Dear Reading Friends, have you ever had a bad day full of accidents? Did you ever imagine that those accidents weren’t really coincidences at all? Here’s a short story—”Rolling Collision: God’s Appointment”—about a man who realizes God’s hand is in all the details. See you on the next page!—David Telbat
Rolling Collision: God’s Appointment
by D.I. Telbat
Chad Stafford emerged from the grocery store with a carton of milk under his arm when he noticed that another car in the parking lot had rolled into his car. It was late on a Monday night, so there were only a few cars in the lot. He guessed the other cars belonged to the workers in the all-night store.
His long day and evening at the office had left him aching for bed. Before Chad had arrived home, his wife had called his cell phone to remind him that the kids needed milk for breakfast the next morning. Otherwise, he would’ve never made the quick stop.
For a moment, he stood at the bumper of his vehicle and gazed at the four-door car that had rolled into his own, causing a terrible dent on the driver’s side. He sighed with frustration, but then shook his head and laughed under his breath. He knew this was how God worked. Some lesson in forgiveness, or tolerance, or patience was on the horizon. But he didn’t want to receive the lesson—not when standing upright was already a challenge for his weary body.
On the side of his car that wasn’t impacted, he opened the passenger door and set the milk on the seat. Next, he opened his trunk and considered what would be best to use as a tire wedge for the other car. He didn’t have many options, but an old gym shoe seemed adequate.
He planted his hands on the hood of the stranger’s car, and pushed with ease until the vehicle was backed and lined up in the space from which it had probably rolled. Chad guessed the driver had accidentally put it in neutral instead of park, and something so simple was now the evening’s aggravation.
Before the car rolled again into his, he wedged the tennis shoe under the right front tire, then stood looking down at it. On the dash of the stranger’s vehicle, he noticed there was a red and black book. Looking closer, he saw it said “Holy Bible” on the front—an old Gideon Bible, probably taken from a hotel room. He looked toward the store and debated between going in search of the driver, or to just wait there.
He decided to wait by his car, so he texted his wife about the situation, and sent her a photo of the new dent behind the driver’s door. At the least, he said, he should exchange insurance information. Then, within an hour, he hoped to be home.
But after an hour, no driver had claimed the car. That’s when he guessed the car belonged to one of the clerks in the store. He walked inside and questioned everyone, but no one claimed the car.
Mystified, Chad returned to his vehicle and climbed into the driver’s seat. The owner of the car couldn’t have gone far, he guessed, since the car had rolled into his in a matter of minutes after he’d left it. What was he supposed to do now, wait all night? He needed to be at the office tomorrow!
Suddenly, his mouth opened in realization. He checked his mirror and gazed out the window at the gradual grade of the parking lot, sloping toward the highway. If the stranger’s car hadn’t been stopped by his own, it would’ve jumped the curb and rolled right into the street! Who knew how much damage a rolling vehicle could’ve done where busy traffic was rushing along several lanes?
Chad’s selfish perspective was quickly checked as he acknowledged that he hadn’t been a victim after all—he was an intercessor! If lives had been saved, he was happy to pay the cost of the dent in the side of his car. No cost was too much if it had saved a life!
“I knew You were up to something!” Chad said aloud to God, chuckling again. The headache of the day and evening was transformed into awe as he reflected on all that must have occurred that day for God to settle his car in just the right space on an otherwise empty lot to block the stranger’s car from rolling into traffic, where countless drivers could’ve collided with it. “I hear You, Lord. This was no coincidence.”
Now, with renewed interest, Chad remained alert, watching for the driver. This was an opportunity to share with a stranger what God had done! And who would this stranger be, he wondered? As he waited, he walked into the store and bought a few snacks to keep his eyes open as midnight approached.
Though his wife was certainly asleep by then, he texted her his findings and decision to keep waiting. And he would buy more milk before he continued home since he’d already opened the kids’ carton.
But a few hours later, while still sitting in the driver’s seat, Chad succumbed to sleep. He woke with a start around five in the morning and climbed out of the car to find that the stranger had returned and driven away! Only his lonely shoe remained on the pavement.
Terribly disappointed, Chad picked up his shoe, bought more milk, and drove home. Before the kids were even awake, he called the office and said he’d be in that afternoon. Then, he kissed his wife goodnight, and went to bed when he normally left for work. Being the boss did have its perks, he mused tiredly.
