Monday, March 24, 2008

God is a White Man

So, in keeping with my previous post, I thought I would pay tribute to God's male attributes and say thank you to the guy who helped me plug a tire today.

My wife called from the gas station down the street. She had a flat. Our kids were in the car, and it was approaching nap time, a sabbath that if not respected can result in dire straights (not the band). I was just about to make my lunch, so I considered asking here to fill it with air and limp it the one mile home. Of course I knew better. The right thing to do was go put on a spare and take the tire to be plugged while she got the kids in for a nap.

As I got to the car and started working the jack I began to begrudge myself for not getting a jacket. I steeled my nerve and resolved to deal with the limitations of the tiny car jack and cold weather. A snow flake or two buzzed by to mock me.

That's when a red pick up with a ham radio sticker on the back of its diamond plate tool box pulled up. Out stepped a guy with a kind of Tye Pennington, clean but blue collar look stepped up. I'm thinkin', look buddy, there's damsel in distress here. I'm fine. He sized up the situation without hesitation or judgment and showed me an easier way to use the jack involving the portion of the handle I neglected to attach. Instantly my defensiveness melted with the knowledge that I had just lost all man cred.

I never got his name, but he instantly took over. He took the tire off and looked for a nail. Finding none he said, "If we had some water we could check it for a leak." I went to get a water bottle while he filled it with air. He had some soap that he added to the water bottle to make it easier to see the leak. Once located he plugged it and put it back on the car.

Again, I never got his name, but I got a little of his story. He was a mechanic who had been out of work for three months and was living with his brother. He was on his way to see someone else in another town when he happened by. He didn't even let me repay the 75 cents for the air. We shook hands before he left and I said, "I hope God blesses you the way you have blessed us." He replied, "Oh, God does. It's just not always the way I want it to be." I agreed, and he drove off, but not before surprising us with a blast from his air horn! I am ashamed to say that I don't even know the color of his eyes. I must not have looked in the eye very much.

Now sometimes I get a little cheesy or sappy, and the last thing I would want is to trivialize the gospel. But I can't help but be reminded of God's presence in ways big and small through this encounter. On a basic level it was a dispensation of grace, mercy, and providence to have a person I judged help me in such a fashion. But there is so much more of God's intimate character that I find here. God speaks to us in signals that not everyone receives (ham radio). God comes to us regardless of the cost or inconvenience God might incur. God does take over, when we allow God to. God enjoys our participation, even if we don't know which end of the jack is the handle. God has all the right "tools". God's actions are their own rewards. We can not repay God, and God does not want us to. When we realize how much the heaven's rejoice (air horn) when someone is saved, it fills our hearts with joy as well.

Call me cheesy. But today, I had an intimate encounter with the God of the universe through the simple actions of an average white man who is down on his luck. He gave out of his poverty, where I struggle to give out of my abundance. May become more like him, so that others may see God in me. Amen.
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