My wife and I were camping in Northern Ontario for five days, retreating from phone and emails. Our vacation was not going quite as planned. The weather was cold with a constant rain. We were given a traffic ticket for expired license plates and our trailer tire blew to shreds while driving into the park. Even with these holiday bumps, we were determined to focus on all the good that God has given us.
After settling in for two days, I called a tow truck company to help us change the tire on our trailer. An hour later, he came. As he was jacking up the trailer I noticed a new couple in the campsite beside us. They were attempting to build a campfire. It seemed like they had no idea on how to start it. The tow truck mechanic was busy, not needing my help, so I went over to introduce myself and see if they needed any wood. I was pushing my introverted side to be “10% more friendly.”
The couple was from Germany and had very little English to go on. Fortunately Helen, my wife, was walking over right behind me. She grew up with German in her house and could at least understand the language. As they talked in broken German/English, the couple pointed to the mechanic and asked if he knew how to fix heaters. Apparently their trailer’s heater was broken and they had a three week trip ahead of them in Northern Ontario without heat. We asked and discovered that the mechanic couldn’t fix it and my limited mechanical knowledge was useless.
While I was concluding from all of this that there was no solution, Helen got that look on her face, the one that tells me God is about to do something. She ran to our trailer and brought back our electric heater, explaining to the German couple that God had told her to give them ours to keep for their holiday. At least, she got the words out for God (Gott), love (liebe) and gift (geshenk). They were about to refuse when Helen insisted and started to pray for them. It was so cool to see Helen attempt to use every German word she knew in one prayer while the couple looked at each other in stunned gratitude.
They left the next day, driving further north. We drove into town and bought another heater that worked almost as well. As we drove, we prayed that they would understand the love of God through a couple of Canadians who helped in Jesus’ name. As we were driving back to our campsite, the thought occurred… If we didn’t have the flat tire, we would not have had the mechanic which prompted the question about fixing their heater, which produced the opportunity to love someone in Jesus name. The blown tire was the open door, the opportunity, the gift from God on our holiday!
Dear Jesus, help me to be aware of the opportunities to love others in your name, even in the middle of my own mess. Help me to see how some messes will soon be turned into your miracles of love.