Over the recent Labor Day holiday week-end I had the pleasure of flying with my good friend and radio co-host Mark Withers to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Nascar races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. We’ve been talking about doing it for a couple of years and it finally came to pass. Though the Sprint Cup race was rained out we did see a great Nationwide race and witnessed the great Missouri driver Carl Edwards winning that race in great fashion!
Many times when we plan something special and fun like that trip we fail to consider that God may have other purposes for those events in addition to the pleasure we receive from it. Looking back on that trip I believe this to be the case.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was to stay with and be hosted by my great friend Chuck Day and his lovely wife Selena. Chuck and I have been close friends since the days we spent running the roads and performing together during the 90’s, he with his group The Days and me with the band White River. Those were two of the pioneer bands in Christian Country music and we made lots of memories together. During the week-end we had some great fellowship. We reminisced about old times and had some good discussions about the Lord and his Word. Food was a part of the occasion as well! We talked about ministry and the changes that had taken place in our ministries the last several years.
At the race track on Sunday evening waiting on the rain to stop we “just happened” to be standing under the grandstand having a soft drink and some peanuts. As you can imagine, in that atmosphere many people were consuming adult beverages and at a certain point a man approached us and commented on my Jeff Gordon cap. This person had consumed more that a few beers by this time and his tongue was “loosed” and he was talking 90 words per minute with gusts up to 140! Every other word was a vulgarity but he was very friendly and engaging.
My first thought was to end the conversation as soon as possible and get away from the offensive language. But he was hard to stop and as he rambled on about race cars and race teams, something begin to emerge in his conversation. Chuck and I noticed a hurting and a “reaching out” from the man. Then the telling moment happened. He “just happened” to mention that in 2008 he had lost his 16-year-old son Aaron, in a terrible car accident. We asked a couple of questions about the son and he began to talk about what a great kid he was. As he talked about his son our attitude changed because we realized a door for ministry had opened for us to show love and concern to this hurting dad.
We didn’t bombard the guy with religious talk or beat him over the head with preaching. We just showed concern and we simply let him know that God cared about his hurt and pain and that we would remember to pray for him. His name is Gabriel……please pray for him to have peace with God.
As we talked about this later we realized the encounter with Gabriel was not a chance encounter. It was surely the reason we were at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sunday, September 5, 2011, at that specific time and at that specific location in the Bill Elliot Grandstand during the rain that cancelled the race. If all of that hadn’t happened we wouldn’t have crossed paths with Gabriel and would not have had the privilege of being Jesus to him at a time when he really needed Jesus.
Too many times we don’t consider the small details of our daily lives. Psalm 37:23 says, ” The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Isn’t it cool that even when we’re not thinking about it God is directing our steps! He delights in and is involved in every detail of our lives.
That is Kingdom living! Thank God for directed steps!
Cogitate on that!