Where They Show Up

            A couple years ago I was one of about two dozen volunteer ham radio operators helping to provide communications in a support and gear (SAG) van for a local Multiple Sclerosis Society bike ride.  That year was more of an adventure than the past two years.  Less than half way into the day’s events, my mobile radio stopped transmitting.  Fortunately, I had a handheld radio, which I hooked up to the magmount antenna, and amazingly was able to continue talking to the radio net control headquarters, in spite of the handheld’s considerably weaker power.  Then, when my driver and I thought we might be done with our task for the day, we were asked to pull down signs from one of the long bike routes, since things were winding down.  Neither of us knew what was in store, but were dragging when that was done just over three hours later.  We pulled into the final stop as the very last biker of some 3,300 was crossing the finish line.  We had put in a 12-1/2 hour day.  A friend says anyone who volunteers for such an event gets what he deserves.  Maybe so.

            Part of the adventure is getting acquainted with my driver.  Sam, this year’s driver turned out to be a Christian.  The MS bike ride isn’t designed as a Christian event, so this was a nice surprise.  It was questions from Sam that opened the door.  We had already spoken of our respective marriages and were agreed on the importance of commitment to make a marriage endure.  I discerned he was at least a moral person, following a decent track in life.  As it happened, his wife was a SAG van driver that day, too; but her ham radio operator didn’t show up.  After a while an operator was found who happened to be a woman.  Sam learned this by calling his wife on his cell phone at one of the few times he had cell service on the country back roads we drove.  He said he and his wife had been praying she might be paired with a woman, since their standards as Christians made them uncomfortable with the idea of her being alone with a man in the van for several hours.  I said I understood completely.  Then I said I was a born again believer in Jesus Christ, and we began to briefly compare our testimonies and church experiences.  Sam thought he was a Christian years back, but didn’t truly become born again until about 18 months ago.  His church isn’t one I’d choose to go to, but we had friendly fellowship and found we had a lot in common.  This was borne out further when we later discovered we both like to write and traded helpful book titles on writing.

            About the middle of the morning we picked up a biker named Josh whose bike couldn’t be repaired by the mechanic along the route.  Sam, ever the one for asking questions, learned Josh moved to our area because he was a minister.  In fact he was a worship team leader at a huge church near where Sam lives.  What’s more, several of Sam’s relatives attend Josh’s church.  What a small world!

            Later in our long day, Sam gave in to using profane language, mostly in my presence only; but I didn’t call him on it, knowing my own flaws.  Perhaps I could have piously reminded him he wasn’t walking in the Spirit then.  I prayed later the Holy Spirit would do whatever He needed to do inside Sam.  On that day I simply rejoiced in meeting two brothers in the Lord in what seemed to be merely chance encounters.

            I’m reminded of the Lord’s words to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:18, when he thought he was alone in serving God: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

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Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Helping Others, Thoughts from John

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