BY: Debra Manford
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
I finished my last evening shift of the week and could hardly wait to get home, take off my nursing shoes, and relax. I said goodnight to the rest of the girls and headed out the door.
It was so cold I could see the ice crystals in the air. As I approached my car, I saw one of my coworkers standing by the bus stop. I thought it would only take a couple of extra minutes to give her a ride home, and besides, it was too cold to be standing outside on the coldest night in January. I didn't know where she lived, but I was confident I would be able to find my way home from her house.
We chatted about our evening of work as I drove and before we knew it, we arrived at her house. As she headed up the steps to her door she turned around. "Do you know how to get to your house from here?"
I assured her I would be okay. "How hard can it be? I'll just backtrack the way I came."
I started driving. Nothing looked familiar, but at first that didn't bother me since I'd never been to this neighborhood before. I kept driving, and soon I sensed that something was wrong. I recognized nothing, not the neighborhoods, not even the street names. I told myself to stay calm. I was sure I would find a familiar street and I'd soon be home snuggled in my bed.
I drove. I was beyond neighborhoods. I was beyond streets. I was even beyond streetlights. I no longer knew if I was heading away from town or back toward town. I crossed over two bridges that I didn't remember crossing earlier. Even though I was the only person in the car, I was embarrassed. How could I be so stupid? My husband would be worried about me and wondering where I was. I looked down at my watch. It was now 2:30 a.m. I'd left work at 11:30 p.m.
I truly was in the middle of nowhere. How could I get myself in such a mess?
I stopped the car and turned off the ignition. I thought I'd better take stock of my situation. It was one of the coldest nights we'd had. My gas gauge was slowly going down. What should I do? I could keep driving, but with no sense of where I was going?
I could stop my car and conserve what gas I had left and wait to be found. I would be able to start it throughout the night to warm myself with the gas that was remaining.
In total defeat I put my head down on the steering wheel and asked for help. My heartfelt prayer came from the deepest part of me. "Please God, help me get out of this mess." I was going through a difficult time at that stage of my life and had lost a lot of my faith. As I look back on it, I realize that I was praying not only for my "physical being" that was lost, but also my lost "emotional being."
I lifted my head. I saw a shadow down the road in front of me. It hadn't been there before. I turned my headlights on. It was a car. It was not running but just sitting there in total darkness. I drove a little closer. There was a silhouette of a person sitting in this car!
What was a car doing in the middle of nowhere at 2:30 in the morning? Was this the answer to my prayer?
Hesitantly, I got out of my car and knocked on the window of the other car. An elderly man slowly rolled his window down. He did not say a word.
I said, "I'm lost and don't know how to get back into town."
In silence, he rolled his window up, turned the ignition on, and started driving.
I ran back to my car, praying to God that I was following someone trustworthy and I drove behind him.
I followed that car... in faith.
Finally I recognized a familiar street. As I turned to head home, I lost sight of my guardian angel. I knew in my heart this was a miracle. As I pulled into my driveway the warning light for my gas tank turned on.
This was such an amazing experience for me, and so very personal, that for many years I did not tell anyone what happened. It gave me hope, it gave me strength, and it confirmed for me that miracles do happen. After this experience, I prayed more often and believed that God was truly in my life. I only needed to "ask." When I finally told my story to someone, she wisely pointed out that perhaps I was the answer to that old man's prayer as well. Why was he just sitting there in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, with his engine off? Maybe he was saying a prayer also, asking God to give an old man a purpose in life. It truly made me think... life is a circle... and perhaps we helped each other.