Later that day, he went to the office, wrote a few memos, paid some bills, then left in time to eat an early evening dinner with his family, like he normally did. On his way home, he drove by the all-night store, and saw the same car parked in the lot!
He swerved into the lot determined to find the driver, when his headlights swept over the car. Someone was inside it! As he parked alongside, he expected the driver to zoom away, since he now had a mental picture of a fugitive. Instead, when he climbed out of his vehicle, he found the person in the car settling into the back seat in a sleeping bag.
Unable to contain his amusement, he roared in laughter at the evening sky at his own foolishness. No wonder he’d never found the driver from the night before. The driver had probably been asleep the whole time in the back seat, through the rolling collision and all!
Chad wasn’t going to just walk away now. He tapped on the window and waved as a middle-aged woman’s face peeked out from the sleeping bag. There was hesitation on her part, of course, but remembering her Bible, Chad smiled and spoke loudly through the window.
“It’s okay. I’m a Christian. We need to talk. Come on out. I’ll wait.”
He stepped away and leaned against his car to give the woman a little time and privacy. A few minutes later, she emerged, her shoe laces still untied.
“Yeah?” She swiped at wayward, graying hair. Her clothes seemed clean, though wrinkled. “Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing’s wrong. My name is Chad Stafford. You and I have some history that’s worth talking about over dinner. It’s still early. Why don’t you follow me home and have dinner with me and my family. My wife Cheryl will probably insist that you take the guest room once she finds out you’re sleeping in your car like this.”
The woman blinked through what was obvious confusion and skepticism.
“Were you a student of mine? You say we have some history. How do we know each other again?”
“We don’t know each other. You’re a teacher?”
“Yes, for thirty-six years. My house burned down in the fires last fall. Now I’m saving up to rent a new place.”
“I noticed the Bible on the dash last night. You’re a believer?”
“Let’s just say I’ve grown weary of the explanations I’ve been given, and those I’ve given to others, to explain that there isn’t a God. I’m reading the Book for myself. You saw me reading last night?”
“There’s too much to explain out here. Listen, it’s no accident that we’re talking. I’ve got to get home to my family, and I’m inviting you to have dinner with the sweetest and most talkative little girls you’ll ever meet. We’d like to hear more of your story as well. Will you accept?”
“I don’t usually accept handouts.”
“This isn’t a handout. This is a divine arrangement. Providence has been at work, and you need to know the full story.”
“Divine arrangement?” She frowned and glanced back at her car. “Your wife’s name is Cheryl?”
“That’s right.” Chad saw her hesitate, surely because of the strangeness of their conversation, so he dialed his wife and put the phone on speaker. “Hey, hon?”
“Yeah? I thought you weren’t staying late tonight.”
“I’m not. I’m almost home. I found the person with the car from last night. She’s a teacher, and I’m inviting her home for dinner. Her name is . . .”
The woman leaned forward.
“Oh.” Cheryl cleared her throat. “Okay. I’ll set another plate at the table.”
After he hung up, Pepper Linney gave Chad a curious smile.
“All my questions will be answered?” she asked.
“As long as I know the answer.” He climbed into his car. “And we’ll be talking about your Bible reading, too. That has everything to do with our meeting.”
“All right, Chad Stafford.” The woman opened her car door. “Lead the way.”
Prayer Prompt #1 for Vision Beyond Borders: VBB is ready to send the next humanitarian container to Jordan. They await needed shipping funds. Pray and visit this Humanitarian Relief Page and scroll to read more about this ministry.
Prayer Prompt #2: If you enjoy working with your hands from your own home, pray about this. Support Children’s ministries in closed countries by supplying a ready-to-use flannel graph set! Each set takes several hours to cut out in preparation for shipping overseas. If interested, visit & scroll this page to read more about this ministry. Let VBB know (you can also call 307-333-6545) and they will send you a set to work on today!
NOVEL UPDATE: David is finalizing STEADFAST Book Six! He’ll soon be working on his second drafts of novellas Book Five & Six, then they’ll be in Dee’s hands for the next steps. We plan an early summer release about the same time of both books. Stay tuned!
COMING UP: Join us again next time for another short story for Father’s Day, “A Father’s Calling.” For the following post, we’ll have David’s Author Reflection, “When in Doubt, Apply more Faith Fuel.”