Lot's going on recently with the Lord leading the way. Over the spring School Break my wife, Sue, and I accompanied our two sons, Adam and Joshua, and Josh's wife, Angela, to Arizona. We saw the Lord show up "big time" when we ran into what I truly thought was an impossible situation. We flew from Detroit to Las Vegas Saturday night to get as inexpensive a flight as possible. We then rented a white Dodge Grand Caravan vehicle Sunday morning at the Las Vegas airport and drove more than four hours to Flagstaff, Arizona, where we had an airB&B place rented.
Our first full day of sightseeing was Monday and we drove an hour south of Flagstaff to a place called Sedona. Adam and Josh rented high-end mountain bikes. (They are both expert riders.) While they took off on their mountain bikes, Sue, Angela and I went hiking for several hours. We agreed to meet back at the van around 4:00 p.m. Only my wife, Sue, and youngest son, Josh, had insurance to drive the van. Sue was the driver that first day we went to Sedona. Well, we all arrived back at the van around 4:00 p.m. only to discover that Sue had lost the only key for the van. (Although we were permitted two drivers, we were not issued two keys.) Sue had been carrying the key in a kind of combination money pouch/fanny pack strapped around her waist.
You've got to picture this. We're out in the middle of nowhere minimum one hour's drive from Flagstaff and more than four hours drive from the van rental place in Las Vegas. Furthermore, Sedona and the surrounding area were extremely busy with Spring Break tourists. So much so that all the parking lots near the various Sedona trails were positively jammed with vehicles. We ended up parking on the side of the road along with probably 75 to 100 other vehicles.
Now, I'm thinking we are really, really in a jam. We can't even unlock the van much less drive it. I got down on my hands and knees and began looking in the gravel around and under the van on the off chance Sue had dropped the key after locking the van. There was no key to be found. Then I started doing a search around the van covering an area approximately 25 feet in circumference. But there was still no key to be found and it's starting to get later and later. Sue did remember that she had gone to use a ladies' restroom near the end of our hike. Because there was no toilet paper, she opened her money pouch/fanny pack to get some Kleenex. Sue thought it was possible she might have lost the key in the restroom. So Adam and Angela start jogging back down the trail to the restroom.
I sat down on a rock. I must admit I was aware of God but I wasn't actually praying to Him about our predicament because I could not see any possible answer to our dilemma. After about five minutes, I look up from my seat on the rock and I watch Sue open the driver's side door of the van. This made no sense because the van had been locked up tight when we left it to go bike riding and hiking. Next, I see Sue open the sliding door on the driver's side of the van. Again, I'm completely mystified. I knew that door had been locked tight. About 15 seconds later a dark car pulled in behind our van. The front passenger's window goes down and a hand appears holding onto a key. Next, I hear a female voice say to my wife, Sue: "Did you lose your key?" Sue answers "Yes" and the key is placed in her hand. I then hear someone in the car say something about God. I went closer to the car and asked: "Are you Christians?" "Yes," answers the lady who had just given Sue the key. I then began to explain that I am an ordained pastor who serves the Lord as a chaplain and that we were also Christians. I had to crouch down even lower to be able to see that there was a man driving the car. As I peered into the car, I heard the man say, "We believe in being Spirit led."
For nearly seven or eight years now, I have really prayed a lot about me having a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. In fact, in the last year, I have pressed in even harder asking that I might truly know the Holy Spirit and that He would equip, enable and empower me. I often pray that the Holy Spirit will "lead me and feed me." There is literally nothing that man could have said that would have resonated more deeply with me than for him to mention the name of the Holy Spirit. It was so clear that God had intervened via his Holy Spirit to solve what to me was an impossible situation.
Here's what happened. The lady found our van key in the ladies' restroom. Then she and her husband began driving all around the various parking lots and along the roads lined with cars. The lady was pushing the lock release button on the key fob in hopes of identifying the vehicle the key belonged to. Because she had been pushing the lock release, that's why Sue had been able to suddenly open the two doors on the driver's side 10-15 seconds before the car pulled in behind our van. It's amazing that this couple would go to all that trouble instead of just taking the key to a ranger's station or perhaps a police station. However, the Spirit told them to drive around looking for the vehicle that fit the found key. Timing was everything. We could very easily still have been out on the biking/hiking trails when this couple drove by. But, God made sure we were there to connect with this Spirit-led Christian couple.
I tell you, I have seen the Lord do many amazing things in my 37 years of following Christ. But this incident with the van key in Sedona ranks right up there amongst the top three things I've had the unique privilege of watching the Lord do. It was highly significant that the lady placed the van key in my wife's hand because Sue was the one who was feeling awful about creating this impossible situation for all of us. And, secondly, it was highly significant that the man spoke those critical words: "We believe in being Spirit led."
God's grace and God's love were so evident. He did not abandon us at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. He did not leave us nor forsake us.
We began driving the van down the road in hopes of meeting up with Angela and Adam. Sue was concerned that they might go looking for the key on the maze of trails beyond the ladies' restroom. In fact, as we started down the road we met Angela and Adam jogging toward us. Angela and Adam could not figure out how we were able to drive the van when they realized it was us coming toward them. Amazing grace!
So that was our initial God-ordained adventure on our first day in Sedona, Arizona.
I hope you find this true story encouraging, Alex. God can and will do abundantly more than we can ever think or ask!