Let me tell you about the flat tire I recently had. Flats happen and usually at the less than perfect time and place. Mine would prove to be no exception. It was just another unexpected twist in an already unusual day.
I left out driving to Columbus Ohio early Friday morning around 7 am. I was scheduled to speak at a church the next day so I had all day Friday to get there.
With my camera on the seat next to me, I was hoping to stop along the way and take a few pics of anything that caught my eye. It’s a pretty drive going up I-75 from Atlanta to Ohio.
Sure enough, as I got into the mountains of Tennessee the scenery was spectacular. It had rained earlier so the mist rising added to beauty. I saw an exit sign for a mountain overlook so I took it hoping to experience some special views. At the exit was the entrance for another park and I stopped there and took a few pics.
As I left there to head to the mountain overlook view, I noticed a small pond with a Heron perched on some logs. I quickly pulled over and spent a half hour or so taking bird pictures. This was turning out to be a great day of traveling.
I soon got back on the road to make my way to Ohio. I crossed over into Kentucky knowing that I only had 5 hours to go.
As I’m driving my phone rings and a friend of mine I do some training with was on the other end. She said “Curtis, where are you? I don’t see you anywhere and the airport is packed.”
What?! Airport?! I’m driving to Ohio!
As we talked I realized to my horror, and I mean horror, that I was supposed to be in Florida the next day to provide training for the Southeastern Conference!
Somehow I booked two events on the same day. My initial Florida invitation had changed and I overlooked changing my calendar which resulted in accepting the Ohio invite for the same day.
Panicked, bewildered, confused adequately explain my state of mind. I pulled over not knowing what to do. I bowed my head and prayed “Lord please, I don’t know what to do. Please help me to fix this.”
I thought I should call the pastor whose church I was to speak at and share my dilemma. I reached him and after explaining my predicament he was gracious and told me I could reschedule if I needed to. The same graciousness was given to me by the ministry leader who invited me.
That was a huge weight lifted but that didn’t fix everything. My original flight was scheduled to depart in less than an hour so there was no way I could make that. I called Delta to see what my options were.
After about twenty minutes I finally spoke to a Delta agent and arranged to book a later departing flight at 9 pm that evening. Whew! So far, so good. I now just needed to turn around, drive 4 hours back to Atlanta and then get to the airport and all would be well.
Remember that flat tire I mentioned at the beginning? Well, as I pulled back onto the highway I failed to see a huge lip from the shoulder onto the concrete road. I hit that lip with a bam! Instantly my tire warning light came on and I knew I was in trouble.
I pulled back over, got out and heard the last few gasps of air leave my busted tire. I couldn’t even say anything. All I could do was look at the flat tire and wonder to myself what in the world was happening to me that day.
Thankfully I was able to change the tire without any problems and I made my way towards home on the temporary doughnut spare.
That was enough drama for me but that’s not the end of the story. As I’m driving back over the mountains of Tennessee rain began to fall. It quickly turned into a torrential downpour. It was so bad I couldn’t see 5 cards ahead of me.
As I’m praying “Lord help me to get home” I thought about the lessons of that storm. It was raining so hard but I knew a few things for sure. One, I was not going to stop nor would I go back to where I was before the storm began. I was going to keep going forward.
I believed that sooner or later I would get past the storm. I kept my eyes looking for the break in the clouds ahead. Up above was only darkness. All around me were sheets of rain. I had to keep going.
Finally, in the distance I saw it. The sun. It was breaking through the distant clouds ahead of me. I knew once I made it that far things would be better. I needed to keep heading towards the light.
Even as I was driving through the storm I couldn’t help but think about how that typified life. Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a storm when we least expect to. We can choose to give up, retreat or go forward. I’ve spent too much time stopping and sometimes retreating. I need to remember this storm and simply continue to go forward.
I finally made it home and on to Florida. I had a great day of training and did all I could to help others to be successful in their ministries. I won’t be surprised if the day that my Ohio event is rescheduled to turns out to be the perfect day. That’s just how God works.
BTW, I’m writing this from Costco as they replace my blown tire. Using my road hazard warranty, it’s only going to cost me $17.00 to replace it. Ain’t God good?