We’re staying at a rural RV park for a few weeks and it’s been a bit challenging for me to find a good place to walk. For years now I’ve combined a walk with my prayer time so it’s an important part of my day, both spiritually and physically. There is no city park (or better said, no city, period) so I’ve been walking along the highway. Again, not the best place. There’s considerable traffic, most of it flying along at 70 mph or more. The only redeeming factor is that the shoulders of Texas highways are wide so I can keep at least a bit of distance between me and the traffic. Still, it’s not a very good solution and I’ll be glad when I’m in more pleasant surroundings for my daily prayer-walk.
The other day as I walked I was startled when a vehicle pulled up beside of me. It was a county deputy. He wanted to know if I was okay or needed a ride. I assured him that I was okay and thanked him for asking. In retrospect, I think he was doing more than being a friendly policeman. He was probably checking me out. The county jail is about three miles down the road. Either way, his checking on me was more part of his job than his being a Good Samaritan.
Today, as I walked toward the traffic an older black pickup passed by. He was on the opposite side of the road headed north and, like everyone else, not letting any grass grow under his wheels. However, as he passed me his brake lights came on. He pulled off to the shoulder about a quarter mile past me, turned around, and drove back to me.
A man and a woman were in the pickup. They had multiple tattoos and piercings. He had a couple on his face on either side of his chin. He rolled the window down and said, “Are you okay? Do you need a ride?”
I assured him that I was fine, just getting a walk. “Are you sure?” he asked. I said thanks for asking and added, “You’re a good guy, I really appreciate your checking on me.”
With that he did another u-turn and was off again.
I began thinking about his stopping and offering me a ride – not just stopping, but making the effort to turn around and come back to check on me.
He and his rider didn’t look like “my kind of people.” No tattoos here. No piercings either. But he was concerned about this white haired guy walking down a busy highway.
John Wesley talked about “prevenient grace.” You might think of it as the evidence that we’re created in the image of God. In our fallen state we don’t reflect that image very well, but it’s still there. It’s what causes people to want to show kindness to strangers.
I saw it in action out along the highway today.