Monday, November 14, 2011

Payback By Paying Forward

Did you read last week about the two women that had a tire blow on their car on an interstate near Menomonie, Wis.? A stranger and his wife stopped to help them replace the tire. About 15 minutes later, they all were heading their merry way. Just a nice little Good Samaritan story, right? – happily ever after?

About a quarter-mile down the road, the women spotted the same pickup truck the man and his wife had been riding in. It was stopped along the side of the roadway, the man’s wife waving frantically for help.

A flat tire turned out to be a double
blessing in disguise.
Turned out the man had gone into cardiac arrest and one of the women, a nursing assistant, was able to administer CPR and revive him until emergency personnel could arrive. Talk about “one good turn deserves another”!

Years ago there was a film called “Pay It Forward,” based on the idea that if someone performs an act of kindness for you, the best way to repay it is by doing a random kind act for someone else. But rarely does the idea of paying it forward have such an immediate, reciprocal effect.

At first the women felt somewhat guilty, thinking perhaps the strain of changing the tire had precipitated the heart episode. But the helpful stranger and his wife understood the reality: the spontaneous exchange had actually saved his life.

It’s likely the man had a heart condition that would have manifested itself in a different way; at another time and place, there might not have been someone to respond with help he needed.

Some might credit this to luck or serendipity, even “good karma.” But as an old hymn by William Cowper states, “God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.” Who’s to say He didn’t orchestrate this series of circumstances to help a man that didn’t even realize he had a need?

In the Old Testament, God declares, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Sometimes the Lord provides answers to our prayers even before we’ve had enough sense to pray – and in ways we could never have dreamed.

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