Several years ago I stood in the middle of sagebrush that stretched as far as the eye could see and took this photo. The Rocky Mountains served as the border. Looks amazing right?
That day, my daughter and I drove away from the city to a Montana ranch for a get-together. We were really excited to see our church friends there. The obscure directions to the ranch house left us wondering several times if we'd stayed on the correct road. On past an Indian reservation and out to nowhere, we made it and had a wonderful time.
At the end of a very fun afternoon, we climbed in the car and headed for home hoping to reverse the directions correctly.
A mile before I took this photo, the car made a chugging sound. Then and only then did I notice the gas gauge. The word empty was an understatement. As you have probably experienced, an "empty" gauge means there's a bit more gas left in the tank.
My panic rose to a level 5. Those of you who have been following the Mary Vee adventures know I am very good at getting myself into impossible situations. Not that great at getting myself out of them.
I prayed outloud to a God who was used to my panic cries. I asked, well, maybe it was more like pleaded for the impossible, a gas station. Take another look at the photo above. Always, ALWAYS, tank up before heading "out" in Montana. Yes, I knew this, but, the excitement of the day distracted me from doing what I should.
Not far ahead, God showed me a gas station. These words needed to be in italics because the station had only one pump with a sign taped to it. No building other than a closet size structure. No attendant.
The sign on the pump said, "Payment with credit card only."
I reached for my wallet. My bag was not in the car. My daughter and I scoured every inch of the car and didn't find my wallet.
This is when panic rose to a level 8.
There simply was not enough gas to get us back to civilization.
There were no cars on the road in either direction. Seriously! Zip. Nada. No houses. No signs of human presence. I would have seen more remnants of life on the moon!
I took out the cell phone. Desperation heightened mostly because my daughter was in the car. I would have ... I don't know... walked the many miles???
I didn't have the phone number of the rancher in my phone.
I didn't have Internet connection.
Aren't you glad you don't join me on my adventures?
I had a few friends phone numbers and that was it. I called each, hoping one would pick up. "Please answer!!" I yelled at the endless rings.
I resorted to calling friends from other states, asking them to look up a phone number for one of the church friends...because I didn't know how to spell the rancher's last name (it was French). Each one insisted on hearing my story about running out of gas in Montana before they'd help. Good grief. Talk about embarrassing!
Through a chain of calls, I finally reached someone who gave me the rancher's number.
Sigh. He laughed at the story but said he would hop in his truck and come help.
A long half hour later, a cloud of dust plumbed in the air. A pick up truck pulled into the "gas station". The rancher, a grasshopper long legged man with cowboy boots, cowboy hat, and cowboy walk stepped out of his truck. Once he finished laughing, he slipped his card into the pump.
I was very insistent that he only put in $5.00 so I could get to the city and fill my vehicle. Wisdom sided in his mind. He knew I'd need more than that. He filled the tank for me.
That Sunday, he refused to take any money in repayment.
Unexpected, scary, upsetting events happen to us. God knows. He also knows that we simply cannot live alone. That is why he gave us communities.
My debut book, released this season is just such a story. The character is fiction, but he, too finds himself in an unimaginable situation. This Christmas story touches hearts and reminds us why God places us in a place for such a time as this.
Consider getting this Christmas mystery. I think you're really going to like it. Anders' Redemption is available in paperback and eBook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your favorite bookseller.
Barnes and Noble Link
Here is a taste of the story:
How has God answered your cry for help?
This post has been brought to you by the one-word: HelpIsNear