just happened to be a couple with their kids, piling into their minivan a couple of spaces away and leaving, about the same time that my car wouldn't start. I tried a couple of times. I stopped...said a short prayer...tried again...still did not work. About that time, the mother, who was driving the minivan, walked over and said, "Do you think it's the battery?"
It was time to confess my sin...I knew...and I said, "No...I know, this will sound stupid...I'm pretty sure I'm out of gas...I KNEW it was low, but was trying to make it here on time and hoping that I could make it across the street afterwards!" She said, "Well we can go across the street and see if they've got a gas can you can borrow."
So I did, indeed, make it across the street to the Exxon after class, but only by the grace of my new friends, people that, although I recognized their names, I'd never met before. Seriously...as I climbed in their minivan, I said, "By the way, my name's Lacey." She laughed and said, "My name's Angela..." and her husband followed up with, "...and I'm Keith." They asked if I was a college student here. I told them no, that I was in the Singles group there at PV. That was about it...not much time for conversation during the drive across the street.
Once at the Exxon I was able to purchase a little gas can for about $5 and fill it up for another $3. Unfortunately, in the process, some of the gas spilled outta the can. We wiped it off as best we could before putting it in the minivan...but, bless their hearts, their minivan probably still smells like gasoline! (I know my hands certainly do right now...it is NOT pleasant smell.) I apologized for that...and thanked them profusely! As they dropped me off back across the street at my car, she gave me a hug, and they were off. A few moments later, so was I!
So why am I sharing this somewhat-embarrassing story with all of you? Well, there are a few lessons I was able to take away from it. Perhaps you can benefit from my...ahem...wisdom!
#1. Always be sure your tank is full. Or at least more than "not yet below the E"!
#2. Use extreme caution when filling up 1-gallon gas cans. They fill up quickly!
#3. Risk-taking is NOT always a good thing.#4. I worship with some of the most incredible people in the world! People who genuinely try to be like Christ. It continues to amaze me, perhaps because I go to such a large church where it is easy to feel disconnected to so many people that you don't know well (or at all!) So it's exciting to realize that regardless of that fact, even if we don't know each other, we have at least one thing in common...that is the Lord that we serve and try to imitate.
#5. God doesn't always answer prayers the way you want Him to when you want Him to. That doesn't make Him any less God, and that doesn't make the bad things that happen His fault. I have no one to blame but myself and my own stupidity/risk-taking (whichever you prefer) for what happened. That is often the case in life. I have no doubt that it is within His power to do something as minute as make a car start. But if He had done that, sure, I would have been saved some embarrassment and hassle, but I would not have had the opportunity to meet this brother and sister of mine that I worship with, and they would not have had the opportunity to be like Jesus, showing compassion to someone in need.
That's probably enough wisdom for one night. Thanks for reading. Feel free to make fun in the comments. (But not too much fun!) Much love! ;)