I had actually been happy while driving home from work around 10:30 last Thursday night. I was planning to leave very early the next morning to spend three days in Las Vegas. I was really excited about the trip and looked forward to visiting a friend I haven’t seen in a few months. I was about four miles from home when I suddenly remembered something. Dang! I had forgotten to put gas in my car that afternoon. Whenever I have a trip planned, I like to fill my tank the day before. Then I can leave on my trip very early in the morning without having to make an extra stop.
I was really frustrated with myself now. How could I have forgotten to get gas? In between classes that Thursday afternoon, I had run around town getting ready for my trip. I got my haircut and ran to the bank. I stopped at the 99 Cent store and grabbed some snacks to take with me to Vegas. I was already for my weekend getaway…
…and I forgot to get gas for the car! How could I have forgotten this one important errand? How could I be so stupid?! I continued to angrily cuss at myself as I drove home.
I didn’t want to stop for gas that night. It sounds silly I know, but I didn’t like to stop anywhere this late at night. I was exhausted and I don’t trust too many people after 9 pm. I would just have to wait to go to the gas station on my way out of town in the morning. I was still really frustrated with myself even after I arrived home and settled in for the night.
On Friday, I woke up around 5:30 am and quickly got dressed. I locked up my apartment and climbed into my car. Dang! I had to stop and get gas! I drove down Washington Street but instead of turning left onto the highway, I turned right onto Varner Road. Then I made an immediate left turn into the Chevron gas station and pulled my car up to a gas pump. As I stopped the car and opened up my door, I noticed a tall, slender, 20-something-year-old woman standing beside the pump. The woman was dressed in jeans, a black turtleneck, and a zippered gray sweater. Cuddled in the woman’s arms was a large, orange cat. I smiled curiously at her as I got out of the car.
“Excuse me,” the woman suddenly said, “but can you please help me? I don’t have any money. Do you have a few dollars I can please have to get some gas?”
I looked at the woman for a moment and then gave my standard reply when people approach me for money. “I’m sorry,” I told her, “but I don’t have any cash on me. I’m paying for my gas on my credit card and I don’t like to charge a lot…” My voice slowly trailed off as I felt slightly overwhelmed. Why was I telling her all of these things? Why was I rambling on to this woman?
But the woman just smiled, stroked the beautiful, fluffy cat, and said, “Yeah, well, that’s okay. Thank you anyway.” I just nodded as I moved over to the gas pump and stuck my credit card in the slot. As I stood there pumping the gas, I kept hearing a strange voice in my head. “Help her,” the voice demanded. “Don’t turn her away. She needs your help.” I shook my head to clear the voice but it wouldn’t go away. “Help her!” the voice continued to demand. A chill suddenly rushed through me as I tried to ignore the voice. I kept getting the inclination that I needed to help this young woman. I couldn’t shake the feeling way.
I finished filling my tank and hung the nuzzle back on the pump. I put the cap back on my tank and then turned around. The young woman was gone. I looked around for a moment and then walked around the pump. I noticed that the woman was now sitting in her car cuddling the cat. I walked around the front of her car as she opened her door.
“Listen,” I said as she stepped out of the car and stood in front of me. “I just can’t stand the thought of driving away and leaving you sitting here. I can’t spare a lot, but I would be happy to help you. I can put a few dollars on my credit card for you.”
“Oh, thank you,” the woman responded. “I don’t need much. I just need enough gas to get to the next exit.” We walked around to the other side of the woman’s car. As she opened up her gas tank, I ran my card through the slot on the pump to make the purchase. The woman picked up the nozzle and placed it in the tank. Slowly the gas began to drizzle into her car. She smiled at me and stopped the pump at $2.50. I was surprised. “Are you sure that’s all you need? Don’t you need a little bit more?”
“No,” she answered. “This is plenty. As long as I have enough to get to the next exit, I’ll be fine. Thank you so much for your help.”
“That’s okay,” I answered. “Just be safe.”
The woman and I then got into our cars. I started my engine and then waited as the young woman waved to me and drove off. I followed after her a few minutes later. I drove down Varner Road and then turned onto the highway, finally on my way to Vegas. As I drove along, my eyes kept sliding over to the side of the road. I was watching for the young woman with the cat. She had taken so little from me, I was afraid that I would find her stranded somewhere along the highway. I watched for her, hoping she got to her exit okay….
…and that’s when I suddenly realized what happened! Oh my gosh…that was why I “forgot” to get gas yesterday. I was meant to be at that gas station this morning to help that young woman. I tell myself that it was no big deal. Someone eventually would have come along to help her. But, just as I heard the voice telling me to help the young woman, there is knowingness within me that says that I was supposed to be at the gas station on this day at that time. That’s why I didn’t get the gas yesterday. This was no coincidence. Everything really does happen for a reason, exactly the way it is meant to be.
Even though I don’t know what the ultimate plan is yet, I know there definitely is one. The good and stupid things I do are all part of God’s great plan. Why stress when everything is already set in motion? I continued to drive down the highway then, happily singing along with the song on the radio. I didn’t see the young woman again. She must have made it safely to her destination….wherever that may be…I was just happy that God trusted me to be a part of her journey.