Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Then there are the moments, sometimes whole days, when it seems as though nothing goes right. I should have told our pastor’s wife “No” when she announced that nine free tickets had been given to their family for the stage musical Sister Act and did we want to go?
I should have said, “No.” I’d just driven back from Midland, Michigan, arriving a whole hour ahead of my ETA and was at her house going over the last plans for the Neighborhood Christmas Boutique she was organizing for the weekend. I needed to go home, spend time with my husband, have a calm dinner, unpack, get myself ready for the rest of the week, and go to bed early.
But free tickets are free tickets. It is more than easy to spend upwards of $100 for one ticket, let alone $200 for two tickets, to a musical in downtown Chicago.
I suspected we had made the wrong choice when at about 10:30 p.m. we discovered that our Mazda Protégé, which had been parked in the Van Buren Street underground parking, would not start. I was certain of it when an hour later, three security guards confirmed that after about five tries with the manual battery recharger, and several tries with one of their own cars, they couldn’t get it to go. “Must be something else wrong,” was the summary of all our conclusions.
It was then we discovered the parking garage did not keep a list of tow-truck companies. We had no AAA service, my cell was out of juice, and David’s had plenty of battery life—except he had left it at home. By midnight, when our new friends’ shift ended, there would be no trains running to the western suburbs, and besides, what would we do with the disabled car sitting forlornly in the underground parking lot? It was then we also learned that most tow trucks couldn’t fit beneath the low ceiling—“They have to be under 6 foot 8 inches, can’t have a bed, and the boom has to be able to lower.” That, I suspected, eliminated a lot of towing candidates.
David and I gave up for the night, thanked our friends who had really attempted to help us, then walked three blocks up Michigan Avenue to the Hilton and made our best efforts at negotiating a reasonably priced hotel room. The best they could do (there was a medical conference and the hotel was full) was a room with double beds for $200 plus taxes. Obviously, we did not walk around cold, cold Chicago looking for a cheaper hotel.
This was a weird dilemma. Usually, I can come up with a solution for life’s problems. What I can’t solve, David can. In fact, I pride myself on being a good problem-solver. However, when lying awake and tossing didn’t help, I finally reminded myself that God has always walked with us even when it didn’t seem like the world was so willing to help us after all. I decided to thank Him for what He was going to do, even though I didn’t know what to do or what He was going to do.
David and I were both awake by 5 o’clock the next morning (that meant about four hours of sleep per bed partner). Nothing opened until 7:00—not the office in the underground parking garage, not the concierge desk, nor the Mazda dealership in Elgin. But we were dressed (not so hard, since we only had the clothes on our backs) and sitting on the bench beside the concierge counter. (Even the phone card machine was broken)
David had decided to call the Mazda dealer to see if they could send a tow truck since we would have to get our car to the repair shop there sooner or later. I decided I needed to know what time on the hour the Metro trains left Ogilvie Station on the western suburban line.
Graciously, the hotel concierge helped us as best she could with a minimum of our explanation. She looked up the train schedule: Metro trains departed at 8:40, 9:40, etc. Then she found the number of the Mazda dealership and made the phone call for us so David could ask his questions. It would take an hour and a half for them to send a tow truck, and the height of the truck was seven feet. No help there.
Soon we had made two walking trips back to the garage and one from the garage back to the hotel—to check out and to make one more phone call. We still had no scheme in place to get ourselves home or our car towed. The customer-service representative, Samantha (by now we were all on a first-name basis), suggested she call a roadside-assistance service the garage used frequently. “By all means,” we responded. It would take about 20 minutes for him to get into our neighborhood. David took orders for coffee and doughnuts and went upstairs to procure some from Dunkin’ Donuts. Samantha and I chatted. She wondered if she could charge my cell on her car charger. Lo and behold, it looked as though she might be able to. She left and took my cell with her.
David returned, my mobile was happily charging away, and the Chinese gentleman arrived in his battered service-van. We explained our problem (laments he has heard hundreds of times, I’m sure) and we met him by our disabled car. Again, the car didn’t start when he charged it. Coughing and hacking, he began rummaging in the engine. “Look,” he said, holding up a small part. “Bad fuse. I can fix. Will cost more money.”
“FIX IT!” David and I said in unison.
Forty-five minutes later, the motor was running. The man charged our battery again, just in case. The radio didn’t work and the key remote wouldn’t open the car, but the battery was humming. He charged David $140 for his work; my husband paid him $165.
Of course, we didn’t know what to do. Neither David nor I knew anything about 70-year-old Chinese men who have spent their lives bending over other people’s cars that have become stalled in inconvenient locations that other repair people can’t get to. “Too old for this,” he remarked to us. “Bending over. Bad back. Should retire.” (Actually, I was more concerned about his cough.) But God knew all about this bent gentleman’s 40 years of getting people out of spots they didn’t know what to do about.
Sometimes, the world seems not willing … to be our friend … to help us out. God knows about that too.
We were home by noon. Insurance covered our little escapade. The Mazda garage replaced the other blown fuses for a minimal cost. All we were out was $200-something for the hotel (and taxes), but then, that would have been about what we would have paid for theatre tickets—had we decided to attend without the temptation of a free evening.
Next time I don’t know what to do, I hope my memory reminds me that even when the world doesn’t seem willing, God always is. He has exactly the plan in mind that will help us out of the places no one else can reach.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.