I sink into a real bed with a real mattress, real sheets and a real pillow! It is very late Sabbath night, June 6, and I have just landed at a motel.
“I wonder why this Sabbath Day turned out the way it did? ” I prayed to God.
“It feels like 2 days, but I cannot remember getting a night’s sleep in between! I sure don’t have any answers, but it is enough to know that You are in control I can trust everything to You in my life. All I know is that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord. – And, You know that I love You Lord.”
The day had started out as a usual this Sabbath Day. I had my worship, reviewed my sermon notes, went for a run, went to the early worship in the church, cooked a little breakfast, treated a few sick folk including a baby from GeGhah with terrible lungs. (This one will return after church for another breathing treatment. We pray together with the baby’s Father for healing). So many patients come just then that we are late for church.
I always agonize with God over my sermons. I plead with Him to reach the people’s hearts. I am not a preacher and every time I am to preach, I feel I cannot do it, and I long for the moment that the sermon ends and I can relax. But each time the Lord does something beautiful with that sermon. He changes it around and adds or subtracts from it and the people must feel some power from heaven because more and more dear villagers from WST, GeGhah and BYT come! This day is no exception. I am delighted with the crowd of people in the church. They know that I love them and they are listening more attentively than ever!
Today I started out with a great illustration from Amazing Facts Bible study guides. I am going through that series. This one is about loving Jesus and the change that comes over us when we love Him.
I am so completely happy as I look into their faces and tell them that God’s love is coming into their hearts because they are coming to church where God is always present on the Sabbath Day. I hold up a big book with fine print and tell the story of a young girl who was in University. She had to read a very large book that she found to be very boring. She hated that book. It made her life miserable. One day she met a handsome young professor of that college and they rapidly fell in love. He was everything she ever wanted in a man! It wasn’t long before she found out that he was the author of that dreadful book that she had hated so much! Now she takes the book and stays up all night eagerly devouring every word! When she finished she said:
“That was the best book I ever read!”
What made the difference? LOVE made the difference.
Just as everyone is really paying attention, and I am making the most beautiful correlation between the illustration and falling in love with the author of the Bible, there is a big commotion outside! Someone comes in and whispers loudly to DJ that a patient is outside who has been bitten by a green pit viper!
The sermon stops. All eyes are upon us. BletJhaw, who has been interpreting, looks at me and says what do you want to do? My mind struggles to change gears and think about the problem at hand. I breathe a quick prayer.
“We must go.” I hear myself saying, even though I feel like a person who has just lifted a delicious morsel of food to his lips when he is starving hungry, but it is suddenly snatched away!
“I just could not bear to be the patient standing there in agony and have to wait until someone finishes a sermon before I got any help.” I told BletJhaw.
We quickly wound up the sermon and told the people to please come back next Sabbath when we shall tell the rest of these important things. The people are so sweet. They reach out their hands to shake mine as I leave. How I love each one!
LooayGhah is really in pain.
I give her pain medicine and something for carsickness, then wrap her hand in a charcoal poultice. She has been bitten 2 times on her left middle finger by the green pit viper. It appears to be swelling more by the minute. Just then the child with pneumonia comes back.
I give him one more breathing treatment, while BletJhaw prepares the truck. Praise the Lord it is not raining!
LooayGhah is safely deposited at the clinic where they are preparing to send her on to the next larger hospital.
We had planned to travel out of BYT on Sunday because my visa is due that day, but as BletJhaw and I are driving back home we decide to jump at the opportunity of dry roads and drive out today, while we can still take the shortcut. We grab our bags and away we go, enjoying the beautiful dry pathways. Our bliss was suddenly cut short however, when in a descending, sharp left hand turn our truck seemed to explode near the front right wheel! It was the sound of metal breaking!
For a moment I was in complete denial. How could anything on this brand new, God-given vehicle breakdown within the first 6-7 months?! We get out and look at what appears to be a broken axle! Reality presses in on us because there is a precipice and we MUST keep turning the tight corner, or we’ll really be in trouble.
Now we are really praying, because we have over 13 kilometer of the steepest grades yet before us. Everywhere there are steep sharp, “U” turns that require full turning capabilities. We creep forward because there is no stopping here. We are on the final concrete road, but it is very dangerous for a good truck, let alone a broken one. It seems our 4 WD is also out. It is too narrow to allow any vehicle to pass, or turn around and much too steep to stop. We simply must continue – but how? Answer: With the Lord!!
The noises from the front right corner grow louder by the minute. My hands are folded and I tell BletJhaw to keep driving – I am praying! How comforting are the words in Psalm 34:6 at this moment. “This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles!”
God’s promises are sure! We made it to the main highway, but we still needed to drive some distance before we could have cell service. We drove over 23 km with a badly broken truck, before I was able to call my mechanic in MaeSot. He advised me not to drive it because now thick black grease was oozing out all over the place and the banging was terrible. I could destroy the entire axle.
We were near an Adventist school and we knew the principle there. He and a friend came out to try to help. And help they did! A tow truck from MaeSot was called, but he was asking 12,000THB! Then someone had phone numbers of other trucks in Meta. I believe it was a miracle that my little cell phone had full service, when all the other people present had no service at all! Usually mine is the last one to get service! Also I had 97 THB on my phone, which was enough for all the phone calls that were made that night! They checked to see if I had insurance and/or warranty on my truck. I had neither.
Finally, a tow truck came from Meta who was only going to charge us 500 THB! Oh, we thought – great!!
But it was not “GREAT!” I smelled alcohol and noticed their inebriated behavior.
After they hoisted our front wheels way up high off the ground, and tied them into the metal with flimsy little pieces of white rope, we were off. The tow truck was very small. BletJhaw and I leaped way up high into our truck and there we sat as this little tow truck jerked us into motion. Would this really work? Were those little white ropes enough to keep our wheels attached? We calmed ourselves by saying to each other: “Well, they must have done this before!”
It will take us a long time to get to MaeSot like this, but at least we’re on our way. Already it was 7:30p.m.
We hadn’t even gone 2 kms when suddenly without warning our truck started bouncing up and down in the front, –down to the pavement with a bang and then straight up in the air. We noticed that the tow truck was doing the same thing. We were going up a small hill and the small truck could not pull us up. We were doing the teeter-totter thing. One truck down the other up and visa versa!! Oh dear Lord -HELP! We cried. But the tow truck, with only air under his front tires went veering off towards the deep ditch, pulling us with it!!
When we finally came to a full stop, the guys in the tow truck ‘unleashed’ our truck from the metal and one man got into our truck and drove it up the rest of the hill to the police check point and stopped. I thought we would have to drive our truck up the hills and they would pull us on the flats, because there were only 2 or 3 more steep places, and there was yet a LONG way to go. But no! They were finished. Plus they wanted us to pay them a lot of money!! We gave them a ‘little’ money and then sat there alone in the dark wondering what to do. I was so thankful that BletJhaw was with me. How could I have handled all that by myself! Praise the Lord!!!
Well, we are going to have to disobey the mechanics advice, and drive ourselves to MaeSot. I eased the truck out onto the road and we began slowly banging our way along praying all the while that it wouldn’t do extensive damage. After 3 ½ hours of uneasy driving we made it to this motel and here I lie on a clean white bed to reflect on the love and tender mercy of God.
Yes: The sermon was cut off by “That great dragon…that old serpent, called the devil and Satan.” But God has gained us the victory for every day of our lives! Yes the lovely truck is broken, but we were able to take the poor lady to the hospital before it broke! And I can say of the Lord: “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!” 1Samuel 7:12 I know He will yet work it all together for good. I sleep: Trusting in Him!