Chance Encounter

22 06 2014

Back when our kids were young, we used to take family trips down to where I was born in Southern West Virginia.  It a region that none of us ever tire of visiting or witnessing its beauty.  Several landmarks became regular stops for the Miller Family back then, Imagefrom the top of East River Mountain near Bluefield to view the beautiful scenery from it lofty altitude,  to a trip on the Rock Road (where I took the name for my blog) to visit old towns and show the kids where family once lived and memories were made. But no trip would be complete without stopping at Pinnacle Rock State Park between Bramwell and Bluewell, WVa.  On one side is somewhat of a carved out stairway which allows easy access as you ascend to the top of this beautiful and natural formation.  These days they’ve built an observation deck that is enclosed in and limits your roaming at the top.  But when the kids were young it was wide open allowing many angles and views of the gorgeous region surrounding the location. The biggest problem would be trying to harness a  6, 8, and 10 year old who wanted to run full bore jumping from rock to rock right along the edge giving mom and dad moments of heart spasms!  Looking past that slight worry, the opportunity to see God’s beautiful earth from this vantage point was well worth the time and energy spent.

After one of our hikes up the rock and then back down Cathy took the kids to the nearby restrooms while I waited at the car; and that’s where I met him, the next individual God placed in my path for a reason.  He looked like he just walked off the cover “Good Ole Boys Are Us,” about 5’ 10” and overweight, high work boots, blue jean overalls, gray t-shirt, an Atlanta Braves baseball cap and a dark jacket with a “Bass Pro” insignia on it.  He mostly stared down at the ground, occasionally looking up at the road that ran in front of the park with an expression across his face as if he was studying something, then eyes back to the ground again.  He looked over my way and I nodded a hello and then he turned to look at the rock. “Beautiful view from up there,” I said, but he just kept staring up.  Finally, “I used to bring my little girl here when her mother and I were still married, that was a long time ago but I still remember how much fun we had.”  He then walked over me and began his story.  “After her mama and I spilt up, I wasn’t around a lot so I missed a lot of her growing up.  Sometimes it would be a couple of months before we got back together and then it might be for only an afternoon.” He then looked me in the face and said; “I guess I thought I was too busy at times,” then the eyes were back to the ground again.  I knew this was going somewhere so when Cathy returned with the kids I sent them to the car while my new friend continued on.  “One day I realized she was growing up fast and if I wanted to see her any I better get busy.  So I started showing up more often, but she was gone often with friends or something at school.  One day she called and said she really needed a car, but mom couldn’t afford to get her one.  I told her I’d buy a car if she promised to come see me occasionally.  Well I got the car and it wasn’t long before she came driving up to visit; it was one of the best times we had together in years,” a long pause, “and that was the last time I ever saw her alive.  Two days later she pulled into the path of a truck and died instantly.”  Oh man, God of all situations you could put me in why in the world would you choose me for this one?!!!  I didn’t know what to say, what could I say, “Go and be well friend, God knows your pain and He is with you.” Just didn’t feel that would fit the moment so neither of us said anything for a while.  He began again, “I’m sorry mister, I don’t make a habit of throwing my troubles on someone else; in fact you’re the first person I’ve even talked to about any of this.  I was just passing by remembering my little girl and felt the need to pull in and here you were willing to listen, thank you for that.”  Now I got it, I understood why we were brought together at this place, at this time.

Hemingway once said “When people talk, listen completely.  Most people never listen.”  Someone else I have the greatest respect for said it like this, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”  This brother didn’t need advice, reassurance that all would be well, that the hurt would soon stop; he only needed an ear, someone willing to just let him talk it out.  At times that’s the best help you can give another. It’s called “first seed.”  After a few more minutes, my new friend finished his story and he allowed me to pray over him and we parted ways, once again another fellow “Traveler on the Rock Road.”

I hold to the position that if you say you’re a Christian you have to be ready at any moment to be used by God in what ever way He calls on you, and often that’s first seed.  In other words, God has put you in the path of perhaps a hurting person that He’s not calling on you to fix their problem, spend long moments telling them how God cares or even give answers to the problem.  Often it’s just like me and my friend at Pinnacle Rock; he needed an ear and I was there.  Because of our circumstances, the only other thing I could do was offer a prayer for this brother, and never, never discount that.  I never saw the man again, but I wouldn’t be surprised if God sent another, more equipped, or better circumstances to give even more of a hand, more hope, then possibly another.  I have learned that’s how our Lord works to get grace, mercy, and love to a hurting world.

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

Are you ready when opportunity comes, especially when it’s to others who need you?  For the Believer, it’s not a choice but a sacred duty we should be joyous in doing; for when we do, we do it in the service of the King of Hope and Glory.  We March On!!
See Ya Next Monday!








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