Sometimes things happen in our lives that we know are simply God-ordained. We can be in a certain everyday place at just the right moment and our paths cross those of a stranger and we just know the Lord meant it to be. We had an experience like that this week.
Robbie had a doctor appointment the other day. He knows that after we see the doctor, Mommy and Daddy will take him to McDonald’s for a treat. Lucky Robbie—he actually had two appointments this week, so on Wednesday we went to MD’s for ice cream cones, and on Thursday we were back for cheeseburgers! You should see him, from the time we leave the doctor’s office, swiveling that head from side to side looking for those Golden Arches!
Anyway, we were leaving the restaurant and as we walked out the door, I said to Bob, “I think I’ll get on the internet this afternoon and see if I can find a new wheelchair for Robbie.” His chair was beginning to feel a little rickety and one of the brakes was not working right. We actually had bought a new wheelchair for him a few months ago, but it was too wide and his feet kept falling off the foot rests. We had only used it one time, but did not feel that we could return it after using it for several hours. Robbie had the money in his account to try again (the transport chair we wanted was only about $160) so it was time to begin the search anew. I just figured someday someone in the family would need the bigger chair and we would hang on to it until then.
A minute or two later we were standing in the parking lot, about to take Robbie out of his chair and load him into the car, when an old couple walked slowly past us. The man was blind and shook with Parkinson’s; his steps were slow and faltering. His elderly wife helped him as best she could. We could see they were not well off. Their car was a bit of a clunker and they were dressed poorly.
To our surprise, as they started to pass, they stopped. “Would you mind if we looked at your wheelchair?” the woman asked. “We need to get a wheelchair for John.”
We discussed with them for a few minutes the details of the chair—how it folded and to what dimensions, how heavy it was to lift in and out of a car, and so on. “Where did you get it?” Ellen, the wife, asked.
I started to answer and then Bob interrupted. “You know, we have another brand new chair, only used once, just like this one at home—just a little wider. It’s too big for Robbie, but I think it would fit your husband perfectly! If you want it, we’ll give it to you!”
“What?! Oh, no—I can pay you for it,” Ellen protested.
“No,” Bob insisted. “The Lord has blessed us so much—we want to pass the blessing on to you. He’s blessed us especially with Robbie, and He keeps on blessing us with all that we need. Please let us give the wheelchair to you.
“I can’t believe you would do that for me,” the old man quavered.
“It’s no coincidence we met here at this exact place, at this exact time,” Bob responded. “God knew that you had a need and that we could fill that need for you so he brought us together.” We could see that John and Ellen were overwhelmed. Bob invited them to follow us home to check out the new wheelchair.
Bob ran into the house when we got there and brought out the chair. John slowly got out of their car and we helped him into the chair. It was a perfect fit. Bob adjusted the foot rests to the correct length and then showed Ellen the different features and how they worked. The whole time John kept repeating, “I just can’t believe you would do this for me!”
“Let us pay you for it,” Ellen tried again.
When we refused, citing again God’s blessings upon our lives, John said, “Well can we at least make a donation in your honor to some charity?”
“You can make a donation if you want,” Bob smiled, “to whomever you want!”
“Well, I’ll make it to a veterans’ organization then,” John said. “I’m a vet.”
“That’s fine,” Bob replied. “And thank you for your service to our country!” Bob has a soft spot for our nation’s veterans and often gives to them himself, so I knew he was pleased. He helped John back into the car and then loaded the wheelchair in with them, and they went on their way.
Bob said several times that afternoon how very happy he was that we had been able to pass that wheelchair along to John and Ellen. We hoped most of all that they would remember our brief testimony as to God’s working in our lives and that He fulfills our needs and so much more. We prayed that somehow it would have a spiritual impact on them and be used to draw them to the Savior.
Psalm 103 has always been a favorite passage of mine. When I need a reminder of how truly blessed I am, I have only to read these verses to begin to count those blessings, one by one! See how many you can count—
1Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever, 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, 18 To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.
Psalm 103 tells us not to forget these blessings of God! Verse 3 reminds that we have forgiveness of sin and healing through Him. In verse 4 we see that the Lord blesses us with deliverance and protection. He provides for us and gives us strength (verse 5). Verse 6 tells us that God will dispense justice and care for the weak and oppressed. The Lord made His presence known to Moses and the Israelites, and he does the same for us as we see how He works in our lives (verse 7). In verses 8-10 we see His grace and mercy toward us when we don’t deserve His forgiveness at all. And throughout this passage we see God’s compassion and everlasting lovingkindness to us (verses 4, 8, 11-18).
We could go on and on, I am sure, counting the physical blessings we have in this world, as well—family friends, country, home, health, church, job, car, food, clothing… You get the picture. We are abundantly blessed! And then there is the peace, joy, hope, love, faith and spiritual gifts with which He fills our lives when we walk with Him. And just the fact that we have a personal, real relationship with the Creator and Ruler of all; that we can come to Him in prayer and hear from Him through His Word; that His Spirit indwells us and guides us; that He has a plan for my life and a place for me after this life in eternal glory; that we can know the righteousness, faithfulness, power and goodness of God for ourselves—all these things are blessings showered upon us by a loving Father.
The phrase “pay it forward” has been around for almost a hundred years. The concept of paying it forward is that the beneficiary of a good deed repays it by doing a good deed for someone else instead of repaying the original benefactor. How much more should we as Christians, who have been blessed so abundantly, desire to pass on the blessings to others? We may not have much financially or of material things to give, but we can do small kindnesses every day to brighten someone’s day. Most of all, along with that good deed, we should be willing to share what God has done for us.
And by the way—I did find a good deal for a new wheelchair for Robbie and ordered it that afternoon. It should be here by the end of the month and we’ll have that boy rolling again—rolling it forward!