And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of His hand. African Song
Living in the interior of the State of São Paulo meant I had to travel 600 Kilometres to the big city of São Paulo to exchange money. Since those dirt roads could either turn to mud or create clouds of dust that would blow through the open windows of a bus—the only option was take the train. Even so sparks from the wood burning engine would come in a window and could burn a hole in my shirt. I’ve often come awake with a start. But the story of this post is about something else.
Since we lived in Neves some 40 kilometres from the station, I would go the city of Rio Preto where I could catch the train. Doris with our two small children would drop me off and then return home. The vehicle we had was an old Ford Carryall that had seen better days but Doris had mastered the old beast. So I was not much concerned then about her and our little ones getting back to Neves. As I look back on those days, I no doubt should have been scared spitless.
But I forgot to give her keys to the vehicle. I might invent excuses for my carelessness related to being busy with last minute instructions. She of course had to be in charge of a number of churches with their services and programs while I was away. My excuse might be that I was busy in just getting my ticket purchased and my suitcase in hand. In any case the keys were in my pocket as I stepped up into the train.
The worse part yet is that I’d be away from home for more than a couple of days for I would do more than exchange money. I would check with the agent who was trying to get our car out of customs down in the port city of Santos. What a shock when well on my way on the train I discovered the keys. But then there was nothing I could do—well I could say a prayer. But such a prayer was not with much faith for the keys were in my pocket.
When Doris reached to turn on the engine there were no keys in the ignition. What was she to do? Doris says about the situation, “Well do I remember how I felt.” Of course she was unhappy for she knew hardly anyone in that city—especially someone that might be a mechanic or a locksmith. She had two small children with her and darkness was descending for day was ending.
A picture from our days in Neves–Doris and I with Monica and Vernon. How the years have fled! Both of our children are now grandparents
There were some good times as well as the tough ones out in Neves, one of those was swimming with our children in the muddy stream called Barra Dourada. Another boy from the Kaspersons family–missionaries as well. He is the third child in the background.
Back to the story: Doris recalled me fiddling with some wires under the dash for one reason or another…perhaps to start the Carryall when there was a bad connection in the old contraption. So she began to try connections between one wire and another. I can imagine that with some of those tries, the sparks flew. Then she connected the right ones. The vehicle started and kept on running. So that was how she was able to get home.
I’m sure we both had our own stories about my being away as we sat for a coffee when I arrived back in Neves. If I recall correctly I had taken a bus from the station back home for there would be no way Doris would want to try her luck fiddling with those wires again. Once was surely enough. Just now as we chatted about how she got that old vehicle to start it came to mind that it must have been one of the Eternal One’s angels who were watching all the time and guided her fingers to make the right connection. Once again this is the time to sing the doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”
Some other words come to mind as I think back to that situation in which Doris found herself—a one in a million chance of finding the right loose wires under the dash. The words are, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him (our God) and He shall direct thy paths.” I am sure of this, that when we are doing our best to do God’s will He often intervenes in wonderful ways.