Hurricane Andrew laid his sights on our home.
October of 1992 was unremarkable for much of the country, but in south Louisiana, we were recovering from Hurricane Andrew.
Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Louisiana in August 1992 practically in my back yard. I was in college in Natchitoches, Louisiana which is in the northern part of the state. My family had evacuated to Natchitoches and stayed with friends there. It was a very good thing that they did because a tornado hit our house, and it wasn’t pretty. The tornado left a huge hole in our roof allowing rain to soak the insulation which collapsed our ceiling throughout the house. The house had to be completely rebuilt.
I finally got to visit home.
In October, our house was still in the process of being rebuilt. My parents were renting a house in a neighborhood not far from our own. This was the first weekend I was able to really come home due to all the clean-up after the hurricane. On the drive home, my little, red Mitsubishi Mighty Max pick-up was making a new noise. I mentioned it to my dad who took the truck for a drive and didn’t hear anything. So I relaxed and settled in to enjoy my weekend home.
Sunday afternoon, I took a short nap on the sofa to rest up for my drive back to college. I had about a 4-4 1/2 hour drive ahead of me. I was awakened suddenly by this overwhelming feeling that I needed to leave… NOW! I couldn’t shake the feeling so I kissed my parents, grabbed my stuff, and left.
Most of my drive was unremarkable. I could still hear that noise, but I assumed it must be nothing. I was wrong. It was something.
I was wrong. It was something.
Right around my third hour of the drive, it stopped. I’m driving down the interstate, and the engine just stopped. I was able to coast to the shoulder of the road. Did I mention that this was 1992? Before cell phones were in everyone’s pocket. I did not have a cell phone.
I had no idea where I was. I had driven through this area to get to college many times, but I had never gotten off of the interstate here. The last exit was about a 10 or 15 minute drive which would be a long walk. The next exit was about the same. Neither exit had an obvious gas station, hotel, restaurant, or any other business visible from the interstate so I had no idea what I would find if I walked to either one.
I got out and raised the hood of my truck hoping that a car would see me and stop. I got back into my truck, locked the doors, and just prayed. I prayed for guidance. It was getting dark. Do I stay here? Do I walk someplace? If I walk, which way do I go? I prayed. I prayed. I prayed some more. I heard nothing. I felt nothing in my spirit. The spiritual silence I felt in that moment was deafening. It was maddening. I began to panic.
I had to do something! I got out of my truck, and almost randomly, just started walking. I walked just about 10 or 20 feet from my truck with tears streaming down my face when I heard a car horn honking. I turned to see a car stop right in front of my truck. Out of the car steps my roommate’s best friend from high school. He hadn’t noticed who I was, but he saw my college sticker on my truck and stopped to help a fellow student.
A fellow student stopped.
He knew the area we were in better than I did. He was able to bring me to a pay phone to contact my mom and a tow truck. I rode with him back to college which is where he was heading, anyway, but the conversation we had on the way was really interesting.
He never drove this way to school. Normally, this interstate would have been entirely out of the way. However, this particular weekend, he was visiting his mom whom he doesn’t usually visit. I don’t believe it was an accident that he chose that weekend to visit her.
I know it was no accident that he was a few minutes behind me on the road. Remember that I was suddenly startled awake with a feeling that I had to leave. If I hadn’t left when I did, he would have been ahead of me on the road. I don’t believe this was all chance.
I also don’t believe that God broke my truck. I do believe that He used it as an opportunity to empower me and to give me a very real promise. God’s promise to me is that He will never leave me stranded. He never has, and He never will.
He will never leave me stranded.
It turns out that it was the transmission that went out on my truck that day. Fortunately, it was still under warranty and fixed without much problem. That truck is still running today. I still have that truck 23 years later, but I will have God’s promise forever. Long after that wonderful truck gives out, I will still have God’s promise that He will never leave me. He never has, and He never will.