Sometimes we fail to see God’s protecting hand because it doesn’t come packaged the way we think it should.
The long hot drive across the desert had been exhausting. As soon as the road climbed up onto the Mogollon Rim, where it was cooler, I turned off the highway onto a narrow dirt road and drove for about ten miles before I parked in the shade of a piñon pine.
I rested in the cool breeze while I ate a sandwich and then walked around a bit to stretch my legs. Returning to the car, I turned the key. Nothing. The only sound was a sickening click each time I tried to start the car.
I needed a mechanic, but I had passed the last gas station about 30 miles back, and it was even farther to the next one. No houses were in sight, and I didn’t have a cell phone.
I had chosen to take this little-used forest road because it potentially cut hours off my driving time. But now I had little hope that help would come so late in the day. Discouraged, I prayed that someone would come along to help me.
It was nearly dark when I heard the low roar of a motor. Soon a big old Harley Davidson came into view, slowed, and then stopped beside the road.
The rider’s appearance made me apprehensive. He was husky and bearded, and his thick hair hung in tangles from the wind. His black leather pants and boots were covered with a layer of dust, and his muscular arms were covered with tattoos. Certainly not a sight to instill confidence in a woman stranded on an isolated stretch of road.
Evidently the biker was a man of few words, because all he said was “Problems?”
I was so frightened of him that I barely managed to say, “It won’t start,” while I fought back tears.
The biker stuck his head under the hood of the car and began touching and moving various parts and wires. Finally he took a multi-purpose tool out of his pocket and loosened a battery cable. Then he cleaned the connection and scraped deposits off the battery post. He put the connection back on the post and tightened it.
Then, for the first time, he looked directly in my eyes and said, “Try it now.” That’s when I noticed the cross hanging from a chain he wore around his neck.
I turned the key, and the engine sprang to life. “Thank You, God,” I breathed. Then I tried to thank the biker.
He just waved aside my gratitude, got back on his bike, and roared out of sight. There went a man who had fixed my car and hadn’t wanted anything in return, not even my thanks. A man who had seen a car with its hood up and, without a second’s hesitation, had stopped to help a fellow traveler in need.
I was left with a deep feeling of shame, because I, on the other hand, had judged the biker by his appearance. I had taken him for a rough person, didn’t trust him, and actually feared him when he stopped to help.
Perhaps that’s why the Scriptures teach us, “Judge not”* because we’re not very good at it.
Connie Kutac writes from Farmington, New Mexico.